As the New York Rangers’ season comes to an end, one thing is certain: Henrik Lundqvist is just not his former self.
By Jay Travers
The New York Rangers have had an All-Star backstop for the last several seasons, but the plain fact is that time will age anything and anyone, even Henrik Lundqvist.
Whether we like it or not, Hank is simply not the same brick wall that Rangers’ fans have witnessed in prior seasons.
The King’s stats show a common trend.
For every season Lundqvist has played in the NHL he has been named a Vezina Finalist, and even won the award following the 2011-2012 season.
Hank’s save percentage has never dropped below .912 and his goals against average hasn’t topped his current 2.44. But by comparison, Lundqvist’s averages during his Vezina year were .930 and 1.97, respectively.
Lundqvist is on track to play three games more than the 63 he played during the 2013-14.
If the Rangers clinched a playoff spot last night in Carolina, he probably would have been given a break or two before the playoffs begin, but to no avail.
But we all know how that ended…
The 34 year old Swedish net minder does not seem to have the edge as of late, which begs the question: is he hurt?
And more importantly, is the “window” now closing?
No. 30 is never one to complain about injuries, as he will play through just about anything. But that of course wasn’t the case last season when Hank was sidelined with a vascular injury. We all know how that ended, as Cam Talbot was the hero who saved the Rangers’ season.
Take a look at Justin Faulk‘s goal from Thursday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Lundqvist’s reaction to it was just, slow. Granted there was traffic in front of him and it may have deflected off of McDonagh’s arm or hip, that is still a goal that Hank would want back.
But this should not come as a shock though as Hank’s inevitable decline is sure to happen. Perhaps we are witnessing the beginning of the process?
Hank’s numbers haven’t dissipated much from last season’s .922 save percentage and 2.25 goals against average, but there still is hockey to be played.
Don’t get me wrong, Henrik Lundqvist is still an elite goalie. However the window is surely closing on him and the rest of this team.
One thing is for sure, if The King is to relinquish his throne with a Stanley Cup ring, it will have to happen soon.