Saturday, April 10, 2010

Edge: Lundqvist

I have been one of the principal nay sayers about this Ranger team and I still believe they are not a very good hockey team. They were poorly constructed by the Stealth GM and as equally poorly coached by their disagreeable coach. That said, they are one win away from a playoff game. The good news is that they have a chance to make the playoffs. The bad news is that they have a chance to make the playoffs.

The playoffs? A couple of weeks ago it was such a longshot that no one in their right mind would even mention it. However, a few good happenings changed that around. First of all most of the Rangers remaining games were against the dregs, the soft underbelly of the Eastern Conference. Then came the emergence of the fourth line especially tough guys like Prust and Shelley who did more than knock heads. Miracle of miracles, they stayed together as a unit, and their ice time and responsibilities increased. Then there is Henrik Lundqvist.

His stats put him around tenth or so in the goalie rankings. There are no rankings for clutch performances. He has won thirty or more games in each of his five seasons with the Rangers. That is an NHL record. He is the only goalie in Ranger history to have won thirty or more in five consecutive seasons. I often wonder what his record would be with a more solid and consistent defense in front of him? For the fourth straight year he was voted the team MVP

Lundqvist is a big time player and this is a big game. He shines in big games. Ask Brodeur. Before Lundqvist arrived on the scene Brodeur owned the Rangers. With Lundqvist's arrival the results have been a complete 180. This will be the biggest game of the season for two highly competitive franchises and big players rise to big occasions. There is no bigger occasion than win and move into the playoffs, lose and go for an early tee time. Henrik Lundqvist is a big time player.

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