Blocked shots quickly became a major storyline in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals as New York Rangers skaters opened the series by stopping 26 of the New Jersey Devils’ shot attempts in Game 1 before they could make it through to goalie Henrik Lundqvist (stat via ESPN.com). Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said about Lundqvist’s play, “I saw him [only] about 10 minutes of the game because there were so many Ranger players in front of him.”
Anytime I see discussions about shot blocking, particularly in the playoffs, it sends me back to the 2010 first round series between Montreal and Washington, in which the eighth-seeded Canadiens knocked off the top-seeded Caps in seven games.
@TedStarkey I credit the Montreal Canadians of 2010 for the block party.—
Mike Holden (@mikeholden) May 17, 2012
Montreal blocked 182 shots in those seven games against the Caps, for an average of 26 per game. The 2010 Presidents’ Trophy winning Capitals led the series 3-1 before the Canadiens came back to win three straight, with shot blocking playing perhaps the biggest role I’ve ever seen it play in a series.
As WashingtonCaps.com Senior Writer Mike Vogel wrote in 2010 following Game 7:
“Washington fired 94 shots to Montreal’s 38 in Game 7. Only 42 of Washington’s shots were on goal; the Canadiens blocked a whopping 41, which was more than Montreal teed up on the entire night. The Caps also missed 11 shots. In the final three games of the series, the Habs blocked 83 shots. The Canadiens had just 66 shots on goal of their own in the same three games.”
94 shots by the Caps in that Game 7! That includes 41 that never made it to goaltender Jaroslav Halák because a Montreal player got in the way first. That still blows my mind.
26 blocks in Game 1 against the Devils is something the Rangers—who then had 16 blocks in Game 2—can be proud of. But the 2010 first round shot blocking performance by Montreal against the Caps, particularly the 41 in Game 7, still might be the best block party ever.
- Rangers block fewer shots in loss (nypost.com)
- Rangers’ Girardi, McDonagh more than just shot blockers (sports.nationalpost.com)
- Capitals, Rangers and their shot-blocking: Troubling sign for the NHL playoffs? (sports.yahoo.com)