Wonky bounces that he has no control over aside, Henrik Lundqvist has been brilliant in these Stanley Cup Playoffs for the New York Rangers. Had it not been for the play of their Vezina-winning goaltender, the Blueshirts may very well be golfing at this point in the summer.
While it hasn’t been as heavy as it has been with some goaltenders, Lundqvist has seen criticism in the past for his performances in the playoffs. As one of the very best in the league between the pipes during the regular season, Hank hasn’t brought that same level of play to the postseason. That hasn’t been the case this year.
The Rangers find themselves down 3-1 to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It’s just the latest chapter in what has been a pretty disappointing season for the Rangers, who came in with top seed and Stanley Cup expectations. Their current deficit is not the fault of Lundqvist, however.
In fact, had it not been for Lundqvist, we may have seen some of the more lopsided games in these playoffs. He’s kept the Rangers in games that they have no business being in at times. He’s faced at least 30 shots in all four games so far in this series, including at least 40 in Games 1 and 4.
Lundqvist was strong in Game 1, stopping 45 of 48 shots. After a disappointing Game 2, he followed up with a fantastic Game 3 performance, though it wasn’t enough as the Rangers lost 2-1. Game 4 finally saw a win for Lundqvist and the Rangers, as he stopped 37 of 40 and the Rangers grabbed an overtime win.
This is all carryover from their opening round series, of course. He had a pair of shutouts in seven games, which came in Games 6 and 7. His totals for the playoffs include those two shutouts, a very good 2.15 goals against average, and a .934 save percentage. Those numbers are some of the best in these playoffs.
The Rangers may very well find themselves eliminated within the next couple of days. But it’s nearly impossible to look at their goaltender and point the finger as to who’s to blame. He’s been terrific.