NHL Playoffs Predictions 2012: Henrik Lundqvist Must Lead Rangers to Victory

Jeff Chase@@Real_Jeff_ChaseSenior Analyst IIApril 8, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 04:  Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers puts his helmet on prior to the game against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on March 4, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

The New York Rangers saw a bit of a fallout from their goaltenders through the final stretch of the regular season, so they cannot allow that to continue if they plan on continuing to have success this postseason.

The Rangers led the entire Eastern Conference this past season in goals allowed, as they just gave up 187 compared to the second-best defensive team in the Boston Bruins, who let up 202.

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 31:  Martin Biron #43 of the New York Rangers tends net against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on January 31, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Rangers 4-3 in the shootout.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Ge
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The thing is, the team has been on a bit of a slide these last few games, allowing 14 goals in their last four games. They went 1-3 during that time, and while the team has the top seed locked up, they can't continue to allow goals like they were.

Henrik Lundqvist will continue to be the primary goalie for the team, but poor showings from Martin Biron should have the team concerned if they find a need to have him in goal.

Lundqvist has been solid all season long, allowing an average of just under two goals per game. His save percentage has been quite strong as well, saving 93 percent of the shots taken at him. Both numbers put him within the top five amongst goaltenders in the league, so there is no reason to doubt what he can do this postseason.

They will have to play especially strong against the Ottawa Senators, a team that got the best of them in three out of their four matches. 

In those matches, Lundqvist was in goal for three of them, allowing a total of nine goals. Biron was in there the last time, as he allowed four himself.

While that wasn't on par with their performances all season long, the Senators are the only thing standing between them and the next round.

Without a doubt, the team is going to need to see the strong performance he had most of the season, as recent numbers just won't keep the Rangers in the hunt for a Stanley Cup.

The Rangers have been a great team all season long, but it is no secret that their defense has been one of the keys to getting them here. 

Amongst all the teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Rangers rank seventh out of the eight teams in goals scored. If their defense, and especially their goaltending, is not up to par, they could find themselves in trouble in the early goings.

The team has all the pieces there, but they now need them to come through like they did all season long.