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Despite headaches, Lundqvist kept playing

Mar 29, 2013, 11:10 AM EST

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers prepares to tend net against the New Jersey Devils in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 16, 2012 in New York City. The Devils defeated the Rangers 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Getty Images

With all the talk of concussions in sports today, anytime a player — especially a prominent one — complains of headaches, it’s going to raise eyebrows.

That goes double when the player keeps playing.

Such has been the case with Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

From the Daily News:

On March 19, Lundqvist said he had headaches and his neck hurt after Dan Girardi‘s elbow inadvertently snapped the goaltender’s head back in a 3-2 road win over the New Jersey Devils. On Sunday, Lundqvist was dazed from a slap shot off the mask by Capitals forward Mike Ribeiro in a 3-2 home shootout loss to Washington.

Then on Tuesday night, after Lundqvist headbutted a first-period slap shot by Flyers forward Brayden Schenn but still made 32 saves in a 5-2 win in Philadelphia, the goaltender volunteered this information: “I didn’t feel great … The last two days, I have been feeling a little off.”

Asked if he were ailing mentally or physically, Lundqvist elaborated: “It was just my head. I was just thinking if the shot bothered me, got little headaches, then I felt better, but it was still bad. You build up something. It’s just mental. You have to put it aside and tell yourself, ‘You’re fine. Go out and play,’ and after five or ten minutes, you start to feel better.”

Lundqvist played last night, stopping 26 of 28 shots in a 3-0 loss to the Senators in Ottawa. He said he felt “good” going into his ninth straight start.

“I just had a couple days there where I felt a little off,” he said.

Given their tenuous grasp on the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers can’t afford to lose their most important player at this time —  a fact that will only lead to more conjecture that Lundqvist has been playing when maybe he should have been resting.

The Rangers take on the Canadiens Saturday in Montreal.

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