The New York Rangers will play against the Carolina Hurricanes in the play-in round after the NHL announced that the league will move to a 24-team playoff format. For Henrik Lundqvist, this could be a shot at redemption after being superseded on the depth chart by the likes of Igor Shesterkin and Alexander Georgiev.
Most likely, the playoffs are Lundqvist’s last chance to regain the throne in New York after the team announced he’ll have a chance to compete for the starting job. Let’s dive into why Lundqvist should be given the nod against Carolina in the five-game series of the qualifying round.
Career Against Hurricanes
One can say Lundqvist has done a considerable amount of damage when competing against the Hurricanes. The 38-year-old Swede is 33-12-1 in his career against Carolina. That record alone should tell you how dominant Lundqvist is against the Hurricanes. But, his dominance doesn’t end with just wins and losses. He compiled a save percentage of .934 and a goals against average of 2.00.
It’s pretty clear: Lundqvist has an amazing track record against Carolina throughout his career.
More importantly, Lundqvist blew Carolina out singlehandedly in three appearances in the 2019-20 season. He went 3-0 against the Hurricanes this season with a .947 save percentage and 2.33 goals against average. It’s obvious Lundqvist is comfortable playing the Hurricanes, so his track record against them is a good point to be made when considering him for the starting job once the playoffs come around.
Lundqvist saves his best games for the playoffs. It’s as simple as that. His playoff statistics alone should give him consideration for the starting position in any situation, let alone the start of the series against Carolina. In his career, Lundqvist has started in 115 playoff games and has accumulated a .922 save percentage with a 2.28 goals against average.
What’s more, this netminder shines when the lights are brightest. There is an argument to be made that there may be no better goalie than Lundqvist in the last decade regarding Game 7 performances. In eight Game 7 appearances, he holds a 6-2 record and boasts a .958 save percentage. The statistics show Lundqvist can perform when the pressure is greatest. There is an immense amount of pressure in a win-or-go-home five-game series against a good team in Carolina. Lundqvist has the experience and the statistics in the postseason to take on the Hurricanes.
The Last Dance
Not many Ranger fans expected that this would be the end to Lundqvist’s brilliant and long-tenured career in the red, white and blue. A suspension of the 2019-20 season leading to an unprecedented Stanley Cup playoff bracket might take the cake for one of the most surreal things to happen in the history of NHL.
But, it could be the storybook finish for a Rangers’ legend that all fans dreamed of. Lundqvist has won the Vezina Trophy along with five All-Star appearances. He’s captured a gold medal playing in the Olympics for Sweden. He has broken franchise regular season and playoff records. The netminder has done it all on the ice for New York. The only thing missing is his name etched into the Stanley Cup. Lundqvist deserves this final shot at a Stanley Cup as he has been the backbone of the Rangers’ franchise since his arrival in the 2005 season.
“The King” will most likely not be wearing a Rangers uniform after the completion of the 2019-20 season. That’s the reality. It’s time for the organization to give Lundqvist his last shot at the starting goalie position for the only Rangers against Carolina.
Sophomore journalism major at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Business director and play-by-play broadcaster for WMUC Sports. Former intern for the Anton Media Group.