Is he hurt? Is he thinking too much about his new contract? Is he feeling pressure from rookie goaltender Cam Talbot playing so well?
Those are just some of the questions surrounding New York Rangers‘ starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who has failed to find his usually dominate stride this season thus far.
Well, I believe none of those excuses I gave above are the main reason why Lundqvist has struggled this year. In my opinion it is a combination of Lundqvist’s new smaller pad size and the new offensive system implemented by new head coach Alain Vigneault.
Now I am not saying Lundqvist is not a great goaltender but maybe, just maybe, he benefited greatly from his larger goalie pads and former head coach John Tortorella‘s shot blocking conservative system and that is why Lundqvist’s goals against average were so good in those previous seasons. Maybe we are now seeing the real Henrik Lundqvist and his once dominant days are now over.
Or maybe he is just having an off year at this point in time?
I know just as much as you on this topic because none of us are in Lundqvist’s head and know exactly what is going on. What I do know, and I am sure you do as well, the Rangers cannot win many games when their best player is letting in soft goals and putting the Rangers in an early hole, like what happened last night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, in which the Rangers lost 5-0 and are now 1-11 this year when they do not score the 1st goal of the game. Not that it would have mattered since they were shutout last night but it is still a horrible stat nonetheless.
Now you can say that Lundqvist has carried the Rangers for years now and it is time for the team to pay him back with some goals and you would be completely right for saying that. However, that is just not going to happen. This team will struggle all season to find the back of the net like usual because the Rangers just do not have the players who can consistently finish off plays and take advantage of great scoring chances. It is not fair but no one said life ever was.
If the Rangers want to win games, Lundqvist has to figure out what is wrong quickly, get over it, and return to his old form. The Rangers just cannot do anything unless Lundqvist plays great in net.