New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist can’t do it all by himself. He needs help fast if the Blueshirts want to turn things around.
Help Wanted – A team of defenseman and forwards willing to play their position and skate with the puck! Some shooting on net required. Those interested send applications to Henrik Lundqvist.
How much more can a team ask from its goaltender?
How bad is it getting for this team?
On social media Monday afternoon, a picture was circulating. The meme was simple, “Rangers team photo” was the saying with one picture appearing. A single shot of Henrik Lundqvist.
It’s come to this realization for a struggling team. No matter how many one-goal losses the team has suffered, it would be much worse if Hank was not making a fantastic save after a phenomenal save after eye-popping save.
Lundqvist record doesn’t reflect how stellar he has performed this season. He is currently 10-9-5 with .914 save percentage and 2.07 goals against average.
In Sunday’s game against Vegas, the Blueshirts had no right to be as close as they were entering the third period, yet they were only one goal down as the third period began. Chris Kreider scored early to tie it and Hank did what he could to get at least one point out of it.
Saves like the one below is fun to watch, but can not continue if the team wants to start winning games.
Too many times, the team is banking that will Lundqvist stand on his head to get the job done. Where is the help? Where is the urgency to clear opposition players from in front of the net? How come there has bee. An overwhelming amount of odd-man rushes against?
These are all question most smart hockey fans are asking? Imagine what Henrik is saying behind the many masks he wears every game. Can’t be good, that’s for sure.
Following Sunday’s loss head coach David Quinn said it best of Hank’s recent play, via the official Twitter account of the Blueshirts.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 16, 2018
“Ridiculous how good he was in the first two periods.”
That is an understatement. The King has been making head shaking, OMG saves nightly.
But understand this: it won’t last. The pressure will cause Hank to crack. The team needs to address this now.
What can be done, some may ask? Well, I have a few ideas that couldn’t hurt.
1. It starts with the offense helping out the defense. Too many times, when a player comes towers center ice, the Rangers back up towards their own end. They need to attack the puck carrier. Force his to make a bad pass or to dump the puck In giving the Rangers a chance to possess the puck.
2. The defensemen need to stop taking so many chances in the offensive end. Trying to create offense is great. It needs to happen, but at the right time. The defensemen have been taking rush too early in games, which results in all the odd man rushes against. Be smart.
3. Speaking of the defensemen, the team has struggled mightily since the November 9-1-1 run. The game is fast but can be simple. The D-men have to have their heads on a swivel. Cover the men in front, stop leaving the opposition open for easy tap-ins and rebounds. OK, I’ll make it simpler using an old hockey term: Clear the net.
4. Fewer shots on their own net can be achieved by taking fewer penalties. The team is giving away to many power-play opportunities. Even when the opposition doesn’t score, they create massive momentum against. Stay out of the box and stop giving teams extra advantages.
5. Puck Possession and Shots. The Rangers need to shoot more. When they shoot the tend to score which means they are possessing the puck more which means? That’s right the opposition doesn’t have the puck. Yes, it’s that damn simple sometimes.
The hard part lies with David Quinn. He needs to get the boys playing as they did in November when the whole team was confident and felt invincible.
He needs to find that mentality again … and quickly.