New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made history Saturday night when he and the Rangers defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 at home. With that win, Lundqvist earned his 400th. He became the 12th goaltender in National Hockey League history to accomplish such a task. He is also the fastest to ever reach the milestone (727 games). Lundqvist had a 37-save performance including several in the dying seconds of the game to seal the victory. With his 400th victory, Lundqvist joins Martin Brodeur and Tony Esposito as the only goalies to win all 400 with one franchise.
“I’m just really proud and I’m really thankful for the opportunity,” Lundqvist told NHL.com. “This organization means so much to me and they’ve given me this opportunity to play a lot of hockey. It’s been 12 years where I’ve been getting a lot of starts and I’ve had a lot of good teammates throughout the years. You think of them right now obviously because they’re part of it as well. I will definitely enjoy this tonight and kind of reflect a little bit before you go back to work [Sunday] morning.”
Henrik Lundqvist Wins His 400th Game
Henrik Lundqvist was selected 205th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. In October of 2005, the young Lundqvist made his debut against the cross town rival New Jersey Devils. He stopped 24 of 27 shots in what would turn out to be a 3-2 overtime loss. But Lundqvist never looked back and has since established himself as the “King” of New York City. In his career, Lundqvist has played in a total of 727 games, going 400-232-73. He has a career goals average against of 2.30 and a save percentage of .920%.
This season, however, has been a challenging one for King Henrik. Through 42 games played, Lundqvist has gone 26-13-1, with a GAA of 2.68 and a save percentage of .911. Those numbers are both the worst of his entire career.
He has been getting lit up this season as well, including a few weeks ago when the Rangers hosted the struggling Dallas Stars. Lundqvist allowed seven goals through the first two periods. Despite a furious comeback by the Blueshirts in the third period, they ended up falling 7-6. Fans weren’t happen and it was obvious Lundqvist was not as well. Now, take into account that the Rangers defense certainly does not help Hank at all. They often leave him out to dry, but overall, this season has not been Lundqvist’s best by far. There is still plenty of games left for him and the Rangers, which means plenty of opportunities for his stats to improve (Lundqvist has gone 8-1-0 since the Dallas debacle).
What This Means Going Forward for Lundqvist
Winning 400 games is no easy task, and Henrik Lundqvist knows that. This is why winning that 400th game means so much more than just the milestone. It is about commitment and pouring every ounce of sweat and blood into the game. This season, as mentioned, as been tough for Lundqvist, but now that he has earned win 400, he is officially elite status. With the Rangers on the verge of going to the Stanley Cup Playoffs yet again, they need Hank to be his regular self in order to make a push this last bit of the regular season.
Looking ahead to Playoffs
It won’t be long before we start finalizing the brackets for the playoffs. And if the Rangers want to definitely secure a seed and be in that bracket, the “King” needs to be on his throne. There is no doubt in the Rangers’ fans’ minds that Lundqvist will deliver. Above all though, is the fact that this win gave Hank all the confidence he needed to do just that.
“I’m gonna tell you: That last couple of minutes, you hear the crowd, you get goosebumps. It was just like my first game here when they chanted my name, and that was 12 years ago,” Lundqvist said in an interview with NY Daily News in regards to the “Henrik-Henrik” chants raining down from Madison Square Garden towards the end of the game against Colorado. When asked post-game about the future, Lundqvist answered, “I just want to get back to work tomorrow and keep improving my game.” (NY Times)
As of right now, the Rangers sit at 36-18-1 and are ranked sixth in the entire NHL, fourth in the Metropolitan Division, and fourth in the Eastern Conference. With 55 games played already, that means they have 27 remaining. With their current standing, they sit in the Wild Card slot for the Metro Division behind the Washington Capitals, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Pittsburgh Penguins. The Metro is very competitive this year, and it will be a battle to make the playoffs.