I found the following photos on Facebook. They seem to be taken from Aaron Voros, however I don't know if he put them out there or if they were leaked. They are similar to the photos Voros and Sean Avery used to post on their Twitter accounts. Dan Girardi appears in one of them and the Rangers team doctor in another.
Here is some more of what Henrik had to say on break-up day courtesy of Rangers Report:
“This year is the first time I’ve felt, you’re not going to have that many opportnities. I’m getting older. I’m still 29, but you also realize, to get a great team together—you need some bounces too, to get there—that’s what I’m talking about, when the opportunity’s there you need to grab it. As you get older you realize you really need to grab it because you don’t know when it’s coming next time. But, hopefully I have another 1o years. I don’t know. I don’t know how long I’ll play. But we have a good group here. Yes, we need to improve, but it’s a start and we’ll see what happens over the summer. A lot of contracts are up. We’ll see how the team’s going to look next year.”
I asked him if the prime of a career of a goalie starts a little later, or lasts a little longer, than a skater’s prime.
“I don’t know. We’ll see if I get better or worse. No, I think if you look at other goalies, yeah, a lot of guys, they improve as they get older because you learn the game better, you learn how you work as a person, because such a big part is the mental part. And when you realize that—not realize, but you get smarter, how you approach games, how you approach the pressure, just being able to mentally be in a good place. I don’t think you get better technically as you get older. I don’t think you get faster. I don’t think I’m faster now compared to when I was 22. But mentally, I think I’ve grown, so I think that’s the biggest part.”
I assured him that I had covered a few goalies who got dumber as they got older.
He cracked up. “I get smarter. I don’t know about your goalie buddies.”
On getting married:
“Getting older. I’m growing up, I guess. It’s time.”
Said he would take a few days to decide on World Championships, though there were reports last night that he wouldn’t play.
Then the same guy started asking him restaurant questions. Unlike Avery, and typically like Lundqvist, he gave some straight answers, even though he didn’t look comfortable talking about his new side business.
Forty-nine saves over more than 92 minutes and this is what Henrik Lundqvist got for it. The puck was basically stolen from him by his own teammate, Marian Gaborik, hurtling back clumsily on defense. Then it was hitting Jason Chimera in the chest and rolling behind the goalie onto the stick of Chimera in front of an empty Ranger net for the game winner.
How fair is that? Lundqvist had fought cramps, dehydration, fatigue, a veritable siege from Washington's mighty forwards. And it was all gone with one messy clearance, a miscommunication and a flick of Chimera's stick. Game 4, which had belonged so definitively to the Rangers, was now an aching memory, a 4-3 loss in double overtime and a 3-1 series lead for the Caps.
"A nothing play that turned into something big," was the way John Tortorella would describe the misplay.
Huge, and utterly demoralizing.
Standing in front of his locker, Lundqvist looked drawn, drained, spent. Nobody could have done more to rescue his team. The goalie even stopped Alex Ovechkin, glove-side, on a clean breakaway in the first overtime period.
Still, it wasn't enough to turn back the onslaught from the Caps, or the collapse by his own teammates. The Rangers had a three-goal lead and the world at their skates Wednesday night, 20 minutes to play in regulation. They let it all fall apart for them in an untidy heap.
"We had a tough time getting pucks out and paid for it," Lundqvist said. "They're a dangerous team and can make some plays. We tried to regroup after the third period. It was so frustrating tonight. Right now, it's painful."
The whole series spun out, careened and crashed in that rapid-fire third period, when the Capitals finally remembered they are the uber-talented No. 1 seed in the East facing an opponent that wasn't eligible for the postseason until Tampa Bay beat Carolina. You can only pull the jersey over their eyes for so long.
The unraveling happened so fast, it left the Garden fans reeling, silent and familiarly disheartened. One instant the Rangers held a safe three-goal bulge and the fans were happily taunting Caps' coach Bruce Boudreau with, "Can you hear us?" Mere minutes later, Washington was lighting the goal lamp as if it were the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
Everybody knows the Capitals have the offensive stars to strike swiftly. Their shots have sting, and Ovechkin is a hulking, speeding menace. Yet the Rangers had held their own for most of two home games, neutralized Ovechkin, and seemed to have matters in hand.
Washington has more than one big horse, however, and came storming back at the start of the third period, pouring shots on goal until Alexander Semin scored at 2:47 and Marcus Johansson struck almost immediately after at 3:44.
