Today is Henrik Lundqvist’s 30th birthday. It’s hard to believe that the kid who arrived in New York as a 23-year old in 2005 has now hit the big 3-0. In honor of Lundqvist’s birthday, here are the 30 best moments in the professional career of #30:
#30: First NHL Game; Oct. 8, 2005. Lundqvist’s NHL debut was also his introduction to the Rangers-Devils rivalry, as well as playing against Martin Brodeur. Henrik held his own in his debut, stopping 25 out of 28 shots in a 3-2 OT loss. It would be the only time that Lundqvist gave up more than 2 goals in a regular season game against the Devils until the 2008-09 season.
#29: A Shutout Loss in a Shootout, Part 1; Oct. 20, 2007. This battle against the Bruins was memorable for a 1st period highlight reel save against Marc Savard. Lundqvist made 19 saves through regulation and OT, but was bested by Phil Kessel in the shootout.
#28: 2nd All Time in Shutouts in Rangers History; Feb. 1, 2012. In a goalie duel between Lundqvist and the Sabres’ Ryan Miller, Lundqvist made 34 saves through regulation and OT, but needed to stop four out of five in the shootout to get the win, including a goal line-glove save on Brad Boyes. Lundqvist’s shutout was the 41st of his career, placing him 2nd in Rangers history behind Eddie Giacomin.
#27: Win in Relief; Mar. 27, 2006. Trailing the Sabres 4-2 after 2 periods, Henrik entered the game in relief of Kevin Weekes. Lundqvist made seven saves in the 3rd period as the Rangers tied it, and stopped all three shots in the shootouts to give the Rangers a 5-4 win.
#26: Save on Ovechkin in OT; Apr. 20, 2011. Although the final outcome didn’t favor the Rangers, Lundqvist kept the game alive by robbing the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin on a breakaway chance.
#24: Keeping the Playoff Hopes Alive; Mar. 24, 2007. With less than ten games remaining in the 2006-07 season, and the Rangers sitting on the playoff bubble, Lundqvist made 40 saves in regulation/OT, including a highlight reel save on Aaron Ward in the 3rd period, to allow the Rangers to tie the game with under two minutes remaining, and ultimately pull out a win in the shootout.
#23: Starting The Season off Right, European Style; Oct. 4-5, 2008. For the first time in Rangers history, the team played regular season games overseas, and the Rangers won both games 2-1, with Lundqvist stopping a combined 38 out of 40 shots in the two games.
#22: The “King” Stops the “Kid”; Oct. 25, 2008. In a divisional game between the Rangers and Penguins, the Rangers scored with 8.1 seconds in regulation to send the game into OT. Lundqvist made 27 saves, and stopped all three Penguins in the shootout, including Sidney Crosby to seal the win.
#21: Giving an Assist; Jan. 5-11, 2011. In three games between January 5th and January 11th, Lundqvist had an assist in each game, tying an NHL record for consecutive games with an assist by a goaltender.
#20: A Shutout Loss in a Shootout, Part 2; Jan. 12, 2010. In arguably the best game that both Lundqvist and Martin Brodeur have played against each other, Lundqvist stopped all 45 shots he faced, but was beat by Patrik Elias in Round 4 of the shootout.
#19: Beating The Best; Jan. 2, 2007. In the first shootout matchup between Lundqvist and Brodeur, Lundqvist outlasted the future Hall of Famer in an eight-round shootout, including a glove save on the goal line to stop the Devils’ Jamie Langenbrunner and extend the shootout.
#18: Nothing By Him; Oct. 17, 2005. In only his 4th NHL start, Lundqvist picked up his first shutout in the NHL, making 23 saves and beating the Panthers 4-0.
#17: Keeping the Season Alive; May 1, 2008. Down 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Penguins, Lundqvist stopped all 29 shots he faced, including a penalty-shot save against Evgeni Malkin to lead the Rangers to a 3-0 win, and force the series to a fifth game.
#16: Standing Tall in a Losing Effort; Apr. 11, 2010. In Game 82 of the regular season that was virtually a one-game playoff, Lundqvist made 46 saves in Philadelphia to keep the Rangers in the game, but the Flyers ultimately moved on to the playoffs with a win in the shootout.
