From Ranger Rants:
“It certainly hasn’t changed our thinking in what we have in Lundqvist,” said Tortorella, who met with Lundqvist on Sunday before the Rangers departed Minnesota on their ice-storm delayed trip home. “He is our No. 1 guy. It hasn’t turn into Marty play well so now we’re going to alternate the goalies back and forth. It’s not happening.”
Simply put, Tortorella said, Lundqvist will play Wednesday night at Tampa Bay as the Rangers open a three-game road trip but he wants to give Lundqvist extra time to work with goalie coach Benoit Allaire to fight through some inconsistencies that have cropped up in his game.
“It’s not a big deal,” Lundqvist said after staying on the ice after this morning’s skate for about an extra hour to work with Allaire. “I’ll get some practice and Marty played well the other night. I don’t want to make a big deal out of it. Today we worked on the little things. It’s just about repeating stuff. I don’t want to be selfish. It’s about the team. Marty played well the other night and won. I think I can be more consistent.”
Biron made 26 saves in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Minnesota. Tonight marks his seventh start and the second time he’s started consecutive games this season, though the first back-to-backs, Nov. 11 against Buffalo and Nov. 14 against Edmonton, were due to Lundqvist feeling under the weather. Tortorella said Lundqvist is not dealing with any health issues.
“I think my game is right there, I just need to be more consistent,” said Lundqvist, who’s made 15 starts. “It’s about making better decisions. It starts in your head. A week ago I had a good game in Pittsburgh (a 3-2 overtime victory last Monday). Your technique doesn’t go away like that. I just need to make better decisions. As a goalie, you make two bad decisions and it’s two goals. You almost have to be perfect to have a good game.”
“He went from Pittsburgh where we had no chance if he didn’t play the way he played to a couple of inconsistent efforts and that’s gone on a little bit this year and Hank understands that,” Tortorella added. “We had a great conversation yesterday.”
That said, starting Biron tonight was not the original plan and it’s a combination of Biron’s play and Lundqvist’s.
“It’s the way (Biron) played and it also gives us, with a team having problems finding ice to practice with our schedule, it gave Hank a day to practice during the morning skate, when he just went on the ice at Minnesota,” Tortorella said. “It gives him two more days. Hank has been inconsistent, he realizes that. It’s a good thing here that we have a backup that’s played well. It gives us a chance to give Henrik to more solid days of practice with Ben. Hank is playing in the Tampa game, Hank is our No. 1 goalie. This gives us a chance for him to regain some of his technique with Ben and it affords us that opportunity in the way Marty has played. So that’s a good thing.”
Pressed, Tortorella was very sensitive to make sure - by repeating the theme often - that Lundqvist is definitely the franchise goalie and Biron the capable backup.
“I don’t think we went into the season thinking we’re going to sit (Lundqvist) and not allow him to get into a flow, that’s not our plan,” Tortorella said. “This isn’t a 1, 1A. Hank is our No. 1 guy. He’s going to play the bulk of these games. It’s not a two-goalie system here. We haven’t gone into this part of the schedule that Hank isn’t going to play these games. It has to do with some of his play, too. It’s changed a little bit with the inconsistency in his game. But do I understand we need to get Hank on a roll? Absolutely. He has to be the backbone of this team if we’re going to get where we want to be.
“It could come down to that,” Tortorella said about ultimately playing Lundqvist through some inconsistent stretches. “I believe Hank is going to get his game together and this is going to be a non-subject. But right now, we have a guy that’s playing pretty well and it allows us to give Hank some practice time to get himself going. Hank’s our No. 1 guy, there’s no question there. We’re going to ride him.”
Tortorella also tired to be sensitive to the fact that Biron is playing well.
“(Lundqvist) is going to be fine and if we’re go anywhere it’s going to be with him,” Tortorella said. “I’m not running down Marty, either. Marty’s been an important part. It’s a good situation for Hank now and for Hank and the team later.”