Henrik Lundqvist getting pulled in the first period isn’t something that happens often, but it did tonight.
With the New York Rangers down 3-0 in the first period against the Florida Panthers, Alain Vigneault decided it was time for a goaltending change before the period even came to a close.
Pavelec replaces Lundqvist in goal.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) November 29, 2017
Throughout this current four-game winning streak, the Rangers have been able to rely on Lundqvist to make the big save when they desperately needed him but tonight wasn’t the case.
Coming into this game, Lundqvist had a goal against of a 1.48 and a .958 save percentage. He had been facing a barrage (73) of shots the past few games but that wasn’t the case tonight, where he only saw six.
Of the three goals, you can say that Lundqvist may have wanted the third one back, as it appeared he got a piece of the shot but it still managed to get past him.
Pulling Lundqvist isn’t ideal, but it allows for backup Ondrej Pavelec to see some game action. Pavelec hasn’t played since the Rangers 6-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 15 where he came in relief of Lundqvist, who allowed four goals in that one. The Rangers’ schedule has allowed for Lundqvist to play frequently as he was starting his 13th game in a row.
We won’t know the reason why Lundqvist was pulled until after the game, but it appears that head coach Alain Vigneault was trying to wake his team up. The Blueshirts have been struggling defensively over the last two games and coaches tend to pull a goalie as a way to yell “wake up” instead of wasting a timeout.
With Lundqvist on the bench, the Rangers will have to hope that Pavelec is sharp if they are going to be able to make a comeback.
Situations like this aren’t ideal, but tonight it had to be done.