The Rangers have successfully navigated their way to the top of the Metropolitan Division. Winning their last three contests has propelled the team past the Penguins for the Division lead. As of late, the team has been playing some solid hockey. The power play lines are capitalizing on the numerous scoring opportunities; the defense is standing tall throughout the course of a contest and the puck is being spread around to numerous sources. One main reason for this surge is a name Rangers fans are happy to see on the stat sheet each night: Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist has bounced around from starter to bench warmer due to the solid play of his counterpart Antti Raanta. Lundqvist has had a few contests where he has been brilliant and others where he would have been better off watching the game from the sidelines. This tough stretch for “King” Henrik hasn’t been made easier due to the success of Raanta. It really isn’t a bad problem for the team to feature two goalies that are more than capable of being named star of the night each contest. Favoritism has once again been thrown Lundqvist’s way and it is no wonder due to his performance in his last three contests.
After a four-game absence, Lundqvist was back in-between the pipes against the Dallas Stars. To say his play was anything short of spectacular would be an understatement. Staking his claim as the team’s number one option, Lundqvist saved all 27 shots he saw come his way. He entered the contest feeling the pressure to perform and delivered throughout a contest that didn’t see its first goal until the third period. The Rangers would go on to win the contest 2-0 and would go on to provide Lundqvist the support he needed to get back on track.
The team would travel to Nashville and once again would put Lundqvist in the net. Nashville would give Lundqvist all he could handle after the team jumped out to an early lead in the first period. Mike Fisher broke Lundqvist’s consecutive saves streak halfway through the second period. After allowing the goal, Lundqvist made a quick turnaround. He saved 31 total shots in a game that eventually reached a shootout. He made two pivotal saves in overtime, allowing Jimmy Vesey and Mats Zuccarello to capitalize in victorious fashion. Lundqvist would total 58 saves on 59 opportunities, a much-improved statistic to look with pride upon compared to early season dwellings. This is the level of play that was expected out of Lundqvist coming into the season, as he is a big reason why the Rangers entered the 2017 with 25-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup.
With two straight wins under their belts, the Rangers decided to throw Lundqvist out there for a third straight contest against the New Jersey Devils. The Devils and Rangers would go shot-for-shot for a total of four goals throughout regulation play. Derek Stepan potted a goal with minutes to spare to take the contest into overtime. For a second consecutive night, the game would end in a shootout where Lundqvist proved his brilliance once again. He stopped 29 shots during the regulation and overtime periods and added three more during the shootout. His night would also be marked in accolades. Lundqvist would end the night tied with Dominik Hasek for most wins by a European-born goalie at 389.