Statistically speaking, Lundqvist off to another slow start

Lundqvist disappointed (NHL)

Lundqvist disappointed (NHL)

Before the season started, I analyzed Henrik Lundqvist’s starts to each of his previous 11 seasons. Looking at his first 10 starts, I raised the red flag that those numbers were below his career stats 7 out of 11 years. After two games this season, statistics indicate it’s about to be 8 out of 12.

A Cause For Concern?

Coming off the heels of a lackluster 2016 World Cup Tournament where Lundqvist stopped only 137 of 152 shots faced for a paltry .901 save percentage, I raised an eyebrow. He followed it up with an even worse preseason where he turned aside 44 of 49 shots for a .897 save percentage, that when combined with the WC is an even .900.

Now, after 2 regular season starts his record stands at 1-1 with a very un-Lundqvist like 3.03 GAA and .870 SV%. Wow!

The King for his career has a 2.28 GAA coupled with a .921 SV%. These stats are significantly better to his first 10 games stats which are 2.45 GAA and 914 SV%. These numbers may get worse unless Henrik can string a couple of “Carter Hutton like” games together.

The Reality of Those Stats

If you’ve watched every minute of the first two games, you may say he isn’t playing well. To be fair to those who would say that, only 1 of the 6 goals against was down a man. That means he’s allowed 5 at 5v5, which isn’t very good.

The Rangers were flat for 5 minutes in the third period against the Islanders where they allowed two, so you can blame the team as a whole. Last night, they got a bad break on Tarasenko’s goal, but realize it wasn’t a breakaway that beat him. Matter of fact, Henrik was out a little to far and got beat short side. That’s a save Henrik makes in March.

Below is a video I did to silence Girardi haters on Twitter, but you can see what I am talking about.

The Stats vs. Reality

The numbers for Henrik are not good after two games. I also don’t believe they will get worse over his next 8 starts. In reality, he is tracking the puck well and his reaction speed is there.

That was obvious late in the third against the Islanders when he stopped Cizakis point blank on a rebound. If anything, he is only going to get better as his game sharpens up. So to make this more of an issue after two games is pretty nonsensical.

Bottom line, Henrik does have a history of struggling to start the season. Usually it has more to do with his positioning and how he attacks plays than anything to do with physical ability. Henrik will be fine, but it sure does look like another slow start.

Lundqvist's 1st 10 games of his career (FullTilt NYR)

Lundqvist’s 1st 10 games of his career (FullTilt NYR)

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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