Craig Custance: I know Price is leading 2-1 in wins, but this battle is a draw. Lundqvist has been pretty darn good for the New York Rangers too — the difference is he’s not getting the support Price is getting. In Game 3 on Sunday, Lundqvist stopped 21 of 22 shots through two periods before the Montreal Canadiens scored twice in the third. Lundqvist has faced 29 more shots than Price in this series, which is the equivalent to an extra game. He just needs some help.
Scott Burnside: After Lundqvist made a strong statement leading the Rangers to a Game 1 victory in Montreal, Price has seized the moment, keeping the Habs close after falling behind midway through Game 2 — and then stopping 20 of 21 shots in Sunday’s 3-1 victory after the series moved to Madison Square Garden. The Habs now lead the series 2-1 and have put the pressure squarely on the veteran Lundqvist to outplay Price in Game 4 or risk letting the series get completely away from them.
The kids get all the hype, but there’s little doubt the Toronto Maple Leafs would not be putting a scare into the Washington Capitals if it wasn’t for the calming influence of Frederik Andersen.
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Is this really and truly the season for the Washington Capitals? Our experts weigh in with their predictions for the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Rob Vollman: Price might have two wins to Lundqvist’s one, but their save percentages are almost dead even, .944 to .941 respectively. He might have allowed two more goals than Price, but Lundqvist has also faced 20 percent more shots. While it’s true that the goalie might carry the primary responsibility for stopping the puck, everything in hockey is a team effort, and Montreal is helping its goalie out a little bit more.
Pierre LeBrun: It’s a draw, and it’s been compelling to watch. You have to be happy for Lundqvist just to have tamed his house of horrors at the Bell Centre in the opening two games, a place where he has his worst career numbers. But Price has just been so cool under pressure as well, and his team feeds off it. He’s also been like a third defenseman in terms of handling the puck when the Rangers dump it in, no small factor in this series.
Joe McDonald: When I was in Gothenburg, Sweden, in September covering Team Sweden for the World Cup of Hockey, I saw Lundqvist’s determination, not only to help his fellow countrymen in the best-on-best tournament, but how he prepared for the regular season with the Rangers. He knew the next chapter of his legacy could be determined in 2017, and he won’t let it end at the hands of an opposing goalie. This matchup will go down to the wire.