There were loose pucks, missed assignments. Tortorella called a smart timeout immediately, tried to calm things down. But by then the Rangers were very much back on their heels and the Caps smelled panic. Washington buzzed relentlessly around Lundqvist until Johansson scored the tying goal at 12:07 from in front of the net.
Matters appeared fairly hopeless at this juncture, as the game headed into overtime. The Caps continued to carry play, cycling perilously inside the Ranger zone. The Rangers hung in there by a thread. They dumped the puck. They backchecked. They waited for something good or bad to happen to them.
The game went on like this, with the Caps looking very much like a team that would leave the Garden with a decisive victory. In the end, they did. One more Ranger mistake, and it was over.
Poor Gaborik had nearly been a hero, before he became the go-to goat. It had been a full month since the team's designated scorer had scored a goal for the Rangers - an astounding drought for the $7.5-million-per-year right wing who had amassed 42 goals during the 2009-10 season.
Then in the second period Gaborik waited by the crease, took a pretty backhand pass from Ruslan Fedotenko and deposited it into the net for a two-goal lead at 13:40.
Fate would not leave it at that. Gaborik was last spotted knocking a puck into Chimera that he should have allowed Lundqvist to handle.
"We'll be fine," Tortorella insisted.
Lundqvist only knew he'd have trouble sleeping Wednesday night.
NEW YORK -- It had already been a brutal, hard-fought, wildly seesawing game that saw the New York Rangers leap ahead by three goals, only to see the Washington Capitals claw back in the final period of regulation to get even with a three-goal outburst of their own.
Now they had all dragged each other into one overtime, then another, and the main reason the Rangers were still in this game at all was because their best player, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, was playing better than Washington's best, Alex Ovechkin.
Then the game -- and probably the Rangers' chances in this razor-close series -- were over almost faster than Lundqvist could process how it happened:
Another save. A fall forward to smother the puck to stop play. Then a surprise rap on his glove hand as a teammate, Marian Gaborik, went to poke the puck away and instead knocked it right to Capitals forward Jason Chimera. He slapped it into the net from a foot away to send the Rangers spiraling down to a crushing 4-3 double-overtime loss and -- worse -- a 3-1 series hole that they seemed a lock to avoid three periods earlier, back when the Madison Square Garden crowd was loudly mocking Ovechkin's missed chances and chanting Washington coach Bruce Boudreau's name for some insults he'd made about the self-proclaimed Mecca a few days earlier.
Henrik Lundqvist could only stare at his own goal in disbelief, after the Caps scored in the second OT to win Game 4. "I don't know what happened [on the last play]. ... I'll have to look at it," a dazed Lundqvist said. "I went to freeze the puck ... nobody was there ... then it was in the back of the net. But that's how it happens in these kinds of games."
This sort of heartbreak was not the ending that Lundqvist deserved -- not after dramatically stoning Ovechkin on a clean breakaway in the first overtime and playing through cramps that kept seizing at his legs; not after taking a shot smack in the face that snapped his head back and broke the grill on his goaltender's mask just a few minutes before Chimera's game-winner in the second overtime.
Now, instead of tying this series at two games apiece, the Rangers have two days to ponder how in the world they can come back from this kind of loss by the time Game 5 arrives on Saturday afternoon in Washington. The Rangers lost Game 1 in overtime, too. But this was worse. Much worse. After this one, the Rangers knew they had only themselves to blame. Mistakes or turnovers led to three of Washington's four goals. The only cheap one Lundqvist surrendered came when the puck trickled out from under him in the crease as he was waiting, hoping, praying for a whistle.
"I don't know ... it's just really frustrating, it's painful ... it's just, just so tough right now," Lundqvist said, exhaling heavily.
He faced 53 shots, all told, and he looked exhausted, disgusted, too tired to even think. Another wave of questioners came at him. Same questions. Same answers.
"Ahh ... it's just so tough right now," Lundqvist repeated with a groan. Then, finally mustering some more fight, he added: "Yeah, we're down 3-1. But it's not impossible."
Impossible to come back? No.
Highly unlikely? Yes.
If the Rangers do go on to lose this series, their inability to hold onto the 3-0 lead they seized in the raucous second period on Wednesday night will haunt them even more than the particulars of Chimera's goal -- which Gaborik, by the way, never appeared in the Rangers' locker room to discuss.