#15: Difference Maker; Apr. 18, 2009. Despite being dominated by the Capitals in Washington, Lundqvist made 35 saves, including highlight reel saves on Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in the closing minutes to preserve a 1-0 win, and a 2-0 series lead.
#14: Getting Past New Jersey; Apr. 18, 2008. After going 7-0-1 against the Devils in the regular season, the Rangers and Lundqvist continued their mastery over the Devils in 2007-08, finishing the Devils season with a 5-3 win in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Lundqvist made 23 saves, and stopped John Madden on a penalty shot with seven minutes remaining in the 3rd period.
#13: Making the Playoffs in Style; Apr. 9, 2009. In the 2nd to last game of the regular season, Lundqvist made 37 saves, including one of the top five saves of his career, a lunging glove save on Daniel Carcillo, to give the Rangers a 2-1 win over the Flyers, and clinch a spot in the 2008-09 playoffs.
#12: Under the Radar; Nov. 26, 2005. In a game that will always be remembered for Marek Malik’s between-the-legs goal in Round 15 of the shootout, Lundqvist made 35 saves in regulation/OT, and stopped 12 of 15 in the shootout to help the Rangers get the win.
#11: Capital Punishment; Apr. 22, 2009. Despite being outshot 39-21, the Rangers were able to pull out a 2-1 win in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, with Lundqvist making 38 saves, many of them worthy of the highlight reel.
#10: Getting Past the 1st Round; Apr. 12-18, 2007. After a rocky introduction to the NHL playoffs in his rookie year, Lundqvist rebounded in his sophomore season, picking up his 1st playoff win, 1st playoff shutout, and 1st series win in a four game sweep of the Thrashers, only allowing six goals in the four games.
#9: Going Home Again; Sep. 30, 2011. Before opening the regular season in Stockholm, the Rangers played Lundqvist’s Swedish Club team, the Frolunda Indians. Wearing the “A”, and hearing chants of “Hen-ke”, Lundqvist made 32 saves and the Rangers defeated Frolunda 4-2.
#8: Linsanity? Try Lundsanity; Feb. 14, 2012. With New York headlines buzzing about Jeremy Lin, Lundqvist quietly played one of the best games of his career, stopping all 42 shots in a 3-0 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins.
#7: Nothing Crosses the Line; Mar. 9, 2008. For the 2nd time in the 2007-08 season, the Rangers and Bruins played for 65 minutes without a puck going into the net. Lundqvist made 29 saves, including back-to-back saves while sprawling on the ice, and followed it up by stopping all three Bruins’ attempts in the shootout to get the win.
#6: Sibling Rivalry; Dec. 14, 2007. In the first game that Henrik ever played against his twin brother, Joel, Henrik stopped 43 shots, and led the Rangers to a 5-2 win over the Stars. After the game, Henrik admitted, “I was nervous every time he (Joel) was out there.”
#5: Nothing Like Your First; Oct. 13, 2005. With Kevin Weekes sidelined with a groin injury, Lundqvist’s 2nd NHL start resulted in his 1st NHL win, stopping 20 shots in a 4-1 win over the Devils.
#4: One For the Ages: Oct. 18, 2011. After starting the 2011-12 season 0-2-1, Lundqvist turned in a performance for the ages. Despite being outshot 40-19, and 28-9 through two periods, Lundqvist stood tall against the vaunted Canucks’ offense, and led the Rangers to a 4-0 win.
#3: A “Classic” Win; Jan. 2, 2012. In the 2012 Winter Classic, Lundqvist turned in an exceptional performance, making 34 saves, including a dramatic penalty shot-save against the Flyers’ Daniel Briere with 19.6 seconds remaining in the 3rd period to give the Rangers a 3-2 win.
#2: A “King” is Born; Oct. 15, 2005. In his 2nd consecutive game after taking over for the injured Kevin Weekes, Lundqvist made 28 saves and electrified the MSG crowd in a 5-1 win over the Thrashers. With the crowd starting to chant “Hen-rik”, Lundqvist acknowledged them with a wave, and the first use of the phrase “King Henrik” appeared the next day, and the name has stuck with him since.
#1: The King is Worth His Weight in Gold; Feb. 26, 2006. In the greatest hockey moment Lundqvist has experienced so far, Lundqvist added to his great NHL rookie season by backstopping Sweden to the Gold Medal at the Winter Olympics, beating Finland 3-2 in the Gold Medal game.