Stanley Cup Playoffs 2012: Why NY Rangers Goalie Henrik Lundqvist Has Stepped Up

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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2012: Why NY Rangers Goalie Henrik Lundqvist Has Stepped Up
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It is only a matter of time before the night comes when Lundqvist’s number-30 is raised to the Madison Square Garden rafters, to eternally hang with the Rangers legends of the past.

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist continues to dazzle the hockey world and win the hearts of Rangers fans. The Swedish-netminder has been the heart and soul of this Rangers squad for years now but his stellar performance this postseason is only cementing his Hall of Fame resume.

At only 30 years of age, King Henry has already attained numerous individual accolades including setting the record for most consecutive 30-win seasons with seven.

There’s no doubt that Hank ranks among the league’s elite goalies, but until this spring Lundqvist was criticized for his lack of success in the postseason. He entered the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a mediocre 15-20 record in the playoffs while never advancing beyond the conference
semifinals.

However, Lundqvist has put those concerns to rest by allowing only 17 goals through the team’s first ten games (1.55 GAA), while stopping over 94% of opponents’ shots.

So what’s been the difference? Why has Lundqvist been able to elevate his game in the postseason after years of seeing his numbers decline when it counted?

Rest.

Lundqvist received a significant increase in his amount of days off this year, keeping him fresher for the games that matter most.

 

In the five previous regular seasons, Hank averaged over 70 starts per year but this season, mainly because of back-up Martin Biron, Lundqvist appeared in only 62 regular season games in 2012.

The Vezina candidate responded by recording a personal-best 39 wins, with career-lows in goals-against average and save percentage.

Looking back to the seven most recent Stanley Cup-winning goaltenders, none of them started more than 62 games in the regular season.

Henrik Lundqvist’s resume is already pretty impressive. The three-time All-Star has been nominated for Vezina Trophies, a Hart Trophy and in 2006 he led Sweden to a gold medal finish at the Winter Olympics.

 

Now it’s time for King Henry to bring the Stanley Cup back to Broadway.

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