Ryan Lindgren continues inspiring play despite Rangers’ Game 5 loss
At some point in the future, who knows when, it stands to reason that Ryan Lindgren will run down exactly what he’s been through over these last five weeks.
Until then, we are left to wonder exactly how many body parts are ailing him and exactly what sprains, bruises, bumps and breaks he’s dealing with. It’s become easy to forget, what with Lindgren playing over 20 minutes a night and putting in efforts like he did on Thursday night in a 3-1 loss for the Rangers in Game 5 of the conference final.
With the Rangers playing good hockey but struggling to get anything past Andrei Vasilevskiy, it was Lindgren, of all people — Lindgren, who has just one goal this postseason, all the way back in Game 5 against the Penguins — who solved the puzzle.
How did he solve it?
By throwing a puck on Vasilevskiy from the left wall, adjacent to the hashes.
It was a shot that had no business going in.
It was a shot that gave the Rangers the lead in a must-win game.see also Rangers on verge of elimination after Game 5 loss to Lightning
With it, Lindgren became the first Rangers defenseman to score multiple unassisted goals in a postseason since Brian Leetch in — you guessed it — 1994.
And yes, he followed it up by playing a never-ending penalty-kill shift that saw the Rangers kill off a K’Andre Miller hooking call, staying on the ice for 1:45.
By the end of the night, Lindgren wasn’t the main story, and that had been pretty much decided when Mikhail Sergachev tied the game at one late in the second period. By then, it was Sergachev and Ondrej Palat, who deflected in a Sergachev shot for the game-winner, who would get the attention.
But for these Rangers, Lindgren is representing everything they want to emulate in this playoff run. No quit is the marketing slogan you’ve grown tired of by now. Lindgren has been playing through injuries every other day for over a month. Surely, he is battered and bruised, and surely, he is tired — though he would never admit to being so.
And he has not relented one time.
On Thursday night, by the second intermission, he had already played over 17 minutes. By the end of the game, he had played over 25, and suffered yet another blow to his body, when he ate a Victor Hedman shot during the third period.
He writhed around on the ice for a few seconds and seemed to limp. He looked tentative for all of 10 seconds. He finished his shift.
And he was out on the ice for the next one.
Of course he was.