Lundqvist and Price set to battle it out for NHL supremacy

Price v Lundqvist 2014 Olympics JEAN LEVAC / POSTMEDIA NEWS

Price v Lundqvist 2014 Olympics JEAN LEVAC / POSTMEDIA NEWS

If you ask anyone around the NHL who is the best goalie in the business today, you will get two different answers. Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price. These aren’t the two best goalies in the NHL, they are the two best goalies in the world. Each has a Gold Medal from the Olympics but neither has a Stanley Cup…yet.

The last time these two faced off, it was early in the season when Montreal was red-hot. It took a Rangers turnover midway through the game to turn the tide in what would eventually be a Canadiens 3-0 win. That marked the 5th win of the year for Montreal as they they started the season 9-0. Carey Price won 7 straight before falling to Vancouver on October 27th.

On the flip side, that loss brought the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist’s to 3-2. Since these two teams last met the Blueshirts have only lost 3 times in 16 games and only one loss in regulation. Montreal on the other hand has gone down 6 times (4 in regulation) in the subsequent 17 contests.

Price vs. Lundqvist Head to Head

Carey Price 11-5-1, 1.75 GAA, .943 SV% and 7 Shutouts

Henrik Lundqvist 14-14-2, 2.67 GAA, .903 SV% and 2 Shutouts

The majority of the damage to Lundqvist has been at the den of horrors known as the Bell Centre in Montreal. His record there is 4-7-2 with a 3.68 GAA and a miserable .882 SV%). However,  Lundqvist shook that record off and played outstanding hockey in 2014 to oust Montreal from the Eastern Conference Final.

Lundqvist won the opening two games at the Bell Centre and only allowed 3 goals on 63 shots. His 40 save performance in game 2 was vintage Lundqvist and let Montreal know that the “ghosts” that have haunted him before were for the time being…exorcised.

To be fair, he has lost his next 3 starts in Montreal (GM 6 2014 ECF, 1 last year and 1 this year), but this game will be played at the Garden and the advantage is back in the King’s court.

It’s All About Style

Price in his preferred attire. - The National

Price in his preferred attire. – The National

Actually if it was about style, Henrik wins hands down because Carey Price will tell you he’s more comfortable in a flannel shirt and jeans then a suit. No, we need to discuss goaltending style and there is no better place to do that than at inGoal Magazine.

[su_quote cite=”inGoal Magazine” url=””]The most obvious difference in this gold-medal rematch from the 2014 Sochi Olympics is where the two goaltenders play, with Lundqvist famously back on his goal line and Price refusing – stubbornly at times over the years – to back up beyond the top edge of his crease.[/su_quote]

For the most part, this holds true today but we have seen Lundqvist come out little more and even be uncharacteristically aggressive at times. His new skates and lighter pads have him looking more explosive then ever this season as he continues to make jaw-dropping saves an almost nightly occurrence.

Henrik Lundqvist GQ

Henrik Lundqvist GQ

Same goes for Price, who continues to amaze with his level of play. When these two last met in Montreal’s early October 3-0 win, both men had high praise for each other as did author, Paul Campbell.

[su_quote cite=”Paul Campbell – inGoal Magazine” url=””]The elite level of their counterpart’s performance wasn’t lost on the men of the moment, either. Lundqvist admired Price ruefully: “I knew I couldn’t give up too many goals to have a chance to win here tonight. I lost count of how many times we’ve been shut out in this building [….] For some reason he likes to play us.” Price was unabashed in his praise of Lundqvist: “He was awesome. That was a spectacle. He put on a clinic out there; I really like watching him.” If these teams and goaltenders can compete with such quality and intensity so early in the season, imagine what they could bring to a playoff series. Cross your fingers.[/su_quote]

So tonight, Lundqvist and Price will have a rematch. Fans of the game and especially those of goaltending will have a great showdown. Ultimately, you can see these two are on a collision course for greatness this year.

One of these two men will likely have to do the impossible. That is outclass a goalie that has already outclassed so many others. If one of these goaltenders wants to sip champagne from the Stanley Cup this June, it just might come down to that.

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

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