Will the real New York Rangers please stand up?
This is certainly a question Henrik Lundqvist must be asking right now. It seems that every single game that Cam Talbot starts, the Rangers are more focused, determined and smart in their play. They certainly have brought their A-game in front of Lundqvist in some games this season, too. However, it seems that they lack focus and grit in the vast majority of games when he starts.
The most glaring example is this past weekend. The Rangers played arguably their worst game of the season in a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday, a game Lundqvist started. Saturday night, they played undoubtedly their best game of the season in a 7-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, a game Talbot started.
So, why is all the Rangers’ focus and smarts saved for games that Talbot starts? Is it because they know they have to play great in front of an unproven goaltender? Is it because they trust Lundqvist too much to be the best player on the ice every time he plays? Whatever the case may be, the Rangers need to bring the A-game they bring in front of Talbot every game.
Of course, Lundqvist is to blame for a lot of the bad losses the Rangers have suffered this year, too. This does not excuse the rest of the team for not showing up to play, either. Maybe the players should treat Lundqvist as if he is Talbot?
Regardless of who starts in goal, the Rangers need more games like the one they played Saturday night. Surely both Lundqvist and Talbot would appreciate it.