As the delirium multiplied around him, as the big old rink prepared for a massive exhale, Henrik Lunqvist made certain not to celebrate even one-tenth of a second early. The Rangers bench was already prepared to bolt onto the ice, the Capitals already bore the look of almost-but-not-quite.

Lundqvist? He kept his eye lasered on the puck while keeping an ear out for the final horn. And when it finally blasted, when it groaned and officially nudged the Rangers up a rung in this NHL Tournament, into the conference finals for the first time since the first year of the second Clinton Administration, then Lundqvist was something to see.

He pumped his arms and raised his stick, looking the way Tiger Woods used to look after draining an impossible Sunday putt, a blue sweater for Lundqvist instead of a blood-red collared shirt. Lundqvist has been everything for the Rangers from the moment he showed up out of the Swedish Elitserien, 97 games over .500 for his regular-season career.