In the past couple of days, a hot topic has been stirred among some hockey fans. Henrik Lundqvist‘s playing ability has been called into question. The most commonly used term to describe his play up till now is “luck.”
Luck, really? This is a man that has been the face of a struggling franchise for several years. He’s had to be compared to the likes of Rangers goaltending greats: Mike Richter, Eddie Giacomin, and John Vanbiesbrouck. This is a man who has played with mediocre players in the past, embracing the pressures of representing an Original Six franchise and a city that wants nothing but the best.
Since his rookie year in 2005, he is 30-37 with nine shutouts and a save percentage of .908. In this season’s playoffs, Henrik Lundqvist helped defeat the Philadelphia Flyers and Stanley Cup-favored Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games, respectively. For his career, he has five wins in game seven’s. That’s one more than Hockey Hall of Famer Patrick Roy. When he faced the Flyers, Lundqvist stopped 26 of 27 shots on goal, with a .963 save percentage in game seven of the first round. In Game seven against the Penguins, Lundqvist stopped 35 of 36 shots faced on goal, while having a .972 save percentage in a 2-1 win.
In these playoffs, he has a winning record of 10-6, with a save percentage of .934, while averaging a 1.93 goals against per game. He is currently 2-0 against the Montreal Canadiens, with a .952 save percentage. He’s faced over 60 shots only giving up three goals. He’s stared down countless attacks from the Canadiens. Watch this Youtube clip of the King staring down Canadien’s defenseman PK Subban in game one:
After game two, PK Subban gave his take on the King’s performance saying “…some of it is luck.” Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post reported that quote in an article he wrote on May 20. From Subban’s perspective, they tried as hard as they could to beat Henrik Lundqvist. Shot after shot was put on net, but they just could not find the back of the net. In my opinion, he was not calling Henrik Lundqvist lucky. He was complimenting the New York Rangers goalie for his stellar play, while getting some lucky breaks, in the process.
So does this make Henrik Lundqvist lucky to fans? Those within the New York Rangers fanbase have seen the rise of the King from his rookie year. He has single handedly taken over games, as he had in game two. It’s not luck, its skill. You don’t stop 40 shots on goal, by luck alone. If you think that, we agree to disagree. If it truly is luck, then I want what he is drinking so I can win the lottery.