by Patrick Hoffman on 12/31/08 at 02:05 AM ET
While New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist might be one of the world’s top goaltenders, he certainly hasn’t played like it lately.
In the last nine games, he’s allowed 36 goals, which means he is allowing four goals a game, well above his career average of 2.33.
Furthermore, his goals against average for the season continues to rise (now 2.67) and his save percentage continues to drop (.908).
So what gives?
Ranger fans should be used to this by now as for the past three seasons, Henrik’s play has slipped right after Thanksgiving and then he gets his game back into shape by the beginning of February. With the way the team is playing right now, they can’t afford to have him play like this and try to work out the kinks.
With that being said, the team should not be afraid to throw Stephen Valiquette in net against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. In eight games this season, “Vally” is 4-2 with a 2.41 goals against average and a .920 save percentage. Let’s also not forget that back on December 17 against the Los Angeles Kings, he stopped 39 of 41 shots in a 3-2 overtime victory.
Remember, Henrik will be on top of his game again eventually but while he’s having some trouble, why not give Valiquette a chance to win the Blueshirts some hockey games?
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.