Henrik Lundqvist Crucial to Stanley Cup Hopes for New York Rangers

By Cody Reiber
Adam Hunger – USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers‘ recent success can be attributed to the outstanding play of their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. After Lundqvist’s Vezina Trophy win during the 2011-12 season, everyone regarded him as one of the best goalies in the league which made him one of the favorites to win the Vezina again at the start of this season. However, Lundqvist started this season with career-worsts in every category, leading the Rangers to heavily rely on rookie Cam Talbot in net for the first half of the season.

Recently, Lundqvist has gotten his confidence back and has proven that he still belongs in the top-five goalies in the league. Lundqvist has been the reason for the Rangers’ recent success as he has been hot lately, winning eight of his last ten starts and recording a 1.50 GAA in that span. Lundqvist’s play is crucial to the Rangers’ success, especially as the playoffs creep closer. If Lundqvist can continue to play at the level he is right now then the Rangers can make a serious push to win the Stanley Cup. The Rangers have not been to the Stanley Cup Finals since their cup win in 1994, and this season could be their year if it all goes according to plan.

Lundqvist is one of the Rangers’ most important players in their quest for playoff success this season. The Rangers’ offense — and specifically their top-line scorers — have been very streaky this season, providing Lundqvist with little goal support at times, especially recently. However, Lundqvist has stepped it up lately when the Rangers have needed him to, leading to a 7-3 record for the Rangers in their last ten games.

Lundqvist has continually played well for the Rangers in the past few years, leading the team to the conference finals in 2011-12, but since then the Rangers have seen early exits from the playoffs the past few years. If they are going to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals this year they will have to get superb play from the entire team. While Lundqvist has shown that he is one of the best goalies in the league, he cannot win the Stanley Cup single-handedly. If the players around Lundqvist can raise the level of their game and show him  the support he needs to become an even better goalie then the Rangers will have a chance to win the Cup this season.

However, the one big question mark this season will be how do the players respond after the Olympic break? This is something we will have to wait for and hope that the Olympics will inspire the players to be at the top of their game. The team has to hope it will carry over to the remainder of the NHL season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But for now the Rangers just need to take it one game at a time, and Lundqvist needs to continue his hot streak and hope it does not run out until he is a Stanley Cup Champion.

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