New York Rangers: Is Henrik Lundqvist Holding them Back from Winning?


Two Observations As To Why Henrik Lundqvist Is The One Holding The Rangers Back From Winning The Stanley Cup.

Those of you who know me, know I am one of Henrik Lundqvist’s biggest fans. So before you decide I have completely lost my mind, hear me out.

Henrik Lundqvist is known for being the soul carrier for the New York Rangers. A team is only as good as their goalie, right? Most Ranger fans will agree no one deserves the cup more than the King of New York. Why you may ask? Because he gives 100% to the blue-shirts every time he steps out on the ice. Every save he makes is meticulously calculated to stopping the puck. The ones he doesn’t save, those visibly pain and disappoint him.

Henrik has won countless awards and trophies for his efforts but the one he is missing is a Stanley Cup win. It’s the last title on his career list to complete his legacy. He has come so close to winning but why has it not happened yet?

It’s Henrik Lundqvist’s own fault.

Henrik Lundqvist is just too good at what he does and he’s passionate about how he plays. That passion is what drives him to constantly to give his all. Because he works so hard, the rest of the team mentally has it in their minds that Henrik will cover them. The Rangers have gotten too used to him correcting their mistakes or lack of play.

Observation #1 – Blocked Shots Are Key

New York Rangers
New York Rangers /

New York Rangers

The proof hit me in Game Four against the Washington Capitals. The amount of blocked shots from the Rangers was 7 compared to the 25 from the Caps. That number to me represents the amount of times their players quickly moved in to stop the puck from even reaching the goalie’s crease. Blocked shots are key in the following ways.

1) Reduces the risk of a puck bouncing into the net by accident, either off a stick, post or player.

2) Relieves pressure on the goalie and allows him the time to effectively track where the puck is.

3) A shot blocked from a forward can cause the puck to exit the zone resulting in loss of momentum for the attacking team. This then forces them to regroup.

Game Three’s only goal was a result of a puck bouncing off the stick of Rangers defenseman, Keith Yandle. A blocked shot early on from someone closer to the blue-line could have resulted in the puck exiting the zone: Eliminating the scoring chance and causing the attackers to regroup.

Yandle also should have allowed Lundqvist to do his job. Had Yandle’s stick not been in the way, I am convinced Lundqvist would have been able to stop the puck with a glove cover at his skate.

Observation #2 – Goalie Faith

When Henrik Lundqvist was injured at the end of January and had to take two months off, Cam Talbot stepped in as starting goalie. It didn’t take long to see that our back-up goalie was more than capable of defending the net. Talbot ultimately helped the Rangers along the way to a President’s Trophy win.

"But was it really Cam Talbot’s excellent goaltending capabilities that got them through those games or was there a mental shift in the team’s faith in their goalie?"

The Rangers have always played better when faced with adversity. But is it possible that since they didn’t have Lundqvist, the team ultimately played smarter and more defensively? Did they lack faith in Cam’s ability to stop the puck? When Henrik is in the net I feel the team gets a little lazy, they have grown too dependent on Lundqvist’s unwavering ability to stop the puck.

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When Talbot was in net, the team may have had the mentality of, we better help him out. But when the King is in his throne, they may unknowingly relax more and not play as defensively as they should. Henrik Lundqvist may look and act like he’s got it all under control but even a King needs a break here and there. He can’t always be the only one giving 100%.

I feel the Rangers have fallen back in to last year’s old habits of depending on Lundqvist to once again, save the game. The team as a whole needs to regroup and ignite passion for the game within themselves to play smarter and more aggressively. Only if they truly want to win the Stanley Cup.

Now is the time for each Ranger to make some mental changes. Act as if they can not depend on Henrik Lundqvist to make the save. This will force the Rangers to keep the puck at the other end of the ice. And hey, while you are down there, shoot the puck…a lot! One is bound to go in at some point.

Next: Does Nash deserve all the blame?

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