The New York Rangers have quickly fallen into trouble in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, which serve as a followup to a disappointing regular season. The Rangers managed to grab the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference towards the end of the regular season, setting up a date with the Washington Capitals.
Having already dropped a game to the Caps by a 3-1 count, it’s pretty clear what the Rangers are going to need in order to find some success, at least in this first round series. It’s going to mean a whole lot of relying on Henrik Lundqvist to carry them.
Lundqvist had a bit of a rough start to the regular season in 2013, but ended with an extremely strong finish. He may not have done enough to work his way back into the Vezina Trophy discussion, but finished the season with some pretty solid numbers.
On the year, Hank finished with a 2.05 goals against average and .926 save percentage. Five of his starts in the final month saw Lundqvist allowed just one goal,with both of his shutouts coming in that time as well. It’s easy to determine the main reason why the Rangers were able to clinch a playoff spot.
If the Rangers are going to find playoff success, though, they’re going to need more from Lundqvist. We saw during the regular season that this team has had some trouble finding offense consistently. And Braden Holtby isn’t going to do much to make that any easier.
Which means that in order for the Rangers to win, Lundqvist is going to have to be last year’s Vezina Trophy winner all over again. He needs to do what the likes of Tim Thomas and Jonathan Quick have done in the last two postseasons. If he can stand on his head and steal some games, the Rangers will find the wins they need to make a deep run.