It really annoys me now a days to see people talk about what a good goalie is in today’s NHL. Some people (mostly trolls) say Henrik Lundqvist is a regular season goalie and not a playoff goalie. I don’t know where people get these kind of ideas from because on the surface how poor is Henrik Lundqvist in the playoffs? His playoff record is 15-20 and he has a 2.60 GAA and a .909 save percentage, as well as 3 shutouts. Those numbers are pretty average if you ask me and not bad considering the teams that Henrik had to single handedly carry to the playoffs. To be fair the highest seed the Rangers ever were in the playoffs was the 5th seed in 2007-08.
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Those numbers Henrik Lundqvist posted over his career in the playoffs if shown over a full season would not be as bad and would look pretty average compared to other goalies. The lack of success for Lundqvist has to do with two issues. Those issues are the defense playing in front of him, and the lack of goal support.
The defense in front of Lundqvist up until recently has been pretty pedestrian at best. For a while there Lundqvist was playing behind Marek Malik and Michal Roszival. Not exactly the two most reliable defensive players. Then there were other guys like Tyutin, Strudwick, and Paul Mara. Really average defensive players. Now Henrik has guys like Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Ryan Mcdonagh, and Michael Del Zotto to play behind. The defense in front of Lundqvist isn’t much of an issue anymore.
Then comes goal scoring. Every playoff series the Rangers lost after 2006 can be blamed on goal scoring. Let’s look at how many goals combined the Rangers scored in all 7 of their playoff series since the lockout. 80 goals in 36 games. That comes out to 2.22 goals scored for the Rangers. That’s pretty good considering they were shutout in 6 of those 36 games. This season the Rangers have been shutout 5 times in 61 games. Simply put, in the post season offense is harder to come by but to have any sort of success you need to score goals no matter how good your goalie is.
This year I hope the Rangers can make a run to make people rest their doubts on his ability to play well for a contending team. For Lundqvist this year, he’ll have a great chance to win the Vezina and he probably will win it, but I don’t think in his mind winning that is a consolation for lack of playoff success. Lundqvist wants to win the Stanley Cup this year and I think anything short of that in his mind is an unsuccessful season. Needless to say the hopes of the Rangers winning that rests on his shoulders.
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