Why Capitals' Charlie Lindgren Could Be X-Factor Against Elite Rangers Offense

Lindgren has propelled Washington into the post-season, never folding under the immense pressure of recent win-and-get-in contests.
Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers
Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Charlie Lindgren is a massive reason why the Washington Capitals are in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs and could be the club's x-factor to defeat the New York Rangers.

In his last three starts, crucial to the Capitals earning a post-season berth, Lindgren posted three wins, a .968 save percentage, a shutout, and allowed just three goals on 78 shots against.

His numbers against the Rangers are staggering. Ryan Lindgren's older brother dominated the sibling rivalry, posting a 2-1-0 record, 1.35 goals against average, a .955 save percentage, and allowed just four goals on 89 shots.

After winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2022, Darcy Kuemper brought his talents to Washington to help elongate the club's contention window. He signed a five-year, deal with a $5.25 million annual value.

With the core aging but still effective, it was believed that he could bring stability to the blue paint for the Caps.

Kuemper's tenure in D.C. has been less than ideal. In 90 starts, the 33-year-old netminder has a 35-43-10 and .899 save percentage.

feed

This season has been a struggle for the veteran surrendering 103 goals and clocking in an .890 save percentage to go along with a 3.31 goals against average. He has only started in three games in the last month. All of his statistics rank below the 50th percentile for goaltenders (h/t NHL Edge).

Lindgren was listed as the backup, split games with Kuemper by mid-season, and ultimately emerged as the starter in March.

To try and get the most out of their aging core of Alexander Ovechkin (38 years old), John Carlson (34 years old), T.J Oshie (37 years old), and Tom Wilson (30 years old), the Capitals had to start a keeper that was going to win hockey games.

The 30-year-old backstop has shut down the Rangers' elite offense before, pitching a shutout in one of his three outings against New York on December 9th. He will be faced against the same unit in the Eastern Conference Quarter-Final series.