As Lundqvist Finds His Game, Rangers Start Winning

11/4/13 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Oct 16, 2013; Washington, DC, USA;  New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) follows the puck against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY SportsWhen you're a goaltender that has won 280 career games, a Vezina Trophy (also nominated several times), a Gold Medal and has done many other great things as one of the league's top goaltenders over the last eight or so seasons, it is easy to expect that things will always be great for this player.

That was not the case for New York Rangers' goaltender Henrik Lundqvist at the beginning of the season. Lundqvist was losing hockey games, allowing a lot of goals and as the team and its fans found later, was trying to play through an injury.

If you've been following Lundqvist since he first started with the Blueshirts in the 2005-06 season, than you know that he is usually a slow starter. With that said, this was a much different kind of slow start for Lundqvist and the Rangers.

Not only was the team's defense was getting torn apart by opponents, but so was the "King". He was allowing goals that he usually stops and looked like a goaltender that could easily be beaten.

After sitting out two games last week because of his injury, however, things changed for the better. Not only had the Rangers' defense gotten better in the time that Lundqvist was off the ice, but Lundqvist came back and found his game.

In his three games since returning from injury, Lundqvist is 2-1, has allowed just three goals on 81 shots and picked-up a shutout. After getting off to a sluggish start, Lundqvist's season stats have improved greatly as he is now 4-5 with a 2.63 goals against average, a .914 save percentage and two shutouts.

One reason for this turnaround was easily the time off. Lundqvist needed time to heal whatever ailment that he said and also get refocused mentally so he could get back to being the team's best player.

Another reason his play has been better is because he is now making the big saves when his team needs them the most. While his club outshot the Buffalo Sabres 46-29 on Thursday night, Lundqvist made some key saves in both the second and third periods to keep it that way and preserve the victory.

Lastly, the team's defense has greatly improved over the last few weeks. They are doing a better job with coverage in their own zone, letting Lundqvist see the puck and clearing loose pucks, which is something they were not doing in the beginning of the season.

With Lundqvist on the verge to being on top of his game, the Blueshirts are in a good position to win hockey games and get back to being a contender in the Eastern Conference.

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