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Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers have come close to Lord Stanley two years in a row, but will Hank ever get the Cup he deserves?

By Jessica Joy Curtin

1authorjessica1 - Henrik Lundqvist: Will He Ever Win a Stanley Cup?It’s difficult enough to accept that the New York Rangers are officially out of the race to the Stanley Cup. Ye,t the fact that they were shutout in Game Seven at Madison Square Garden makes it that much worse, especially for Henrik Lundqvist.

Lunqvist has played his heart out every single year in the playoffs. Last year he practically carried the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals, only to be denied the Cup by the Los Angeles Kings. Then this year, Lundqvist miraculously had an even better season.

In fact, this was Hank’s best postseason ever before the Rangers were eliminated by Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning. After Round Two, Lundqvist set a personal best for both goals against average (1.60 GAA) and save percentage (.944 SV%). But even then, that wasn’t enough to keep New York in the running.

Seeing Lundqvist get pulled in the final minutes of Game Seven was hard to take in. It was agonizing. He had done everything he could to keep the Rangers in it, but all he could do then was sit on the bench and helplessly watch offense continue to struggle. By the look on his face, I’m sure he would’ve gone back out there to try and score a goal or three himself if he could.

For the team that had won the Presidents’ Trophy with the best regular season record, you’d expect the rest of the Rangers to push farther this year than they had last year. Like their motto, it seemed like they were destined to “change the ending.”

Now knowing that they’ve changed the ending for the worse, will Lundqvist ever win a Stanley Cup?

Lundqvist isn’t getting any younger. The 33-year-old is in his prime now, but his elite level of play is not going to last forever. Plus, in a sport like hockey all of that can go away in the blink of an eye. It almost did when a shot hit him directly in the neck, causing a life-threatening vascular injury. Of course, he came back better than ever but his contract expires after the 2020-21′ season; if Hank is ever going to win the Cup, I’d say that would be a realistic deadline for him to do it by.

But this year may very well have been their best shot. The Rangers were the best team in the NHL going into the playoffs and they had one of the best twine tenders in the entire league backing them up. What more does it take?

Now knowing that they’ve changed the ending for the worse, will Lundqvist ever win a Stanley Cup?

How about consistency? Their leading goal-scorer, Rick Nash, crumbled under the pressure as well as their second leading goal-scorer, Martin St. Louis. Nash collected 42 goals while St. Louis tallied 21 in the regular season. Then in the playoffs, Nash recorded six while St. Louis buried just one; their production took a dive and it certainly didn’t do the Rangers any favors.

If your leading goal scorers aren’t reliable, that puts a lot of pressure on defense and goaltending to make up for lost offense. Or in other words, it doesn’t matter how great of a performance Lundqvist puts on in the crease if offense can’t bury a single goal on the other side of the rink.

Consistent offense is ultimately what it boils down to. If the Rangers can’t accomplish that in front of Lundqvist, there’s no way they’ll be champions. And despite the Swedish goaltender playing like a champ, he may never know what it’s like to actually win the Stanley Cup if Rangers’ offense doesn’t get it together.

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I’m 23, a Binghamton University graduate with a BS degree in integrative neuroscience, and a ridiculously diehard fan of the New York Rangers.

I’m also the Editor at BlueLineStation.com, the Rangers dedicated website for FanSided.com.