Just How Important is Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist For New York Rangers?

By Cody Reiber
Joe Camporeale – USA TODAY Sports

After capturing a silver medal for his home country of Sweden in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games just a week ago, Henrik Lundqvist has returned to what he does best, being the star goaltender for the NHL‘s most publicized team, the New York Rangers. And boy, do they need him now more than ever.

Only a week after capturing his second Olympic medal, Lundqvist will have to turn his attention back to helping his Rangers finish the season strong and make a run for a slightly larger silver reward, the Stanley Cup, something that arguably could be more important to him than his silver medal.

Lundqvist will look to pick up right where he left off before leaving for Sochi, having won eight out of his last 10 starts, including five wins in a row before leaving for Sochi earlier this month. He will be one of the most crucial pieces to the Stanley Cup puzzle for the Rangers as the playoffs start to get closer and the games get more important.

After having a career worst start to his season, Lundqvist has been one of the best goalies in the league of late, and he further exemplified this in Sochi helping his country win the silver medal. Having only given up 15 goals in his last 10 starts, Lundqvist has shown why he is the best goalie in the league, and has silenced any critics that said he was not worth his new contract and salary.

If the Rangers are going to go deep into the playoffs, then they will be heavily reliant on Lundqvist to get them there. Without Lundqvist, the Rangers are not nearly as good as their record shows, especially considering that right before the Olympic break, the team looked tired and lazy, and Lundqvist stole some wins for the team despite that.

Lundqvist is easily the Rangers’ most valuable player, and will need to show it if the Rangers are going to make it deep into the playoffs. If Lundqvist can keep up his high level of play, something that is certainly possible, then the Rangers have the potential to be very successful this postseason. However, without Lundqvist, the Rangers stand no chance.

The future of the Rangers’ season is solely in the hands of King Henrik. Will he be able to handle the pressure?

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