In A Crucial Game 4 Loss, Every Ranger Is To Blame

Brandon Sutter beats Henrik Lundqvist (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Brandon Sutter beats Henrik Lundqvist (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

In as close to a must game win they’ve had this series, the Rangers managed to cough up the puck 25 times. 

Every Ranger in the lineup had a case of the yips or brain lapses in coverage. Even Henrik Lundqvist had his 4th bad performance of the playoffs.

Yes, it seems impossible but this is the 4th time Lundqvist has registered a save percentage under .900.

Lundqvist 2014 Playoff Stats (ESPN)

Lundqvist 2014 Playoff Stats (ESPN)

Whether it’s the pressure he puts on himself or the pressure of playing behind one of the more frustrating offensive teams in the league, Lundqvist has had some struggles in the post season.

Last night, he was beaten under the pads just 2 plus minutes in by Evgeni Malkin. To be fair, Stralman coughed up the puck and the Rangers all lost their coverage assignments, but  Malkin had no angle. Lundqvist just wasn’t set on the play and NY was down 1-0.

Of course, 1-0 should not be insurmountable for any NHL team in the post season. Hagelin did tie it, but in the final minutes of the second period the Rangers power play finally did them in.

Rick Nash, the poster child of NYR offensive ineptitude, made a terrible decision that led to another turnover. Brian Gibbons picked it up for a breakaway, he lost the puck right at the top of the crease. Ryan McDonagh was inexplicably late getting back and got a birds eye view of Brandon Sutter roofing a shorthanded goal over a helpless Henrik Lundqvist. It was an absolute killer.

Jussi Jokinen would score a pinball shot in the third to make it 3-1. Marc Staal turned his leg to the shot and deflected it past Lundqvist who over anticipated the play and started to move across the crease.

Mats Zuccarello would score on a great individual effort short side on Fleury to cut the deficit to one. Not too long after, Chris Kunitz was left all alone in the slot by Marty St. Louis and beat Lundqvist short side as well.

After the game, Brad Richards held a close door meeting for over 10 minutes. Every Ranger interviewed looked stunned and embarrassed. Henrik Lundqvist looked angry and frustrated. Most likely with himself, but also his team. Not once this post season have they picked him up when he was down.

Like Shakespeare’s said in Henry IV, “Heavy Lies The Head That Wears The Crown.”

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Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore