On January 31st, the King of New York was nearly struck down by a puck to the throat. His reaction? “[My brother] hit me in the throat lots of times.” This was one of 31 shots Henrik Lundqvist stopped in his 24th win of the season, a 4-1 trouncing of the Carolina Hurricanes. Since then, Lundqvist and his New York Rangers have tallied another win, a huge 6-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. In this season alone, Lundqvist has tallied 1032 saves, just over 26 per game. His 5 shutouts put him in the second place spot in the league in that category, and he’s played 39 of the Rangers’ 48 games – about 81% of the Rangers’ season thus far.
Lundqvist has been a part of elevating victories (every win of the 2013-2014 postseason) and he has been blamed for crushing defeats (that fateful loss to the Kings in the cup final, or more recently the 0-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens). For years Lundqvist has been the face of the Rangers, and at 32 years old he has yet to show signs of slowing down. The average age a goalie retires at is around 28, and one would think Lundqvist is pushing the limit. Some of the King’s biggest rivals such as Carey Price, Ben Bishop, and Jonathan Quick haven’t even broken 30 yet. Watching him, however, you would have no idea of his age. His speed, movement, and reflexes are all still top notch.
The King has brought the Rangers back from the edge of defeat on more than one occasion, and a case can always be made that Henrik carries his team. There are many words to describe Henrik Lundqvist, but I think this year the most applicable is resilient. Yes, the Rangers had a slow start, going 5-4-1 in their first 10 games. But in the last two months the Rangers have proven themselves to be legitimate contenders in the league. In December, all of the Rangers’s wins were backed by Lundqvist who did not allow more than three goals in those games.
Henrik has battled off age, physical beatings, and the toughest fanbase in the world. Year after year Lundqvist has proven himself to be the backbone of Rangers hockey. He’s established himself as the face of the Rangers franchise and has been an instrumental part of their recent successes. The definition of resilience is recovering readily from adversity, and no one has done that better than Henrik Lundqvist.
Since being hit in the throat in the game against Carolina, Lundqvist has developed an upper body injury. The team is investigating the injury but Lundqvist will miss Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins, and perhaps the rest of the week as well which includes match ups against Nashville and Dallas. Although the team has not given many details relating to the injury, they have announced it is probably not concussion related and Cam Talbot will get the start against the Bruins.