Only Malkin stands between Lundqvist and history

February 29, 2012, by

Henrik Lundqvist has a legitimate shot at doing something incredibly rare. It hasn’t been done since Jose Theodore did it in 2001-2002, and only three players (Theodore, Dominick Hasek, Jacques Plante) have done it in the history of the NHL. It requires a spectacular season in net, and a rare season when no skater has pushed to earn the Hart trophy. Hank already has the Vezina locked up barring a monumental collapse. But the only person that stands in his way from accomplishing the rare feat of winning both the Hart and the Vezina in the same season is Evgeny Malkin.

Malkin leads the league in scoring with 78 points in just 55 games. He has single handedly carried the Penguins –who are sans Sidney Crosby– into the playoffs, and has turned up his production during the stretch run. It is tough to say where the Penguins would be without Malkin, but the help of James Neal has certainly taken some of the load off of Malkin’s shoulders. Malkin is making Neal better, and vice-versa. That is one deadly duo in Pittsburgh, and it is driven by Malkin.

Looking at Lundqvist, it is easy to say where the Rangers would be without him: struggling for a playoff berth as a bottom seeded team. Lundqvist currently owns a league-leading 35.9 GVT, which equals roughly 12 points in the standings (PVT). Those 12 points would leave the Rangers with 74 points, and jockeying with the Devils for seventh in the East. Those 12 points has given the Rangers a whopping nine point cushion on Boston and Pittsburgh for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

While some will say that Lundqvist has done it with one of the league’s best defenses in front of him, let’s remember that this is a defense that was without their top player for half the season (Marc Staal) and will be without another top four defender (Mike Sauer) for what appears to be the other half of the season. The duo of Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh has taken some of the burden off Hank’s shoulders, but he is the constant on the ice. The current second pairing is Michael Del Zotto, who is having a fantastic year, and Anton Stralman. Not exactly intimidating.

Malkin’s 24.8 GVT is still very, very good, but also trails Lundqvist by 11. That 24.8 GVT equals roughly eight points in the standings, four points behind Lundqvist’s 12 PVT. Those eight points would put the Penguins in a tie with Washington for the final spot.

Both players are the reasons why their respective teams are where they are. Both players are currently irreplaceable on their respective teams. Malkin is sans-Crosby, Hank is sans-offense. Both have a legitimate shot at winning the Hart. It wouldn’t be a shocker to see either one win, as both are deserving. That said, unless Malkin falls off a cliff, expect him to win the Hart, with Hank taking the Vezina.

Categories : Goaltending


  1. Brinew says:

    Henrik has shouldered a team that had maybe 6th seed aspirations to a team that could be #1 overall.Malkin was dealt the hand he was and is playing it beautifully. Tough choice betwwn the two.

  2. The Suit says:

    Great post. Hopefully voters know what PVT is!

  3. Ace7033 says:

    Where is Jimmy Howard in the Vezina Trophy discussion? And the players overwhelmingly voted Pavel Datsyuk the best player in the NHL. Lundqvist is a great goalie, but he’s not Jimmy Howard. And I understand why Malkin is in the Hart Trophy running. Without him, the Penguins are nothing. Hart Trophy is the MVP. Not the Best in the World.

    • Dave says:

      Go look at the stats between Howard and Lundqvist please.

      • Ace7033 says:

        I’ll stand down on my Howard comment, but only because of his numbers and his tendency to let in a soft goal every now and then. (As a Wings fan, I never get the opportunity to think my goalie is a top-tier one. Howard is changing that.)

        • The Suit says:

          Howard is becoming a very good goalie, but the Wings don’t depend on him the way the Rangers depend on Hank. While wins are certainly important, GAA & SV% are the driving factors for Vezina talk. If they weren’t, Tim Thomas would not have won the Vezina two out of the last three years. I don’t really agree with this formula, but that’s what they look at.

        • wwpd says:

          man, never? chris osgood won multiple cups in detroit. and that other guy, pair of hart trophies, ahlf dozen vezinas, future hall of famer, i forget his name. czech guy.

          tough crowd up in detroit 😉

          • VinceR says:

            Ha good point, I got caught up in the Henke vs. Johnson debate and didn’t even consider that angle. 😉

    • Tom says:

      Howard-32-13-2 .923 2.09 Lundqvist- 30-12-4 1.75 .940

      Penguins don’t NEED Malkin to win. Look up their record last year. They set franchise records without him. WITH him this year they should be higher than 4th in the conference.

