by Patrick Hoffman on 01/08/09 at 01:10 AM ET
It’s amazing how fast things can change for New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist.
One night, he makes 27 saves and shuts out the Pittsburgh Penguins and two nights later, he allows five goals in a less than stellar effort against the Montreal Canadiens.
In a game where the Blueshirts battled all night, it was Lundqvist who let them down.
Am I saying that the “King” is terrible? No. All I’m saying is that if Lundqvist would have played like the Lundqvist of old, this could have easily been a win for the Rangers instead of a 6-3 loss.
The first two goals he allowed were definitely his fault. On the first one, he got caught playing the puck behind the net, coughed it up and could only watch as Kovalev put in a Max Pacioretty feed to make it 1-0. On the second goal, Lundqvist allowed a long Roman Hamrlik shot to get away from him before Latendresse banged in the rebound.
Now, I realize that Lundqvist wasn’t the only problem for the Blueshirts in this game:
- Where has Nikolai Zherdev been? He’s coughing up the puck too much and is holding onto the biscuit for too long.
- Why is Aaron Voros in the lineup when Lauri Korpikoski should be in instead?
- Yes, there was an empty net but the Blueshirts have stilled allowed 13 or 14 shorthanded goals. Uhm, this is a problem.
- The team made Canadiens netminder Jaroslav Halak look like an all-star as he stopped 35 of 38 shots. This is what happens when you shoot the puck right into the goaltender.
Things won’t get any easier for the Rangers as they take on Buffalo Sabres Friday night in Buffalo and then head to Ottawa to take on the Senators on Saturday night.
Here’s hoping that Rangers’ backup goaltender Stephen Valiquette starts one of those 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.