There is no question that Henrik Lundqvist is one of the best regular season goalies in the NHL. The New York Rangers net-minder is a consistent finalist for the Vezina Trophy year after year. But in a contract year, it is time for Lundqvist to become an elite playoff goalie.
Now before people want to kill me, let me be clear: I love Lundqvist. I think he is by far one of the best goalies in the NHL. But playoffs have been a completely different story for Lundqvist. While he has played very well, he has not been stellar. If you look at some of the teams that have won the Stanley Cup over the past few years, they all have one thing in common. They all have a goalie who plays at a superb level for the entire duration of the playoffs. Lundqvist has been suspect at not making the timely save or letting in soft goals.
No matter what people say, it is clear that Lundqvist and former coach John Tortorella had some sort of falling out. Lundqvist was frustrated at the end of the season that he was not getting the offensive support he should. Well, now there are no more excuses about offense. The Rangers are going to focus on scoring goals. It is inevitable that new coach Alain Vigneault will implement a system that showcases creativity and offense. Lundqvist is going to be tested more than he ever has been in the past.
Both the Rangers and Lundqvist are running out of years to be consistent contenders. The time is now and Lundqvist better be up for the challenge.