Henrik Lundqvist isn’t having his best season as a pro. He is having a difficult time making key saves and can’t bail out his teammates like he has in years past. But, the New York Rangers‘ players are just as much to blame for Lundqvist’s struggles.
When rookie Cam Talbot is playing in net, there is a different feel to the Rangers. They seem to have an extra step and play tighter in there own zone. There are fewer breakdowns that lead to high-quality scoring chances. The other night against the Toronto Maple Leafs is the perfect example. New York recorded a season-high 50 shots and dominated the game from start to finish. When Lundqvist is in net, the Rangers lack the killer instinct they have when Talbot is playing.
There is a pretty logical explanation for why the Rangers play tighter in front of Lundqvist. They have become accustomed to him bailing them out. There have been hundreds of times where he has stood on his head and carried his team to victory. Last year’s playoffs against the Washington Capitals is the perfect example, as he had back-to-back shutouts in Game 6 and Game 7 to secure the series for the Rangers. That is what he has done over the course of his career.
But for some reason, he hasn’t been able to put the team on his back this year. With Lundqvist struggling, the Rangers have to play a smarter and tighter game until he gets his confidence back.