Lundqvist still looking for elite self

March 4, 2013, by
Lundqvist has room for improvement despite solid numbers

Lundqvist has room for improvement despite solid numbers

At the moment the Rangers are –to an extent– treading water in the standings, but luckily they are not far away from the right end of the Eastern Conference. With Rick Nash healthy and dominant and the Rangers generally getting healthier, things look a lot more promising than just a week ago; especially when you consider the record with Nash in the line up (10-5-1) as opposed to out of it (0-3-1). What the Rangers really need now, is their most important player to get back to his own lofty standards; time to find your old self Henrik Lundqvist.

The reigning Vezina winner was solid against the Sabres, clutch in the shootout and during the extended period shorthanded, but once again he let in goals that Henrik Lundqvist normally wouldn’t let in. Lundqvist hasn’t been bad, and his numbers are solid, but he’s not stealing points, robbing players or making saves when the Rangers need them most. In short, he’s not in his usual Vezina trophy candidate form. To be fair, it’s tough to ask a goalie to be Vezina caliber for their entire career, but it’s what we’ve expected, like Yankee fans and Mariano.

Lundqvist isn’t suffering from any injury we know of, nor should we doubt his legendary focus and desire, he’s missing a little bit from his game. While that is a slight concern, it’s also exciting for Rangers fans. When Rick Nash is on, when the roster is close to full health this team wins games. They may not have the same edge as last year’s squad and perhaps need to find a little more nastiness, but they’re winning games. Throw in a Lundqvist in full beast mode and you’ve got yourselves the contender that so many expected before the season started. There is plenty of room for improvement for both Lundqvist and the team as a whole. That’s a good thing.

Lundqvist hasn’t been able to carry the Rangers during their down form this year. With injuries mounting and offensive production drying up, the Swede hasn’t been the thief in net that he can be. That said, a .918 save percentage and a 2.28 GAA are numbers that most goaltenders would be delighted to boast about. Not Lundqvist. Rangers fans and the goalie himself are used to more, used to better caliber goaltending and the fans are probably spoiled by having Lundqvist in net.

There’s no doubt that Lundqvist can regain his best form this season. Assuming continued health for he and the team, he has the tools at his disposal to regain that Vezina form. Playing to an elite level is what he’s done his entire career and he’s usually played his best hockey down the stretch. If he can do that again, there are no worries about making the playoffs for this team.

We always talk about regression and progression to the mean. Right now, Lundqvist is playing below is career averages. Can you imagine a Rangers team with Lundqvist progressing back to his career mean? It’s scary.


  1. RangerTex says:

    I am hoping Hank gets hot when it counts, the Rangers will get into a groove and ride the wave to SCF appearance.

  2. RangerTex says:

    OT: On the list of RD that can fit, What about David Savard? He has 10 points in 34 NHL games, is young and can shoot the puck from the right side.
    He has been scratched and demoted by the Jackets. Yes it looks bad, but they have a deep defensive prospect pool.

  3. Sally says:

    I think the comparison to Mariano is spot on. When the Sandman enters the game, you think the game is over and when he blows the game, it is shocking. The Ranger fans have become spoiled watching Hank stand on his head and they are puzzled as to why he is letting in so many soft goals.

  4. ranger17 says:

    I think if a player gets suspendid for 5 games his team should have to play short a player on the bench for those 5 games as well . Right now if a player like Kaleta gets 5 games the Sabres just insert another player to take up his minutes so the team is not affected at all .

    • VinceR says:

      I kind of like that idea, right now a thug can do his “job” and take someone out, get suspended, and he has no reason not to do it again, as it’s why he has a paycheck in the first place (since it doesn’t seem some players are paid to play hockey). Therefore teams don’t have any motivation not to behave this way, outside of whatever penalty is called on the ice.

      Of course, since it would actually deter stupid/intentional/dangerous hits, it has a snowball’s chance in hell of ever being implemented.

      • Joe says:

        Why Not? We have to stop the head injuries to the players in the NHL. This would do it!

        • VinceR says:

          Why not? Because it sounds smart and effective…it seems Gary and crew are against that when it is against the “old school” way. 🙂

  5. Joe says:

    Wow, Chris, Thank you so much for that pep talk! That is what I was looking for, You are absolutely right. This is a GOOD team! Let’s Go Rangers!!!

  6. Joestradamus says:

    He has been getting consistently better, this has been a weird season so far but there has been a steady improvement seen since the start of the season. Not too long until he is back to being the total beast he is.

  7. SD Charlie says:

    The way I see it (and I’m no expert by any stretch), most of the bad goals we’ve seen are the result of a complete defensive breakdown or just a mistake that leads to a fast odd-man rush. Hank is the best out there, but he’s still human. With the non-preseason, the roster shuffling, etc. the Rangers haven’t had a chance to fully gel. Once they start limiting the mistakes, the wins will start piling up. Especially, if Hank doesn’t have to make 5 miracle saves a game.