The Caps' Boudreau didn't skate a shift, of course, but his disparaging remarks on Monday about how playing the Rangers at Madison Square Garden just isn't that intimidating hung over him like an anvil with every goal the Rangers buried in the net to pull away to their early lead. Two of the Rangers' second-period goals came in the stunning span of seven seconds, and one of them was by Gaborik, his first in a 13-game span stretching back a month. By then, the Rangers' fans had moved on from the "Boudreau s----" chants they showered him with at the start of the game to even louder sing-song chants of "Can you hear us? Can you hear us?"
Given Washington's recent history of bad playoff flops, the Capitals would've been hearing footsteps in the back of their minds, too, if the Rangers had just been able to tie this series. Last season, the Capitals were the top seed in the East, same as they are now, and lost to the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadians. The season before that, they blew a 2-1 series lead against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now here they were, facing an eighth-seeded Rangers team that had needed help to squeak into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season. Had they lost, the flop sweat would've been back, all right.
All that talk from them about how this season was going to be different -- different season, different team -- would've also been used to mock them in the tense wait for Saturday's game to arrive. The Rangers would've had momentum. They would've been able to lean on good memories, such as the sight of Lundqvist stopping Ovechkin on that one-man breakaway. Had they won, they would've been able to keep talking about how they might not be as talented as the Capitals but their resiliency and toughness were so far paying off.
Instead, what they left the ice with after 92 minutes of teeth-rattling, backbreaking hockey was this: More heartbreak heaped atop the rest. More than Lundqvist deserved.
"Yeah, it's tough to think now about how can we come back," Lundqvist admitted. "But we don't have any choice."
New York Rangers' first chance in the Stanley Cup playoffs are on Henrik Lundqvist. Goalkeeper fill up with meticulous preparation in the form of silence, solitude and a long shower. - To determine how well I play, "he says. "You should have the same feeling whether it's a goal or a rescue." The idea is that Henrik Lundqvist use to describe what mental strength means to him.
More than a phone call from the hotel room in Washington says the goalkeeper for the TT on the process to achieve the right feel for the game after game during the long season in the NHL.
"When I was younger it was just to go out and play, but the older I become the more I started thinking. Now I am very particular about my preparations and try to have a clear head when it's time for the match, "he says.
-Then it is all very different. Our second goalie, Martin Biron, talking out of the place and it is only with one minute left as he gets ready.
Henrik Lundqvist's path is much longer than that.
Even when he wakes up, the idea is set for tonight's match and one hour into the afternoon intensified preparations.
-When I listen to music, resting and relaxing. While I go through what is good for my game, how to keep the gloves, how to touch me, the basic position should be, "he says.
With two and a half hour before face-off Lundqvist arriving to the arena in a suit and step into a noisy dressing room that is filled with adrenaline fueled opponents of the New York Rangers.
"I'm not a sound when I come. If anyone asks or says something so they often just some sort of nod back, "he says.
After the goalkeeper has collected thoughts over a 20-minute showers, becoming the procedure of taping the sticks while he listens to music with big headphones that will not allow any sound from the outside world bother him.
- There is no Lattjo, laughter or football heating with the others on the team, but I do everything alone. The only thing that applies to me is the match and the more important the match is even quieter, I am, "he says.
When Henrik Lundqvist then, is the first New York Rangers player who puts the right skate on the ice and takes a few quick cuts to the first objective is the preparation overall.
The mental strength has made him one of the NHL's top goalies. After 82 rounds of the series because he was alone with eleven zeros, and was also featured in the top of all columns for goalie stats.
Now it is very up to Lundqvist, the first playoff round against Washington should stop - which is home audience knows about.
Before Sunday's match, when New York Rangers reduced to 1-2 in games, yielded 18 200 spectators Swede a massive welcome by chanting his name. - There is great pressure on us goalkeepers and it's no secret that we have to play well for the team to have a chance to win, "he says.
TT: What would it mean for you to win the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers? "It's a dream, a big dream. Getting the win with New York would be great. But there is no objective - that is to win the next game. I will not look too far ahead.
So do Henke Lundqvist: For each match uses Henrik Lundqvist of the same preparation. Even on the ice, he practices. So here he says of his habits:
He is the last player to leave the locker room, but is first out on the ice. "The same routine that I've had since I jumped into the playoffs with Frölunda when Petter Rönnqvist injured."
