After back to back games where his opponents scored 6 goals on him just three games into the season, Lundqvist was clearly not at his best. In 587 career games, he has only 10 games with 6 or more goals allowed and he had never allowed 6 or more goals in consecutive games. Only 3 games into his season, getting obliterated by the Toronto Maple Leafs and rival New York Islanders, both in Madison Square Garden, was never thought to be possible for most, but it happened.
Despite losing in overtime last game, in 12 games before that this season, he has since come out of his slide. In those 12 games, he has a respectable 7-4-1 record, but even better is his league leading 3 shut outs. And in his last seven games at home, he has gone 5-1-1 and posted a 1.74 GAA and a .941 SV %. Surprisingly, his record this season is quite similar to his past performances over the first 12 games every year. Here are all ten seasons for Lundqvist in the NHL in his first 12 games played:
2005-06: 7-3-2 & 1 shut out
2007-08: 5-6-1 & 3 shut outs
2009-10: 7-3-1 (with 1 incomplete game)
2010-11: 6-5-1 & 2 shut outs
2011-12: 6-3-3 & 1 shut out
1013-14: 5-6-0 (with 1 incomplete game) & 2 shut outs
Moving into his 10th season in the NHL, Lundqvist has been one of the best goalies in the league. He currently ranks 3rd in games played, wins and shut outs among active goalies, behind Roberto Luongo and Evgeni Nabokov. He also ranks 3rd in GAA and SV % among active goalies, behind Tuukka Rask and Cory Schneider. Lundqvist is two shutouts away from moving into 20th place on the NHL’s all-time shutouts list and is 18 wins away from moving into 20th place on the NHL’s all-time wins list and both of those will presumably be broken this season. He is one of four active goalies with 300 wins and three active goalies with 50 shut outs. And among Rangers goalies, he is a legend. He ranks 1st in wins, SV % and shut outs and 2nd in games played and GAA. That’s pretty incredible considering the New York Rangers have been around for 88 years and have seen a lot of good goalies.
Here are 5 reasons to trust in Henrik Lundqvist to be the King in New York between the pipes:
- Elite Hockey Pedigree:
Before he came to the NHL, Lundqvist was already a star in Sweden. Having played 154 games in the Eliteserein, (Swedish Elite League, now called Swedish Hockey League), he was a star in his own rite in his homeland of Sweden, before the NHL. He managed only one season out of five with a GAA over 2.17, (two times under 1.50) and one season with a SV % under .927%, while posting 21 shut outs. And in his last season in Sweden, he posted a 30-6-3-2 record. He showed much poise and promise and hasn’t let management and fans down with his daring dives, sweet saves and expert execution.
- Hard Work Ethic:
Despite being drafted 205th Overall in the 8th Round, it didn’t stop Lundqvist from coming to the NHL and being one of the most dominating forces at his position. Even off the ice, he brings a regal status and is always one of the best dressed, most professionally carried players in the league. He is a workhorse, (having played four consecutive seasons of 70 games or more), a champion and in case you don’t watch him on a regular basis, you should make a habit of checking him out more. Since he entered the league in 2005-06, he has been a force in goal every year and has clearly been the answer to finally replacing lifetime Rangers goaltender Mike Richter. It seems as though the “risk” in the draft paid off.
- Proven Track Record:
Over the past ten seasons, if one thing is true about Lundqvist, it is that you can always count on him to keep your team in it. Buckle up and get ready for an exhaustive list of excellence.
He posted a single season GAA of 1.97, which ranks 16th all time when over 60 GP. He posted a season with a .930 SV%, which ranks 5th all time when playing at least 60 games and is one of only 18 players in NHL history to post 11 shut outs in one seasons. He has two years of 10 shut outs or more in his NHL career and one more with 8 shut outs. He has six straight years of 35 wins, including a career high 39 in 2011-12 and he has failed to hit 30 wins in a season only once and that was in the lockout shortened season where he led the league with 24 wins. Now take a breather and we can move on.
- Playoff Performance:
Since coming to the NHL, Lundqvist has failed to make the playoffs only once and we can attribute much of that to his team. In those appearances, he has posted a GAA under 2.15, (best was 1.82), and amazing four times and a SV % above .920 %, four times, (twice above .930 %). Last season, Lundqvist overcame his jitters against the Montreal Canadiens, a team to which he has major difficulty, and led an underdog team to the Stanley Cup Finals, which was the first in 20 seasons; which was their 10th time overall and just their fourth time past the Original 6 era.
- Personal Achievements:
Here comes another exhaustive list of achievements, just to warn you.
He is a four time NHL All Star and has also been an All Star at the World Championship and Olympics. He was nominated for the Vezina Trophy 5 times, including 3 in a row to start his NHL career and won the award in 2012. He has represented his country at the Olympics three times, bringing home gold and silver medals and World Championship 3 times, bringing home a silver medal. He has also represented his country at the World Juniors twice and the U-18 Championship, bringing home the bronze. All of this adds up to a gleaming trophy case, but the one that eludes him is the Stanley Cup. I’m sure that the King would like to change that.
Like always, if you agree or disagree, I’d love to hear from you.
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