New York Rangers Win More Valuable Than the two Points
The New York Rangers defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Tuesday night, despite being out-shot 44-20 by the visiting team. Many believe the shot totals are indicative of a weak performance by New York, but that is not the case.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 43 of 44 shots for the New York Rangers, and stole a win. Regardless of how the Rangers played, stopping 43 shots is absolute thievery and deserves to be treated as such.
There’s been plenty of concern in the fallout from the game surrounding the Rangers being dominated in shots by such a poor possession team, but there is reason for optimism following the win.
First of all, Henrik Lundqvist got a premier performance in the books. Lundqvist has been much maligned in recent weeks due to poor play, rightfully so. Yet tonight Lundqvist was the difference maker, looking calm, poised, and like his usual self. The Rangers rewarded their netminder with four goals to seal the victory.
What must be understood about Lundqvist’s performance is that he made plenty of outstanding saves, but he also made the simple saves. A problem plaguing Lundqvist all season is the easy shots seeping through, or resulting in juicy rebounds for opponents. Tonight, Lundqvist stopped everything thrown his way, while also not setting the Ducks up for any additional opportunities.
In a strange twist of fate, Lundqvist will likely benefit from tonight’s peppering by the Ducks. It’s been said all season that the struggling goalie simply needs reps to get out of his jam, and the best way to get reps is to get an overload of shots. The Rangers leaked shots all night following a game against the Calgary Flames in which the Rangers and Flames swapped chances all day.
Another important factor when looking at the game is what shots Lundqvist had to stop. The Rangers surrendered 44 shots on net, but they were shots Lundqvist could see. New York did not screen Lundqvist, nor did they deflect pucks on him. Instead, Lundqvist had clear sight lines throughout the night, a major aid in making the saves.
Moving forward, the Rangers must not be giving up 44 shots a night. The belief here is that the Rangers did not play poor hockey defensively, though their puck possession game was clearly lacking. Defensively, New York let the puck reach Lundqvist rather than attempting to ice 18 goalies in addition to Lundqvist.
Lundqvist’s outstanding performance shows that he is most comfortable when he can see the shots he’s facing. Now that Lundqvist has this outstanding performance under his belt, hopefully the Rangers goalie can use it as momentum to get his game back on track for the remainder of the season.
When all is said and done, if understood correctly this game could be a huge win for Lundqvist and the Rangers. The defense must let Lundqvist see the puck, and Lundqvist must reward them by making the saves. A recipe for success.
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