He hits the club twice in the ice, once a right-pole and two on one benskyddet. Then he cranks arms two laps, stretching one leg and sliding towards the goal area of staring into the ice. "There are procedures that I use about four times a week in the game. It's nice - but not the whole world if I do just so."
During breaks he rests his arms against the shin and staring into the ice. "I collect ideas. Collectables force. Will the same thoughts as before a game. Since it does not take many minutes until everything is on edge again.
Thank you to reader Ritva for sending me this interview.
NEW YORK. Someone is trying to tell Henrik Lundqvist to calm down. “Easy, Hank!”. The sports bar in midtown Manhattan is filled with 20 heavily pumping hockey hearts. The Swedish one is beating fastest. The New York team has gone straight from the shower after the 5-2 win against New Jersey, out to town, to powerlessly watch their playoff destiny being decided. 21.45 the same evening the Rangers aren’t powerless anymore – Stanley Cup preparations begin and nobody is telling King Henrik to calm down.
It’s on the day one year after the loss in Philadelphia that SPORT-Expressen goes for a walk with the dog together with the Swedish goalie star. Back then, this interview wouldn’t even have been possible. Henrik Lundqvist was hardly contactable. Now he can summarize “one of his best seasons ever” while he’s walking in shorts and a hat with dobermann Nova on the leash. Lundqvist talks about the rematch with Washington Capitals in words like “we have a better chance now than two years ago” and that “there is no clear favorite in the east”. The Rangers got into the playoffs with the smallest possible margin. After a loss in the second last game, not only a win against New Jersey was needed, but playoff-certain Tampa Bay had to defeat Carolina Hurricanes. On the tv screens in the sports bar, Lundqvist could see it all turn out perfect.
“it’s good for me to get challenged” “We are closer to Washington this year. They have more talent than we do, that’s undeniable. We have to play at our top to have a chance. We have to have 20 guys that go for it. But we work hard and that’s how we’ve defeated many teams,” says Lundqvist. It’s the Rangers and Lundqvists fifth Stanley cup playoffs in six years, but this year it’s more because of him than before. Without his league-leading eleven shutouts, the Rangers would definitely not have come near a playoff spot. Still, this was the first season that he got pointed out as the weak link during a loosing streak by coach John Tortorella. “Let us be honest, our goaltending hasn’t been there. Absolutely not at the level it should be at this point of the season,” Tortorella said to the stunned press in february. “We have played good hockey. I think we would probably have gotten five of these six points with decent goaltending."
“He has demanded more and more, that’s probably true,” says Lundqvist and laughs loudly. “We’re getting to know each other better and better. We’ve had some meetings during the year they have been... we have been quite honest to each other.” - You to him too? “I try... I think it’s good for me to be challenged. He is a person that pushes you.” - What was the sound level during those meetings? “The sound level...”, repeats Lundqvist and laughs secretly. “When there’s potential, he wants to get the most out of it. It’s just about being able to handle that, to deal with it the right way.”
Before the season, the plan was to relieve the star goaltender so that he would not have to play 70 games like before, so he could be fresher during the playoffs. But with his backup Martin Biron injured, the season ended just like they use to. “On the other hand, when it’s so close in the end like now, you want to play,” says Lundqvist and makes clear that he is not worn out. “This is probably the first year when no injuries are bothering me. Just small things, like a shot on the knee and a stiff neck for a while. You feel such things for four, five days. Other years I’ve had problems that lasted longer.” Injuries that weren’t reported before the playoff adventure ended and that made Lundqvist miss the World Championships. Of course you can’t help but wonder, but anyone who has tried to ask someone with a winner mentality like this man about WC right in the middle of the hot playoffs knows that the answer could just as well be a good right (as in a fist). Lundqvist hates to talk about WC. “It’s though with WC. Everyone wants a season that’s as long as possible. WC goes against your goals. You want to win – to play WC means you lost. But when you can swallow the loss and get over it, WC is actually a fun experience. You get to see new cities and new team mates.”
- You got engaged during the season. Has that effected you in any way? “No, I don’t think so, but the last year I’ve felt that I’ve started to get older, mentally. You start to think about things you want to have in life. Things you want to do. I don’t look at things the same way as when I came here. I was 23 then, now I’m 29 – will turn 30. Of course you start thinking, and it was ready to take the next step in life.”
