Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The NYR Facts Of Life: #30 Henrik Lundqvist

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. And this time around we started with the high numbers and are up to the King, #30, Henrik Lundqvist.

#30's #s: 68 games, 36-27-5, 2.28 gaa, .923 save %, 11 shutouts (5 playoff games, 1-4, 2.25 gaa, .917 save %).

Take the good: Hank led the NHL with 11 shutouts (a career high for him) and won more than 35 games for the fifth straight season. The Rangers got a lot of press for all of their blocked shots but that resulted in a lot of pucks deflected on goal and yet Hank still held his ground. He stood up to shot after shot (he had 18 games where he faced 35 or more) and finally physically defended his crease when he took down Max Pacioretty. Hank did not face any of the random ailments that popped up over the last few seasons (hips, headaches, knees, whatever) and gave the young Rangers the strong netminding they needed. He only got the hook three times all year and was strong enough to survive the stretch run without a real backup.

Take the bad: Because of the goal deficient team in front of him, Hank had to be close to perfect for the team to win and, thus, every one of his mistakes were magnified. And when he had bad nights, the Blueshirts were screwed - they lost every game where he allowed more than three goals. He - and the team for that matter - couldn't build any kind of momentum: he had just one win streak more than two games (a rip of five in mid-March). Torts had to sit him down at one point in November to get extra work with Benoit.

Take them both and then we have: The King. He played in 68 games, a total less than he had in any of the previous four seasons. The less work was ice but did not pay off as he couldn't Jon Casey the Rangers past the Caps in the playoffs. The occasional soft goals became more infrequent this season, perhaps as a result of his maturation or increased confidence in himself and his defenders. He survived the Rozsival era and made it though the MDZ mistakes only to have to deal with the defensively lacking Bryan McCabe. The last time Hank had a fully capable corps of defensemen in front of him he won the Olympic gold medal so let's hope that he will have some more help this fall.


Dave W said...

You can pretty much sum up the Rangers' season in The King's playoff numbers.

Craig said...

he should be a vezina candidate considering the team and system he played behind.