I’ve mentioned this a couple of times over the last week or so: Henrik Lundqvist has been working hard. He’s played in every game but one since the Olympics, he started in the Olympics, and he’s started 19 of the last 20 Rangers games overall.
So it’s safe to say he’s been busy, but Larry Brooks of the NY Post is reporting that coach John Tortorella is going to try to get him a game off this weekend. Which game will he miss: Friday night’s game against the Lightning or Saturday’s game against the Panthers? Also, it’s too early to tell what effect the news that the Tampa ice has turned into Tampa’s pond will have on this.
More from Larry Brooks :
"Which game [should he sit]? The Lightning have greater scoring threats in Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis, but the Rangers, who enjoyed a day off after flying down following Tuesday’s 4-3 victory on the Island, will be rested for that one. The next night, the Panthers will be the rested team.
"Earlier in the season when seeking to give Lundqvist a night off, Tortorella appeared to set his rotation in back-to-backs in order to give the Rangers their best chance of getting at least a split, rather than going all in for a shot at the sweep
"When the Rangers were here on Nov. 27, one night before playing the Penguins in Pittsburgh, Tortorella went with Lundqvist against the Lightning and gave Steve Valiquette the start against the reigning Stanley Cup Champions.
"The plan went to pieces, however, when Lundqvist was shelled and pulled in a 5-1 defeat, one night before Valiquette was routed in an 8-3 defeat that marked his final start as a Ranger.
"The next back-to-back scenario in which the coach sought to give Lundqvist a breather developed on Jan. 6-7, after neophyte Chad Johnson had replaced Valiquette as the backup.
"Again, Tortorella went with Lundqvist in the opener behind a fresh team, this time at the Garden in a 5-2 triumph over the Stars. Johnson then made his first NHL start a night later in Atlanta, losing a 2-1 shootout decision.
"On Jan. 16 on the road against St. Louis, it was Johnson in net, absorbing a 4-1 defeat. The following night, Lundqvist led the Blueshirts to a 6-2 victory at the Garden over Montreal."
Thoughts: Brooks obviously wrote this before we found out that a blown compressor could wreak havoc in Tampa. It's possible that Lundqvist could get his rest if the game is forfeited or even just delayed, but until they officially make a change we have to assume they will find a way to play. So finding a way to get Lundqvist a rest and keep a competitive team on the ice is important.
Personally, I think the Rangers would be better off with Lundqvist sitting out against Tampa and play him against the Panthers. While the Lightning have a better offense, it is really only slightly better. The Lightning have scored 201 goals, while the Panthers have scored 197 in one less game.
The difference is the Lightning have allowed 14 more goals. Because they are slightly worse defensively, it could give Alex Auld a better chance to come out on top.
We’ll see if this is even an issue at all, but the Rangers have been leaning on Lundqvist pretty heavily lately. They need to make sure he won’t break.
What are your thoughts? Is it a bigger risk to burn Lundqvist out or sitting him?