      Lundqvist is on the verge of setting records… Get real.

      • Dave says:

        They are 2nd in the conference in points. Just the division leaders get the top 3 seeds.

        • Tom says:

          I know how it works my point is you would think that with Malkin they would be closer to the division lead.

    • VinceR says:

      You are saying Lundqvist is no Jimmy Howard? Seriously? Let’s say, for arguments sake, you ignore the actual numbers…what are you basing this on?

      And yes, we know what the MVP is for…read the article again to see the explanation of why he is so valuable to the team. Who else is more valuable to this Rangers team? They are in first place and are lacking in the scoring department…how do you think those games are won?

      • Paul says:

        Correct! It’s ridiculous this is even an argument. The Rangers are ranked number 29 on the power play! They scored 2 goals in as many games recently. Anyone have Center Ice? If you’re not a Rangers fan but you decide to watch a game; I hope you at least enjoy great goal tending because that’s all you’re going to get. Come on people! Grow up and be Hockey Fans. Become knowledgeable about other teams and players. Rooting for your team is great, but if you can’t understand why the Hart Trophy should go to one of Evgeni Malkin or Henrik Lundqvist then you shouldn’t even be discussing the topic. All due respect to Howard but if you’re going to bring up another goal tender for the Hart, at least you can plausibly make some kind of argument for Brian Elliot (although that’s a stretch because he doesn’t carry the work load like Henrik. Lundqvist has played in 18 more games than Elliot up to this point.)!

    • jay h says:

      this is insanity

    • IPoopOnYou says:

      What is this a center for ants? You damn right Hank aint Howard. Hank’s been great for 6+ years. Howard’s been great for all of 6 months. Ace you’ve been pooped on sucka.

      • VinceR says:

        If you are above the age of 15, you need to do some serious soul searching. Or a girlfriend, or friends, or something.

        I mean seriously, I agree with your points, but your handle and your other statements…ridiculous. Charming on a hand-puppet dog (big fan of Triumph), doesn’t quite work on a blog that discusses hockey intelligently. Get a life.

    • BOB says:

      JIMMY WHO?

  4. THATGuy7 says:

    Okay I just looked at the stats between the 2. Jimmy Howard still has more wins. Last time I checked wins were more valuable than a good GAA or Save Percentage. Oh yeah Jimmy is still having a great year when it comes to those stats. If we are talking pure stats than Brian Elliot has to be in the discussion..

    • Tom says:

      Elliot has played in 30 games, Lundqvist has as many wins as games that Elliot has played in. Get a clue.

      • THATGuy7 says:

        Im not an idiot. It was a general statement. His GAA and Save percentage are right there less games played or not.

        • Justin says:

          Tom is correct when assessing the statistics for the purpose of looking at awards. Lundqvist is putting up as good if not better numbers in a 50% larger sample.

          Elliot has been part of a very successful platoon, but he has been a backup his entire career, and is not nearly responsible for the Blues’ success as Lundqvist is the to the Rangers.

          Obviously, when examining team success wins are the most important thing. However, when looking at individual awards, simply because Nashville decides to ride Rinne to an almost irresponsible workload, does not mean his more wins are more valuable than Lundqvist’s performance in the games he was a part of.

        • Chris F says:


          You have to look at the complete picture, which includes wins, as well as GAA and SV%, plus total games.

          A goalie who starts 20 games will never be a Vezina or a Hart candidate, even if he goes 20-0, with a 1.5 GAA and .950 SV %. The sample is too small to make a Vezina/Hart judgment. That rules Elliot out.

          And, while Howard has more wins, it’s only 2 more wins than Lundqvist. Not enough to swing the vote to his favor, whereas Lundvists’s 1.75 GAA is more than enough to swing things in his favor considering Howard’s is over 2.0 GAA.

          Final stats:

          32-13-2, 5 SOs, 2.09 GAA, .923%
          30-12-4, 8 SOs, 1.75 GAA, .940%

          Finally, you have to look at team offense. The Rangers are averaging 2.77 goals per game to the Red Wings’ 3.15 goals per game. Lundqvist is under more pressure to perform at an elite level to ensure victory. Lundqvist’s GAA/Rangers GPG ratio is 1.75/2.77 whereas Howard’s GAA/Red Wings GPG ratio is 2.03/3.15. In other words, there is a greater margin of error every night for Howard than there is for Lundqvist.

          • Chris F says:

            By the way, I’m not suggesting that these two aren’t close. The numbers are very close, but with the exception of two less wins, Lundqvist takes every category, and with a weaker offense in front of him.

