The New York Rangers Are Having Trouble Winning Games. Star Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist Isn’t Playing Like Himself and the Rangers Aren’t Backing Him Up. Lundqvist’s Spotlight Might Be Fading As the Rangers Continue to Underperform For Him Time and Time Again.
As I sit here on a Tuesday night and watch the Dallas Stars make the New York Rangers look like a peewee hockey team, I could not hold the back the urge to write this article.
Now prepare yourself because the tone of this article may be a little disheartening. I’ve been watching the Rangers and hockey, in general, for nearly twelve years, played competitive hockey since I was 6 and through all my experiences and years dedicated to hockey, you start to notice when things just aren’t going right. And quite frankly nothing is going right for Henrik Lundqvist. A goalie the Rangers knew they could count on game in and game out over the last nine years.
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I’m not sure what is going on, could be old age, going through a tough year, or maybe he lost his touch. It doesn’t matter, I’m not sure it’s quite possible to expect the Rangers to score 5+ goals a game and bail Henrik on a nightly basis.
Now don’t get me wrong Henrik Lundqvist has been absolutely remarkable for the Rangers through his career, 392 wins out of 587 games started a career 2.30 goals against average, one could not ask for much more.
Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Here me out: although Lundqvist has been remarkable, there is no time for error in this league, especially the Metropolitan division. Long story short, I love Lundqvist, always will and always have, but the facts are facts, just take a gander at this quickly.
Looking at Rangers with Antti Raanta in Net
This season when Antti Raanta is net, the Rangers just simply play better. This season Raanta is 10-4, 2.24 GAA, .923 SV% and two shutouts.
10 out of the 15 games Raanta has started this season, the Rangers have let up no more than 2 goals. And three out of the 15 games the Rangers have let up no more than 3 goals. I don’t know about you but 10 out of the 15 games Raanta started in and the Rangers just so happen to only let in 2 or fewer goals tells me something.
Lundqvist on the other 13 out of the 29 games Lundqvist has started the Rangers have let up 3 or more goals. And fifteen out of the 29 games Lundqvist started the Rangers have let up no more than 2 goals. The Rangers let up two or fewer goals with Raanta it seems, which leads to more chances to win games.
Although the sample size is smaller, the Rangers this season seem to play better in front of Raanta. Which leads me to point number two, remember back in 2015 when Lundqvist went down and missed 30 games, and Cam Talbot came in and helped push the Rangers into the playoffs… interesting.
The Year Cam Talbot Saved the Season
In 2015 Henrik Lundqvist suffered a blood clot, forcing him to be sidelined for quite some time. At the time Cam Talbot was the Rangers backup goaltender, which I’m sure many fans at the time were not too comfortable with.
Well, believe it or not, Talbot started in 34 out of 36 games he played in that year, posted a 21-9 record with a 2.21(GAA), letting up only 77 goals on 1,038 shots against. Oh, and posted 5 shutouts as well.
A matter of fact that year the Rangers won the President’s Trophy and advanced to the conference finals right after a grueling Stanley Cup run the season before.
Now I believe my point is clear, I’m quite positive I’ve hammered into your head, that perhaps Lundqvist’s time is up, and when Lundqvist is absent the Rangers backup goaltenders do one hell of a job carrying the load.
Alain Vigneault has said numerous times this year that he is not opposed to playing both goalies equally. We saw a glimpse of that when Raanta was healthy but now with Raanta sidelined for a week, when he returns what shall the Rangers do?
My answer is quite clear here, I’m not too sure I can make any more remarks about how Raanta should see more time when healthy. Also how I am fed up right now with Lundqvist, I think you get my tone and stance here, whether you agree or disagree it doesn’t matter.