In Game 4, New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist reminded everybody that he is the best goalie in the game right now and would deserve to wear the ‘C’ on his sweater, if goalies wear permitted. But he can’t do it three more games in a row.
The Rangers have made the playoffs in all but one of Lundqvist’s nine seasons as goalie. All seven of these previous playoff runs fell short of a trip to the Stanley Cup Final, due in part to his teammates failing to support him. Lundqvist’s 40 saves on 41 shots in his team’s 2-1 victory once again demonstrated how elite of a goaltender Lundqvist is when he has his A-game. However, it also demonstrated why this is the closest the team has come to a parade down the Canyon of Heroes in Manhattan.
The Rangers managed just 19 shots against Jonathan Quick and the Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Kings. Lundqvist may have rose to the occasion in the biggest game of his NHL career, but the Rangers will not last much longer if they allow their opponent to produce double the amount of shots on goal. In fact, the only game in this series in which the Rangers were not outshot by the Kings was Game 3, in which they produced more than double the amount of shot but were shut out 3-0.
The big names, (and contracts) need to step up and make things happen/close games. Blowing two goal leads in back-to-back games due to complacency/laziness is killing this team. Playing in your own zone constantly is not going win a Cup. Playing hot potato with the puck and taking lackadaisical shots every power play will not win a Cup.
Lundqvist can win games and carry the Rangers through the playoffs, but until he can cross the center-ice redline, he cannot win a Stanley Cup without help.