For the next step in his career, it’s about getting past the second round in the playoffs. On that subject, his view is exactly the same as when he came to New York.
A very big thank you goes to reader Anna for sending me the translated version of this interview.
You’ll call it Tiny’s and the Bar Upstairs, a precious little five-hole in the wall from the Warren 77 team (including Sean Avery and Henrik Lundqvist) that’ll handle intra-office lunch dates, fireside cocktail congregations and postgame Rangers locker room spillover, opening Friday and taking reservations now.
"It's going to be very exciting," said Henrik Lundqvist, who backstopped Sweden to a gold medal at the 2006 Olympics. "I heard some talks about it for the last few weeks, and to go to Sweden and play a couple of games, maybe even go to Gothenburg (for a preseason game) if that's going to happen - that's my hometown (and home of Frolunda, the team Lundqvist played for in the Swedish Elite League from 2000-05) and that would be very special."
“It’s the same feeling every year. You get anxious, nervous, excited. A lot of emotions going into the playoffs. I always put a lot of pressure on myself. But I hope I can help the team and make them feel confident and if I need to, just step up at the right time to be there for them. So we’ll see how we do.”
Is this his time of year?
”(Laughs). I like it. I liked going down the stretch the last month and a half. It’s been fun. A lot of intense games. And you just have to be on top of your game, otherwise it’s over real fast. So it would be a great feeling to have a good run. It’s been a while since we’ve had a good run in New York, so that’s what we’re working for now.”
On how he feels physically, after playing all those games since February and having had a few days off now:
“I feel pretty good. There’s no time to really … you know, if I would sit down and think, ‘Maybe I’m tired, maybe I’m not’ … but I don’t go there. There’s no time for it. And now, it’s so exciting to be in the playoffs. When you get out there tomorrow and feel the energy and excitement from the guys and the crowd, it’s not going to be hard to be ready to play.”
“Especially when you have a long run in the playoffs, if you have that—I’ve experienced it back home and a couple of years ago here—you might be tired, but when you go out there and feel the energy and excitement it’s like you can keep going forever, it feels like. Hopefully we can feed from that energy. I don’t think anybody’s tired right now and we shouldn’t be tired.”
On what he felt when the final buzzer sounded in Tampa’s win over Carolina Saturday:
“I think right after our last game, I kind of landed a little bit—‘OK, maybe it’s over, maybe it’s not.’ And then after that game, Tampa won, it’s like, ‘OK, it’s on again.’ For a few hours you’re like, ‘Maybe it’s over.’ You kind of let your shoulders down a little bit. But right after that (Tampa) game is over, I started thinking about tomorrow and about Washington and about what’s coming, what I need to do. So now it’s back to hockey 24/7 again and trying to do everything you can to get your game going.”
On sitting next to Drury as the team watched the Tampa game:
“They tried to calm me down, but it was tough. It was very tough. I’ve never been in that position before. You know, I just kept thinking about all the work we put down and what happened last year, being that close, and being that close again and just missing. It’s mentally really tough. It’s a great feeling when you realize you’re in and all the work paid off.”
“I think it was our turn, though, after what happened last year and the way we played. We should be here. We deserve to be here, and we should just grab the opportunity and try to do something good here.”
And Finally, this is probably where Henrik intensely watched the Lightning game:
Rangers like (grease) Lightning
The New York Rangers were Tampa Bay Lightning fans on Saturday night. A source at the Ainsworth tells us that practically the entire team, including Brandon Prust, Mark Staal and Steve Eminger, gathered at the Flatiron District sports bar with friends, family and fans to watch the Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 6-2. The Florida team's win ensured the Broadway Blueshirts would have a spot in the NHL playoffs. Our insider says that when Tampa finally triumphed, the fans lined up to congratulate our hometown puckheads, who were "jumping up and down" with excitement.
ShareThis I apologize for the late postings tonight. I've been having some major issues with my internet connection recently and (so far) they have been rectified after, oh, speaking to about four different people from my internet service provider, but I digress..here are some quotes from Henrik and about Henrik that I found interesting from tonight:
From Rangers Report:
"If we’re in, I’m going to be the happiest guy in Manhattan, that’s for sure. We’ll see.” - Henrik Lundqvist during his post-game interview.
