After reaching not one but two different milestones in his career, and breaking New York Rangers‘ franchise records all in the same week, Henrik Lundqvist continued to show why he is one of the greatest goaltenders in Rangers history last night in a huge game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Not only was this a divisional game on Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBC Sports, but this game could also dictate home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs when the regular season is all said and done. If the regular season ended today the Rangers would play the Flyers in the first round of the playoffs. Obviously the team with more points would get home-ice advantage in the matchup, but let us not forget that with every team in the Eastern Conference seemingly so close together, there is still no guarantee that the Rangers and Flyers will be in the playoffs by regular season’s end. This is why winning and getting two points in the standings last night was just so important, and once again the Rangers could not have done it without Lundqvist.
The Rangers would win by a 3-1 score last night. Even though the they dominated play in the second and third periods, if Lundqvist was not on his game throughout the first period, the Rangers could have easily been the losing team last night. In that first period, the Flyers heavily outshot the Rangers by a 15-6 margin, with most of those Flyer shots being high quality scoring chances Lundqvist was able to stop. Without Lundqvist on his game, there is no way the Rangers leave that first period with a 1-0 lead and maybe not even end up winning that game last night.