Henrik Lundqvist is still your #1 goaltender
In today’s polarized political environment, let me put a spin on it in Rangerstown. Henrik Lundqvist is still your #1 goalie. Yup, The King is still The King in Rangers net. I don’t care how well Alex Georgiev has played, if the playoffs started tomorrow and the Blueshirts were in it, Lundqvist would be manning the pipes. End of story…no ifs, ands, or buts.
There is no question that statistically and even using the eye test, Georgiev has been the better goalie. That has more to do with Lundqvist’s steep drop in starts than his age, because he doesn’t look slower to me. I will grant he has had a couple of on ice gaffes in recent starts, but that’s not a physical issue, it’s a mental one.
“It’s just different,” Lundqvist said. “For so many years, you’re in a certain flow and you just play. You knew you were playing. The last year and a half, it’s been different. I’m still trying to adjust to it.”USA TODAY
So what’s the deal?
At this time last season, Henrik Lundqvist started 6 more games than he has to date. This may seem insignificant but that’s a lot more rest and time in between contests than what the veteran is used to seeing. And if you want to compare his 2018-19 stats to today it goes as follows:
2018-19: 25 Games, 10-10-5, 2.88 GAA, .909 SV%
2019-20: 19 games, 7-7-3, 3.13 GAA, .912 SV%
As you can see, there isn’t a major statistical difference but the uptick in his GAA overshadows that fact he’s making more saves. A lot of that has to do with the defense in front of him sometimes.
Quinn’s Words Matter
While Larry Brooks is writing about an unspoken changing of the guard and other blogs are following suit, I haven’t forgotten what David Quinn said at the start of the season and as recently as this week.
During the Rangers Town Hall to start the season Quinn said Hank is the face of the franchise but a reduced workload will help him and the team. Georgiev will be given more games and with Shesterkin in Hartford the team is in good shape. He said that he wants Henrik to have a good season, not just a good first half like last year. And when asked about his goaltending heading into the game against Toronto, Quinn stated he wasn’t worried about Lundqvist.
So for everyone thinking they are watching Henrik becoming a backup before their eyes, I am here to tell you how wrong you are. Next season is the year you can say there’s a change with Shesterkin taking the reins from the King. As of today, with Georgiev starting and all, I am here to tell you:
“HENRIK LUNDQVIST IS STILL YOUR #1 GOALIE.”