After last night’s win over the Winnipeg Jets, 4-2, New York Rangers‘ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has tied the team’s all time record in wins, with Mike Richter at 301. Even before Lundqvist reached the 301 win mark though, many Rangers fans had said that Lundqvist is already the greatest goaltender in Rangers’ history, but I have to disagree. Not only that, but, in my opinion, even when Lundqvist does pass Richter and becomes the team’s all time leader in wins, I still would not call him the greatest goaltender in Rangers’ history.
Now, before you jump down my throat ask me how I can say that, let me hand you some facts and explain my reasoning. Richter is, and will always be, the Rangers’ greatest goaltender unless Lundqvist wins a Stanley Cup with the Rangers. You can throw regular season stats in my face all you want, but last time I checked, it is all about the postseason. Lundqvist may be 301-192 and Richter 301-258, but that is only wins and losses in the regular season. So, let’s look at the playoff stats.
In the playoffs, Lundqvist has played in 67 postseason games and has a record seven games under .500, with a 30-37 record. Richter, on the other hand, played in 76 playoff games in his career, all with the Rangers, and went 41-33 plus a Stanley Cup victory in 1994. Also, Richter’s career playoff save percentage is higher than his regular season save percentage, which means he steps up his game in the playoffs, while Lundqvist has the same exact save percentage in both the regular season and the playoffs. No matter how good you are, if you want to win the Stanley Cup, you have to kick your game up a notch.
Also, Lundqvist in the playoffs has been prone to giving up weak or soft goals at really bad times in games, while Richter in the playoffs was always known to make the big save at critical times.
In my opinion, the postseason records and the amount of clutch goaltending performances in the playoffs for both Lundqvist and Richter,speak for themselves. In order to be No. 1, you need at least one Stanley Cup. Richter has it, Lundqvist does not.
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