In some surprising news today, Martin Biron will be starting in goal tonight against the Calgary Flames. This will be Biron’s second consecutive start, and seventh start of the season (appeared in eight games). Biron also relieved Henrik Lundqvist in the second period on Friday night against Colorado. Biron played a couple games in a row last week as well, while Lundqvist was battling the flu.
Coach John Tortorella has stressed that there is no goalie controversy with the Rangers, and that Lundqvist is working with goaltending coach Benoit Allaire on his technique. Lundqvist has struggled with allowing some soft goals here and there, and played a clunker in Colorado on Friday night. However, Lundqvist stole the Pittsburgh game, and has a history of stealing games for anemic Rangers offenses of the past.
The recent play of Biron gives the Rangers the flexibility to sit Lundqvist while he works through some kinks in his form. This is a luxury the Rangers have never had in the Lundqvist era. In each of the past four seasons, Lundqvist has started a minimum of 69 games, and appeared in at least 70 games. That much action does not give him much time to work on his form or technique in practice before trying it out in games. Biron is still the backup, and will always be the backup on the Rangers. There is nothing wrong with a 60/22 split between Lundqvist and Biron, which is probably what the coaching staff is aiming for. It is better to have Lundqvist work on the kinks now, than in March or April.