From Ranger Rants:
Captain Chris Drury just conducted a teleconference and reported that a “significant portion of the guys got together” to watch the Lightning beat the Hurricanes, 6-2.
Drury apparently sat next to Henrik Lundqvist as the team watched the game.
“Watching that game next to Henrik is something I never want to do again,” Drury said. “It was pretty intense. We’re happy to move on to the playoffs.”
The Rangers’ MVP, voted on by the New York Rangers media, was awarded to Henrik Lundqvist. This is the fifth consecutive year that Lundqvist has won the award, which marks the most consecutive years an individual has been named Rangers’ MVP.
Lundqvist Lundqvist currently leads the NHL in shutouts (11), and is tied for sixth in the league in wins (35), time on ice (3,886:47), save percentage (.923) and goals against average (2.27). Lundqvist is the only goalie in NHL history to post 30-or-more wins in each of his first six seasons, and the first Rangers goaltender in team history to post six straight 30-win seasons.
Lundqvist's 11 Shutouts for the Rangers Place Him Among the Team's Elite; 33 Bottles of Cabernet
By MIKE SIELSKI
GREENBURGH, N.Y.—During a drill at practice last week, Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky stood in the crease and took two whacks at the puck before sliding it under goaltender Henrik Lundqvist into the net. Dubinsky raised his arms and yelled, "Yeah! Woo!" Lundqvist slashed at his ankles.
Minutes later, after Dubinsky fired a wrist shot and Lundqvist whipped his left arm upward to glove the puck, Dubinsky stick-tapped him on the pads and said, "Nice save." Lundqvist, still raw over the exaggerated celebration, didn't respond.
"I complimented you," Dubinsky said to him later in the dressing room, "and you act like a [bleeping bleep] about it."
In truth, Lundqvist doesn't dislike his teammates; he just can't abide allowing goals, even in practice. "A little competition never hurt," he said.
But if dealing with a flash of frustration from Lundqvist is the price of playing in front of a goaltender capable of carrying them to the Stanley Cup, the Rangers long ago learned to live with such small sacrifices.
He is finishing off the finest of his six seasons with the Rangers—one that stands among the best of any goaltender in the franchise's 85 years. His 11 shutouts lead the NHL and are two short of a team record that was set in 1929. His .923 save percentage is the highest of his career. He has started the team's last 24 games, a streak that began in the first week of February.
In fact, Lundqvist could turn out to be the most important player in this year's Eastern Conference playoffs, for his excellence could counteract the Rangers' main weakness: They struggle to put the puck in the net.
Of the 16 NHL teams that were playoff-eligible through Monday, only six have scored fewer goals than the Rangers, who were tied for sixth place in the East. "I shudder to think how poor their record would have been without him," analyst and broadcaster Bill Clement said.
So Lundqvist looms like a specter for any potential playoff opponent. After all, the term "hot goaltender" has become a cliché in the NHL this time of year, so frequently have teams advanced thanks to outstanding performances from their goalies. "It's a huge factor," Rangers forward Ryan Callahan said, "and in the room we have the utmost confidence in him."
Three times already, Lundqvist has been a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league's best goaltender. He would seem assured of being a finalist again this season, though he pointed out two factors that have helped his candidacy.
First, because teams generally have become more defensive-minded over the last few years, Lundqvist said, they "try to create offense from nothing," throwing the puck on net from all angles, forcing goaltenders to make more saves but not necessarily more high-quality saves.
Lundqvist's theory is correct. Over the last decade, both the average number of shots attempted per game and a goal-tender's average save percentage have increased slightly, according to Stats Inc., a firm that tracks statistical trends in sports.
Second, the Rangers are fourth in the NHL in blocked shots. "That's always great for a goalie," Lundqvist said, "when you know the team is going to be there for you."
As a show of gratitude, Lundqvist has bought three bottles of red wine for his teammates after each of his 11 shutouts this season. ("Usually a nice Cab," he said). The Rangers hold raffles to determine who will take home each bottle. Lundqvist, whose contract with the Rangers pays him $6.875 million annually through the 2013-14 season, estimated that he has spent close $2,500 this season on Cabernet.
"I joked about having to sell one of my cars to afford all the wine," he said.
Despite those goalie-friendly trends and his teammates' contributions, Lundqvist, 29, remains the star by which the Rangers steer.
