Down 3 games to 2 and facing elimination, the New York Rangers once again would put the burden on their star 31-year-old goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. What they got in return was one of the greatest performances by a goaltender in recent memory. Lundqvist shut out the Capitals in both game 6 and 7 propelling the Rangers into the second round of the playoffs again the Boston Bruins. Lundqvist shut down one of the NHL’s most potent offensive units at a time when the Rangers offense couldn’t buy a goal. Not only did his 120 minutes of shut out play save the Rangers season, but also made a statement that no one should sleep on the blue shirts. We’ve seen it before, hot goaltending can propel any team to the Stanley Cup finals. It happened last year with the Kings, who behind the dominant emergence of Jonathan Quick went from the bottom of the barrel as the eighth seed, to the king’s of the hockey world. With Lundqvist’s recent hot streak, this year could be the year that the Rangers finally make it to the Stanley Cup
for the first time since 1994. While many experts believe that the Rangers offense will be the key for this team, as long as Lundqvist can continue to play at the high level he is capable of, then the Rangers will be in every game. Looking at the other teams in the Eastern conference, there is no question that the Rangers have the elite net minder. Rask, with the Bruins, is a very talented goaltender, but he is very inconsistent. One night he can turn in a shut out performance, but the next game allow five goals. Don’t even get me started with the Penguins. My god, sieves have fewer holes than Marc Andre-Fleury. Despite Thomas Vokoun’s performance, after replacing the incumbent Andre-Fleury, against the Nw York Islanders; he is a glorified backup that still hasn’t been tested. Sure he’s played two great games, but can he really keep up his performance against the Senators? Then the Senators, jeez talk about a revolving door between the pipes. They switch goalies so much I can’t even keep track anymore. Listen, I’m not saying it will be an easy road for the Rangers, because it never is, but the way King Henrik is playing and the recent resurgence of the dormant offense, this could finally be the year that the Rangers get back to the Stanley Cup Finals, and the year that King Henrik finally receives his crown.