- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault had trouble finding the words to describe goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

“He’s OK,” Vigneault said finally with a small shake of his head.

Except that is, in Game 7s. In Game 7s, Lundqvist is unbeatable.

And so are the Rangers.

Frustrating Sidney Crosby and the reeling Pittsburgh Penguins one final time, Lundqvist made 35 saves to lift New York to a 2-1 win on Tuesday night and give his resilient team an unlikely spot in the Eastern Conference finals.

“I was so tired at the end,” Lundqvist said after setting an NHL record with his fifth straight Game 7 triumph. “But it was just a great feeling when you know it’s a done deal and we did it.”

Brian Boyle and Brad Richards scored for New York, which rallied from a 3-1 series deficit for the first time in the franchise’s 88-year history.

The Rangers did it behind Lundqvist, who stopped 102 of the final 105 shots he faced over the final three games as New York advanced to the conference finals for the second time in three years.

The three-time All-Star is 10-2 when facing elimination.

He was at his best during a mad scramble in front of the Rangers‘ net with just over 5 minutes left, when he turned aside three shots from three different angles in a matter of seconds to preserve a one-goal lead.

“He was OK with guys being on top of him as long as we didn’t take penalties,” New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “He fought through screens, fought for loose pucks. He was incredible.”

The Rangers will play the winner of the Bruins-Canadiens series in the conference finals. That series is tied 3-3 and Game 7 is Wednesday night in Boston.

Jussi Jokinen scored his team-high seventh goal of the postseason for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury made 18 saves for the Penguins, who outshot New York 36-20, but were outscored 10-3 over the final three games.

Pittsburgh fell to 2-7 all time at home in Game 7s, including three such losses in the past five seasons.

This one might have been the most painful for the core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and coach Dan Bylsma that seemed pointed toward a dynasty after winning the 2009 Stanley Cup.

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