Henrik Lundqvist is expected to make his fourth straight start in net for New York.
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I know Price is leading 2-1 in wins, but this battle is a draw. Lundqvist has been pretty darn good for the New York Rangers too — the difference is he’s not getting the support Price is getting. In Game 3 on Sunday, Lundqvist stopped 21 of 22 shots through two periods before the Montreal Canadiens scored twice in the third. Lundqvist has faced 29 more shots than Price in this series, which is the equivalent to an extra game. He just needs some help.
“It was a good game, two teams that battled hard and back and forth,” Lundqvist said. “They had a lead a couple of times, we had a lead and then we found a way. I thought we played a really strong game, had good looks. Obviously when they tie it up that late, it’s important to stay focused and not overreact to it and guys go out and make a big play in overtime.” Yes, Lundqvist gave up a goal in each game in New York. But in each case, not until the Rangers already held a 4-0 lead. When the pressure was really on, he stood tall.
But he is set to play for the first time in a top-level senior international event with his twin brother, Joel Lundqvist, who is Sweden’s captain and plays forward. The last time they played together internationally was at the 2002 junior worlds.
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The Kings were considered strong Stanley Cup contenders heading into the 2011-12 season after acquiring Mike Richards from the Philadelphia Flyers during the offseason. While the team struggled to score and ultimately replaced coach Terry Murray after 29 games, Quick turned in a career year. Appearing in 69 games, he put up almost identical statistics to the eventual Vezina winner, Henrik Lundqvist.
Backed by future Hall of Fame goalie Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers have been regular contenders, and entered this season expecting similar results.
Part of the reason for the struggle has been less-than-stellar performances by the usual impenetrable Lundqvist in goal. With a save percentage of only .900, some have questioned if the 35-year-old has passed his prime. “It’s too many games now that we give up the first goal,” Lundqvist said. “We have to be better to give ourselves a chance to feel good about ourselves.”
The Lightning challenged the goal, and video replay seemed to show Dumont was pushed into Lundqvist by a Rangers skater. Yes, Dumont skated into the blue paint on his own will, but he never actually touched Lundqvist until he was shoved into the goalie.
Lundqvist had a different take on the call after the game. Lundqvist recently became the first goalie in NHL history to record at least 30 wins in 11 of his first 12 seasons, after a victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Lundqvist missed Thursday’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes with the injury.
“I want to come out. I can’t come out,” Lundqvist said. “I can’t play the position, so I think it was absolutely the right call. Sometimes I think players think that they have to bump the goalie, but he comes in there and cheap authentic nhl jerseys and I can’t come out. So I think it’s the right call for sure.”
The team will be at Los Angeles on Saturday and Anaheim on Sunday. The Rangers also play in San Jose on Tuesday, and Lundqvist is expected to start two of those three games.
Almost half the goalies have already switched to the new pants, but others have held out, but they don’t have a choice after Feb. 4. A source with knowledge of the subject told me Lundqvist hasn’t switched over to the new pants yet. Given how his season is going, it’s certainly not an ideal time to be switching a key part of equipment, although I can’t imagine it really makes that much of a difference. What I will say is that doubting Lundqvist given his track record seems like a foolhardy exercise. Bet on him to figure things out.