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Rangers Bounce Back With Three in a Row

Henrik Lundqvist (Frank Franklin II/The Associated Press)

Henrik Lundqvist (Frank Franklin II/The Associated Press)

One week ago, the New York Rangers were getting set to face the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden. The squad had just lost two straight games to Toronto and Montréal after a five-day “bye.” Up until this point in the season, Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist had been struggling, posting the worst numbers his twelve-season career had ever seen. He had a 2.72 goals against average with a measly .907 save percentage. 12:34 into the first period, Lundqvist would surrender the first of seven tallies in just 40 minutes of play. Lundqvist was yanked before the start of the third period, replaced with Magnus Hellberg on loan from Hartford.

Rangerstown spent the next day and a half having an existential breakdown. Lundqvist is almost 35-years old and his window to win the Stanley Cup has been closing quickly. After dropping three in a row, in a big way, it seemed as though that window had slammed shut for good.

Thursday evening, Lundqvist stopped 23 out of 25 shots in a 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto. As a team, the Rangers played a much better game, playing defense more cohesively, and helping “The King” return to form.

Apparently, Thursday’s win was just what the doctor ordered as Lundqvist shutout the Red Wings in Detroit on Sunday afternoon. Lundqvist turned aside all 21 shots faced in the Rangers’ 1-0 overtime victory. Despite complaints about the ice conditions at the Joe Louis Arena, the Rangers’ defensive corps came through when needed, as did Lundqvist. The shutout was his second this season and 61st of his career. It was also his 20th win of the season, making him the first goaltender in NHL history to record at least 20 wins in each of his first twelve seasons. So far, we have a couple of bounce-back games and more records in the book for Lundqvist.

On Monday night, the Rangers played host to the Los Angeles Kings. The Rangers’ struck first despite recording only two shots on goal. Heading into the second period, the Rangers were up 2-0. Early in the second period, Kings’ forward Jordan Nolan snapped a 22-game scoreless streak, registering his third goal of the season. Nolan’s tally also ended Henrik Lundqvist’s shutout streak of 107:34 dating back to the end of the second period on Thursday in Toronto. Mats Zuccarello picked up what ended up being the game-winning goal in a 3-2 win, his first tally that was not an empty-netter since November 15. Lundqvist turned aside 36 shots faced. The Rangers combined for 25 blocked shots, their third-highest total this season (the two other games with highest blocked shots totals were also 3-2 Rangers’ victories).

Since last Tuesday’s score-fest with the Stars, Henrik Lundqvist is 3-0 with a 1.32 GAA and .956 save percentage. The King now has 395 career regular season wins, good friend twelfth all-time, six more than Dominik Hasek, and six less than Chris Osgood. It’s nice to see him performing like his old self again, but he has been largely subpar this season.

It’s no secret that Lundqvist has been struggling this season. But the reason such a goaltending problem is fit for this King is because if anyone is going to bounce back and help guide the Blueshirts into and through the playoffs, it will be Henrik Lundqvist. He is known for his fierce competitive nature, work ethic, and determination to be the best he can be. At the same time, several Rangers’ skaters have admitted to needing to perform better as well. Perhaps last week’s chaotic matchup against Dallas was a wake-up call for the Blueshirts.

But, if we can learn anything from last week, it’s not to be too short-sided in evaluating the season. Last week, the sky was falling. The last few days, there has been a glimmer of hope shining on Broadway – this group is resilient, both within games being down on the scoreboard and in the bigger picture, having a short memory after losses. Last week’s loss against Dallas was the first time the Rangers had a three-game losing streak all season. After the All-Star break, the sun could be shining bright over Rangerstown, or another storm could hit. Hopefully, the former occurs.

It’s also important to note that the last three Rangers’ wins were against three struggling teams on the cusp of missing post-season action. Then again, these past three games could be confidence boosters for the Rangers who sits comfortably in a wild card spot with plenty of time left in the season to move up the ladder (or not, depending on who one would prefer they face in the first couple of rounds).

Regardless, things are looking up for the Rangers. For their sake, hopefully the All-Star break has the opposite effect on them that the five-day bye week did. With Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich, and Matt Puempel back in the lineup and Marc Staal soon to follow, the Rangers will be coming down the stretch looking to secure all the points they can. In doing so, they will need to support their goaltender, and the goaltender will need to make the necessary saves to support his skaters. Seeing a pattern here? Every Ranger must do their job if the Stanley Cup is to be in their sights. In the toughest division in the NHL this season, the Metropolitan Division, there is little to no room for error.

After the All-Star break, fans can find cheap New York Rangers tickets available from  Those driving into the city can also find cheap Madison Square Garden parking options from ParkWhiz, along with several other options for NYC parking.

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Evan is the Hockey Editor for He provides coverage of the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers, as well as some league-wide content.

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