            • THATGuy7 says:

              Touche. Intelligent posts with more than a your stupid, will always get a response of respect. I was not saying that Elliot should win, just based off stats he should be in the conversation. As should Jimmy based off stats AND wins.

              • VinceR says:

                I do agree with you on name calling, not necessary at all. A “c’mon man you have to be kidding” can be expected on a sports blog, but no need for name calling.

              • IPoopOnYou says:

                Name calling is stupid, but so is mentioning Howard and Elliot in the same breath as Lundqvist.

                If you think someone deserves the Vezina over Hank then someone should poop on you.

          • Larry says:

            Let’s look at this also. Detroit has also played 4 more games more than the NY Rangers. So if Hank wins those 4 games, then he’s 2 ahead of Howard.

          • Amy Trapp says:

            This is a fantastic statistical analysis to make the case for Lundqvist, and I agree completely. Not just GAA, but SV percentage are important when judging a goalie’s value and accomplishments in net. Let’s not forget shots against as well. Where does that comparison stand?

    • Ace7033 says:

      Pekka Rinne too.

    • VinceR says:

      So using the wins logic, Pekke Rinne is a better goal tender than Henke and Howard. Henke has one less loss and has played one less game than Howard and does not have nearly the supporting scoring.

      • VinceR says:

        And he STILL has 117 more saves in one less game played.

      • THATGuy7 says:

        One less loss but two less wins. What matters at the end of a game? Last time I checked your goalie could have a .950 save percentage and lose the game…!

        • VinceR says:

          A half a goal per game is HUGE!

          A goalie can only affect the outcome of the game by keeping the puck out of the net.

          This happens by keeping shots on goal out of the net. This is recorded by save percentage. The stats speak there.

          Also it is recorded by how low the goalie keeps the score, GAA. The stats speak there.

          That is all a goalie can do to help win a game. The stats say that Henke gives his team the best chance to win a game. That doesn’t mean that always translate to wins. Using wins as an end all stat for goalies is flawed. And you act like Howard has so many more wins! He has 2!!! This is an 82 game season!

          Wins are something a TEAM is responsible for (which yes, a goalie is a PART of). The goalie stats measure the goalie himself.

          And are you saying that Pekke Rinne is the best goalie in the league?

        • Justin says:

          Your missing the point dude. If the voters wanted the award to represent the goalie with the most wins in the league, that’s what the criteria would be. They clearly have an interest in the players performance within the context of his appearances. Your just fighting for fighting’s sake.

      • THATGuy7 says:

        The supporting scoring is less than half a goal per game off. He is not surrounded by the worst team in the league like you guys seem to think… Detroit and NYR both only have 1 scorer in the top 30 as well.

  5. voidoid says:

    For what it’s worth, GVT is very much skewed towards goaltenders. Last season the highest ranked skater in GVT was Henrik Sedin at number 7, with six goalies ahead of him, and three goalies behind to round out the top ten. 14 of the top 20 were goaltenders, with Tim Thomas of course topping the list. Essentially, half the starting goalies in the league outranked all but the very best skaters in GVT.

    If anything, Malkin’s GVT is every bit as impressive as the King’s.

    • Dave says:

      This is very true, but the goalie is the most important player on the ice. He can single handedly win playoff series for you.

  6. Walt says:

    Malkin, AKA, Frankenstein,that boy is ugly, is on a team that is so loaded, I could win the scoring title if I played for the Pens!

    Lets see now, Cindy is out with an injury, Stall, Letang, Neal, Kunitz, Kennedy, Cooke, and on, and on. The fact that Malkin is a very very good player, I will admit it, but the Pens would still win without him. They won with both Malkin, and Crosby out for much of the last season, but that team just kept coming at you. Dupuie, Orpek, Martin, come on this team is loaded, while we have talent, but we bust our hump to win. The Pens could, and have won without Malkin, and should he fall again this year, they still would win.

    Hank is the MVP for the Rangers, and the entire NHL, come hell, or high water! And as for Jimmy who?

  7. Jeff says:

    If anyone thinks that Jimmy Howard is better than King Henrik, you need to get your eyes checked. While Howard’s record is impressive, the King has to do it in a tougher Conference and Division, Pens, Flyers, Devils and Bruins to name a few. And a 1.75 goals against and a .940 save percentage. This is status that not even the great Marty Brodeur has seen. Lundqvist all the way!!!!!!