Nov 1, 2010, 10:49 PM EST
When Marian Gaborik and Chris Drury went down with injuries while word surfaced that Vaclav Prospal would miss time because of surgery, it was hard to argue against the prevailing wisdom that the New York Rangers were boned (to use a highfalutin scientific term). Especially since their true star – goalie Henrik Lundqvist – started a bit slow.
While the Rangers are flying under the radar a bit, the team is a beyond respectable 5-3 since their big ticket scorers went down with injuries. Their scrappy, competitive play might be a surprise to some, but the main reason they are keeping their heads above water shouldn’t. Lundqvist put together Vezina Trophy – perhaps Hart Trophy- caliber hockey in the six of the eight games he started since those guys went on the shelf.
A 4-2 record might not seem that amazing until you look at his impressive numbers.
While you can see most of the details in that graphic, let me share some of the high points.
- Allowing 12 goals in only six games is pretty impressive to begin with, but doing so when your team allows 34.7 shots per game makes it an outstanding number.
- Lundqvist only had one game with a sub-90 save percentage, in a loss against the Carolina Hurricanes.
- He hit 94 percent or better in four of those six games, including a shutout on the road against Toronto. In fact, his save percentage totals about 94.23 in this span.
With the Chicago Blackhawks winning a Cup with Antti Niemi and plenty of teams having recent success with previously unknown goalies, many people might question the need for a “marquee” or “franchise” netminder. Yet, if you look at the Rangers, they would be in enormous trouble without their stupendous Swedish stopper.
That’s because Lundqvist delivers when the Rangers need him the most.
- NHL on NBC: Rangers look for a fourth straight win against the Flyers 5
- Ducks score four third-period goals, come back to beat rival Kings 8
- Blackhawks aren’t done talking trades, will look to add another forward 13
- Flyers trade Kimmo Timonen to Blackhawks 32
- Video: Couture fined $5K for slew-footing Smith 22
- Time to start winning — Bruins’ next four games are against non-playoff teams 17
- Burgled: Sens’ Hammond shuts out Kings 14
- Wild get important win vs. Preds (and some luck, too) 41
- Trading baggage: Blue Jackets grab Clarkson, send Horton’s contract to Leafs 66
- Panthers acquire Jagr from Devils 29
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (69)
- Trading baggage: Blue Jackets grab Clarkson, send Horton’s contract to Leafs (66)
- Lindros files $3M defamation lawsuit against ex-referee Stewart (Updated: Now $250K) (65)
- The plummeting Coyotes are threatening to fall below the Oilers into 29th place (55)