Henrik Lundqvist – Swedish for Clutch

Photo: Willens/AP
Photo: Willens/AP

His record in Game Seven’s is borderline outrageous: 5-1 in game sevens, 1.00 GAA, .965%. Numbers that only get better when looking at the last four Game Sevens. He’s 10-2 when facing elimination. All eye popping numbers and the list goes on and on. Imagine if he had received better offensive support in recent years?

When you remove Lundqvist’s difficult start to the season, you can begin to make a legitimate argument that not only is Lundqvist the best goaltender in hockey but he’s the most clutch performer in the entire sport. Name another goaltender that has received as little offensive support as Lundqvist and has done more with it than the former Vezina winner? Lundqvist always steps up in big games and that’s all you can ask from your best player.

Lundqvist has won wherever he has been; whether it was during his time in the SEL, the Olympics, the NHL and now the NHL’s postseason (second conference final in three years). The only thing missing from his résumé is a Cup final/Cup win.

People who questioned the length of Lundqvist’s new deal this summer are probably quiet right now. If Lundqvist can get more consistent offensive support, and continue to receive the stellar defensive support he has had, he can smash both Ranger and NHL records over the next four, five, six years.

A motivated team is a dangerous team. In part because of the awful circumstances surrounding Martin St. Louis, this Rangers team has come together and has become a tight, hungry group that has more upside (given the lack of consistent production from the offense) than Montreal. Throw in the best goaltender in the league playing at the top of his game, and you have a potential for a dream conclusion to the season.

That Lundqvist has to go back to Montreal will not faze him. He has lost his fair share of games over his career but no player has shown more determination for the Rangers than Lundqvist – it’s one of the many reasons he gets paid a serious amount of dollars. Ahead of last night’s Montreal Boston Game Seven it was worth noting his record against the two teams.

vs Boston            33           21           10           1.85        .937        6
vs Montreal        27           13           11           2.85        .897        1

Lundqvist has 33 starts against Boston, 21 wins and a much more superior goals against, save percentage and shutout record than he does against Montreal. Yes, the Habs have beaten Lundqvist multiple times and made him look human. But they have never had to take him on over a prolonged series. It’s worth noting that between October and April, Lundqvist’s best save percentage in any month over his career is April (.931%). Lundqvist gets better as the games get more meaningful and that should worry Montreal.

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  • I agree with most of what is written here.

    But to be fair, Price is also playing at the top of his game now.

  • After watching Price against Boston, and the olympics, the man is the real deal!

    Now with that stated, I still would take Hank over him in a heart beat!!

  • Lundqvist was incredible in Game 7 vs. the Penguins and he has been consistently good throughout the playoffs. However, I do think you overestimate the season he had. After a bad start (which you note), he came alive for a stretch, but then slipped back into mediocrity, before finally coming alive the last fifteen games or so. If the Rangers had a normal backup in place of Cam Talbot, they are sitting well outside the top eight on trade deadline day and Sather is presumably a seller, not a buyer. Callahan and a few others are gone – there is no MSL.

    Lundqvist didn’t get the Rangers to the postseason; Talbot did. That being said, I think Hank will put his Montreal jinx behind him and continue to be the goalie we’ve seen the last month and a half.

  • I am hoping Captain clutch doesn’t become Captain choke artist at the Bell Center. The Canadiens-de-Montreal will be tough at home, but I am doubling down on my winnings from the last 2 series and picking the Rangers in 7.

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