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It's been a bumpy ride for Henrik Lundqvist since returning from Sochi.
He gave up 13 goals in his first three games back, including looking pretty awful against Boston, where he gave up six goals.
But then he held the Carolina Hurricanes to two goals on Friday and shut out the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. On Tuesday against the Hurricanes, Lundqvist was stellar, despite giving up three goals in a loss.
However, let's be clear. The 'Canes have the 20th-ranked offense, while Mike Babcock, the coach of the Red Wings, ripped his team's effort against the Rangers, telling Ansar Khan of MLive.com:
We weren’t competitive enough. You got to get yourself ready to compete. As a group we weren’t good enough. As the coach of the group you got to look at yourself; this was unacceptable.
Tonight, that wasn’t good enough, period. We had a good enough team here to play better than we did.
So what do we do with this? Is Lundqvist burned out from Sochi? Possibly. Alain Vigneault told Steve Zipay of Newsday that Lundqvist, along with Ryan McDonagh, needed some rest after the Olympics:
I saw Hank and Mac and after thinking about it after the game [Sunday's 6-3 loss to Boston], I felt both those guys have had a lot of minutes this year. Yes [Rick] Nash, Cally and Hags [Carl Hagelin] are all coming back from the Olympics, but they all missed some time because of injury and obviously Zukie's [Mats Zuccarello] hurt and Step [Derek Stepan] didn't play, so I just felt that those guys needed an extra day to totally recuperate, get away from the game a little bit.
The Rangers are in a pickle. It would be great to give Lundqvist a few more days off, and while Cam Talbot has been good, the Rangers need Lundqvist to make the playoffs. And if they do reach the playoffs, will Lundqvist have enough in the tank to make a deep run?
Still, given what we know since the Olympic break, we have to say that Lundqvist's stock is slightly up. He was terrific against Detroit and Carolina making the saves when necessary. We'll wait to see how the Olympics affect him for the rest of the season.