3 Changes Henrik Lundqvist Must Make to Get N.Y. Rangers to Cup Final in 2013
Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers were two games away from going to the Stanley Cup Final; however, their dream was shattered when Adam Henrique of the New Jersey Devils scored the game-winning goal in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Even though it was a heartbreaking defeat for Henrik Lundqvist, he still had an incredible year.
In 62 games, Lundqvist won a personal-best 39 games while posting a 1.98 goals-against average and save percentage of .930. He also recorded eight shutouts.
Since then, he has had a good offseason as well. First, he won the Vezina Trophy. Then, a few weeks later, Henrik and his wife welcome into the world Charlise Lundqvist, the couple’s first child.
Even though Lundqvist had a great regular season, “King Henrik” should make a few changes. If he does, the Rangers have the potential to make it to the Stanley Cup Final and the ability to hoist the Stanley Cup in the 2012-13 season.
3. Handling the Puck
One of the weaknesses in Henrik Lundqvist's game is the way he handles the puck, or lack thereof. While it is not a necessity in the NHL to have a goaltender who is great at handling the puck, it would be a nice added bonus for the Rangers to have.
Currently, he seems to be aware of this glaring weakness in his game. He only seems to play the puck when it is necessary for him to do so.
If he is able to improve this aspect of his game, it would put a lot less pressure on the young defensive core of the Rangers. It would also help limit opponents from setting up in the offensive zone.
2. More Aggressive Attitude
For most of his career, Lundqvist has been a very quiet person, a role model for many young fans of the New York Rangers. However, from time to time he has shown an aggressive side.
It is tough being a goalie, especially with players swinging a stick at your body for a loose puck or bumping in to you (accident or not) to get position in front of the net.
It’s good for a goalie to let everyone know that he is not going to back down from anyone. Personally, I love seeing a goalie take no nonsense from anyone.
Most recently, we’ve seen the aggressive side of Lundqvist in this past year’s playoffs. After a hard-fought victory against Ottawa in Game 6, we saw Lundqvist's fiery attitude both on and off the ice.
I truly believe that with those actions the Rangers rallied around their goaltender and helped secure a Game 7 victory against a pesky Ottawa team.
With Lundqvist being the anchor of this team, if we see more of aggression out of him, I think it will fire up the players around him, which will lead into even more success for the Rangers.
1. Improve on Protecting the High-Glove Side
Blue Seats Blog points this out as the biggest weaknesses in the game of Henrik Lundqvist. Throughout the playoffs, we saw each team try to take advantage of this weakness. Sometimes it worked.
As explained in the scouting report for Lundqvist, high shots from in close to the corner seem to victimize him the most. However, those shots for most goalies are tough to stop.
If he can improve at this aspect of his game, he will be even tougher to score on, and this can be the final piece needed for Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers to break their Stanley Cup woes and finally be able to hoist the Cup in June.