Before they were teammates, Alex Ovechkin and Henrik Lundqvist were rivals on the ice with Ovechkin being one of the top goal scorers and Lundqvist being a top goalie. Their rivalry developed through five playoff matchups against each other. This week, we are looking back at each one. Today's series is 2015.
No. 1 Metropolitan Division New York vs. No. 2 Metropolitan Division Washington
In Year 1 of the Barry Trotz era, the Capitals were back on track after the awful Adam Oates years. Washington finished second in the division earning a first-round matchup with the New York Islanders. The Caps dispatched them in seven games to reach the second round and face the Rangers.
Ovechkin was really hitting his stride offensively in that season with 53 goals, good for his third straight Rocket Richard Trophy and the fifth of his career. He also finished second for the Hart Trophy as league MVP.
Ovechkin was stifled somewhat in the first round, scoring just two goals, but he notched three assists for five total points.
In the second year under Alain Vigneault, the Rangers clinched the third Presidents' Trophy in franchise history as the top team in the NHL. In that season, Lundqvist suffered a very dangerous injury to his throat that kept him out for months. He ultimately played only 46 games that season with a .922 save percentage and 2.25 GAA. The result was a very well-rested Lundqvist was dominant in the playoffs with a .939 save percentage and 1.54 GAA in five games against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.
This was the fifth postseason meeting between Ovechkin and Lundqvist.
Ovechkin: 3 goals, 1 assist in seven games
Lundqvist: .946 save percentage, 1.65 GAA
New York won the series 4-3
You just are not going to win a series when a goalie puts up stats like that.
Things started off well for Washington. Ovechkin scored the first goal of the series as he zipped a wrister through a screen and into the back of the net. After the goal, he famously chirped Lundqvist saying, "All series baby. All series."
Ovechkin followed that up with one of the best goals of the postseason in Game 2 as he split the defense then wristed a shot past Lundqvist from his knees. The Caps would lose that game, but win the next two at home to take a 3-1 series lead. Washington was 101 seconds away from winning Game 5 and advancing until Chris Kreider tied the game and Ryan McDonagh won it in overtime. New York continued to rally to force Game 7. Ovechkin opened up the scoring as he cut to the slot and Marcus Johansson found him with a backhand pass. It was Ovechkin's third goal of the series and would prove to be the last one Washington would score in the 2-1 loss decisive Game 7 loss.