What's wrong with Lundqvist?
With the Rangers currently sitting ninth in the Eastern Conference with 31 points, a lot has been wrong with the Rangers this season. The team has been extremely inconsistent, is once again struggling to put the puck in the net, has been horrible at home and cannot string wins together.
Normally, this wouldn't be a huge deal for the Blueshirts because Lundqvist would always find a way to get the team back in the thick of things and be one of the better teams in the league. Unfortunately for both Lundqvist and the Rangers, that has not been the case this season.
For starters, Lundqvist has fell victim to several soft goals allowed this season. This was exactly the case last Saturday night in the Rangers' 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden.
The Devils' third goal was one where Lundqvist was too aggressive and gave Devils' forward Michael Ryder too much of his five hole, which Ryder took advantage of. The Devils' game-winning overtime goal was also one that Lundqvist should have stopped with his glove but an unassuming Eric Gelinas slap shot found its way past Lundqvist's trapper.
Secondly, Lundqvist has found himself being pulled more often than in the past. Not only was the "King" pulled tonight in his team's 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets (three goals against on 13 shots), but he has also been pulled in losses to the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, and Tampa Bay Lightning.
This has more than likely created a situation where Lundqvist is losing a bit of confidence in himself. Sure, he earned himself a nice seven-year pact, but that does not mean his play has been top notch this season.
An example of Lundqvist's lack of confidence was on the Blue Jackets' second goal tonight. On that particular play, Lundqvist would usually be able to go post-to-post to be in position for the shot, but tonight, Lundqvist did not end up anywhere near in position to stop Arterm Anisimov's shot.
Lastly, Lundqvist has not been able to come up with the big save when his team needs it the most as much this season. That was the case against the Devils last Saturday night and has also been the case in some of the team's other losses this season.
This is not to say that the team's struggles should be placed solely on Lundqvist's shoulders. There have been several games this season where Lundqvist has been the main reason for the Rangers either being competitive in a game or winning it to get two points.
With that said, if the Rangers want to stay in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference, they are going to need much better play from their star netminder.