Henrik Lundqvist's Greatest Weakness Heading Into the NHL Playoffs

John HartContributor IApril 13, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 09: Henrik Lundqvist #30 and Chris Drury #23 of the New York Rangers defend against Joffrey Lupul #15 of the Philadelphia Flyers on April 9, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Flyers 2-1 to gain a playoff spot. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers have done a complete 180 a few weeks before the postseason. They went from a puck possession team with a player friendly coach to an aggressive shooting team with a strict and demanding coach.

This new aggressive play involves the defensemen pinching in the offensive zone, and when this fails it leads to more scoring opportunities for the opposing team. Because of this, Henrik Lundqvist has had to stand on his head for the Rangers to make it to the postseason. 

Since John Tortorella has taken over, King Henrik has seen an increase in shots and odd-man rushes. This has pointed out one of Lundqvist's largest weaknesses.

That weakness is that he stands way too far in the crease, which allows opposing shooters to see more of the net and have a better target. The further out a goaltender plays, the more he will cut off the angle and have a far greater chance to make the save.

This was exposed in the Rangers' season finale against the Flyers. Jeff Carter took a wrist shot from the top of the left circle and was able to pinpoint it just above Lundqvist's glove.

Henrik was playing too far in the net for a shot that should have been played at the top of the crease. Lundqvist has great quickness and mobility from post to post and he should use this quickness to create better positioning and cut down the shot angles.

This may be a poor example to use because Jeff Carter has arguably the best wrist shot in the NHL behind the great Ovechkin. But if Henrik would have cut down the angle of Carter's shot he would have most likely made the save and kept it a 1-1 game.

I bring up Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals because they are the team the Rangers need to face in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

If "The King" plays the Capitals this way he may find himself in much trouble. The Capitals are a quick shooting team that will take any opportunity from anywhere on the ice, especially Ovechkin who takes many shots.

This style of play can be scary for a goalie like Lundqvist because he will be forced to use his limbs to make saves opposed to the core of his body like his chest. It will be quite the battle to see who is quicker, Lundqvist's post to post agility and quickness, or the Capitals fast moving, quick shooting style.