For a team mired in issues ranging from defense to offense, seemingly the last thing the New York Rangers need to break out of this slump is to sit Henrik Lundqvist in favor of backup goaltender Martin Biron — especially in a big game vs. the dangerous St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
The proposition is a scary one. Despite Lundqvist’s struggles early on, the 31-year-old Swedish goaltender still gives the Blueshirts a chance to steal a game on any given night. Biron doesn’t have the same effect.
Biron saw time in between the pipes on Tuesday night when New York was embarrassed by San Jose Sharks. The goalie gave up five goals in a little over a period and a half, including one from rookie sensation Tomas Hertl where he went between his legs to flip the puck up and over Biron’s shoulder and into the net. It was sadly a poetic moment for the listless Rangers and poured salt in the open wound of a nine-goal rout.
It is safe to say that this start for Biron is less about him than it is about Lundqvist. Hank needs a night off to regroup after two putrid defeats in which Rangers have allowed 15 goals. The team defense has been non-existent and has left no chance for their goaltenders, who have had to try and bail the team out in countless two-on-none situations with opposing forwards.
The best move for New York right now is to allow Lundqvist to get his mind straight. Giving Biron the start helps that happen, no matter how painful it may be for Rangers’ fans to admit it or watch it.
Martin Burns covers New York Rangers hockey for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter for more thoughts and news on the Blueshirts as well as the rest of the NHL!