He is their best and most recognizable player, employing a style of play "unique to him" and wielding the tools of his trade to their greatest advantage, said former NHL goaltender Kevin Weekes, who backed up Lundqvist for two years in New York.
He stays deep within his net, relying on his reflexes to stop the puck instead of moving out of his crease to cut down any shooting angles. It is a demanding, almost arrogant way to tend goal, as if Lundqvist were challenging his own athleticism. "It's almost as though he thought he couldn't get scored on," Weekes said.
Two years ago, Lundqvist began wearing a more flexible catching glove that helped him control the puck better; his old one was so stiff that the puck often bounced out, as if the glove's pocket were the face of a tennis racket. He straps his pads to his legs in such a way that they rotate when he drops into a butterfly-like stance, allowing him to seal off any shot along the ice.
"There's nobody in the NHL better at taking care of the bottom 16 inches of the net than Henrik Lundqvist," said Steve McKichan, a former NHL goaltending coach.
Even a bad night for Lundqvist reaffirms how vital he is to the Rangers' fortunes. In a 6-2 loss to the Islanders last Thursday, for example, Lundqvist surrendered five goals, and head coach John Tortorella pulled him from the game after the second period.
It was the last of three consecutive losses by the Rangers—a late-season slump similar to the one that cost them a playoff berth last year. Yet Lund-qvist's postgame wardrobe alone refuted any suggestion that his confidence might have been waning. He emerged to answer questions clad in a black pinstripe suit and a belt with a silver "H" for a buckle.
"You just have to move on,'' he said.
Three days later, in a 3-2 victory in Philadelphia, Lundqvist stopped 32 of 34 shots, keeping the Rangers in control of their playoff fate.
Only one Rangers goaltender, Mike Richter in 1994, has won a Stanley Cup in the last 70 years, and the team has reached the playoffs' second round only twice in Lundqvist's career.
For a goal-tender who has won an Olympic gold medal and two Swedish Elite League championships, the lack of a long NHL postseason run seems a stark blank line on his resume.
"That's why you play," he said. "You want to be there one day, just to bring the Cup to New York."
Also at practice today, Henrik Lundqvist’s twin brother, Joel, a former Dallas Star who played in Sweden this season but whose team did not make the playoffs, was watching practice. He’s in town this week and said he’d love to return to the NHL, though he has another year on his contract in Sweden. Joel Lundqvist said the past two seasons have been difficult because of injuries.
Lets hope Joel becomes a good luck charm of some sort for the Rangers and they finally clinch that playoff spot tomorrow.
* Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to improve to 35-26-5 overall with a 15-13-4 mark at home. He is 10-3-1 with a 2.05 GAA, .933 Sv% and three shutouts in the last 14 games, and is 17-8-2 with a 1.95 GAA, a .945 Sv% and six shutouts when facing 30+ shots.
From Rangers Report:
“Probably the biggest win of the year, I would say. The way we come back, how important it is right now.”
“They felt so fast and strong in the first period. Thats two different games. It changed to much. You almost got the feeling there’s no way we’re going to win this in the first period. But then halfway through, you know, momentum changed a little bit. After we got the first one we start to think, maybe. We got a good feeling here. The building started going. And when we got the third one, they stopped maybe a little it mentally. When you look at the goals, it was just battle, in front. It as great to see.”
* Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves through regulation and overtime, and stopped two of two shootout attempts to improve to 34-26-5 overall with a 20-13-1 mark on the road. He is 9-3-1 with a 1.97 GAA, .935 Sv% and three shutouts in the last 13 games, and is 16-8-2 with a 1.91 GAA, a .947 Sv% and six shutouts when facing 30+ shots. Lundqvist improved his career shootout record to 37-24 with a .768 save percentage (182 saves on 237 shootout attempts), and is 7-3 in shootouts this season.
“Oh yeah, it did enter my mind, and I had a little flashback there waiting for the shootout,” said Lundqvist, who made 32 saves during regulation and overtime, and stopped both shots he faced during the shootout. “But I think I learned a little bit from last year, so I tried to stay in the moment and be focused on what I have to do and not on the consequences. Last year I was thinking too much about if I don’t make the save then we are out (of the playoffs). Now it was just make the save.”
“It’s always a great feeling to come in here and win,” said Lundqvist. “Plus there was a lot of pressure on all of us today to respond in a good way, which we did. Now we’ll enjoy it going back to New York and then get ready to do it again against Boston (Monday).”