At some point in the future, who knows when, it makes sense that Ryan Lindgren would run over exactly what he’s been through over the past five weeks.
Until then, we’re left to wonder exactly how many parts of the body hurt him and what exactly the sprains, bruises, bumps and fractures he’s dealing with. It’s easy to forget what happened with Lindgren playing more than 20 minutes a night and putting in as effort as he did Thursday night in the 3-1 loss to Rangers in Game 5 of the Conference Final.
With the Rangers playing hockey well but struggling to get past anything beyond Andrei Vasilevsky, it was Lindgren, of all people – Lindgren, who has only one goal this post-season, all the way back in Game 5 against the Penguins – who resolved Puzzle.
How do you solve it?
By throwing a disk at Vasilevskiy from the left wall adjacent to the hash.
It was a shot that didn’t work.
It was a shot that gave Rangers the lead in a game that must be won.
With that said, Lindgren became the first Rangers defensive man to score multiple unassisted goals in the post-season since Brian Leach played – you guessed it – 1994.
And yes, he followed it up by playing a never-ending turn in penalty kicks that saw the Rangers kill Candre Miller’s call, staying on the ice for 1:45.
By the end of the night, Lindgren wasn’t the main storyline, and that was largely decided when Mikhail Sergachev tied the match late in the second half. By that time, it was Sergeyev and Ondrej Balat, who deflected Sergechev’s shot in favor of the winner of the match, who attracted attention.
But for these Rangers, Lindgren is all they want to emulate in this qualifying round. Don’t Quit is the marketing slogan I’m tired of now. Lindgren has been playing through injuries every day for over a month. He’s definitely beaten and bruised, and he’s definitely tired – though he’d never admit it.
He did not give in once.
Thursday night, by the second break, he had already played over 17 minutes. By the end of the game, he had played over 25, and had another blow to his body, when he ate a bullet by Victor Hedman during the third period.
He writhed on the ice for a few seconds and seemed to limp. It paused for 10 seconds. He finished his shift.
And it was on the ice the next time.
Of course it was.