Despite Old Age, Henrik Lundqvist Continues to Defy the Odds

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers celebrates teammate Derek Stepan #21 empty net goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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In March of this past year, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist turned 35. The 2017-18 season marks his 13th in the National Hockey League, and also his 13th as a starting goalie for the Rangers. Lundqvist has had some amazing seasons, and has a Vezina Trophy under his belt. Year in and year out he is one of the most competitive net-minders in the League, and continues to play well. Sure, age has impacted his performance, as it does with every single NHL player, but Lundqvist still remains atop the ladder as one of the most skilled and stunning goaltenders.

Despite Old Age, Henrik Lundqvist Continues to Defy the Odds

The Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist started the 2017-18 campaign in a rough manner. In the month of October, the Rangers had a record of 4-7-2. Poor defensive play, lack of scoring, and mediocre play by Lundqvist all contributed to this disastrous start. In November, the Rangers went 9-3-0, and things were starting to pick up. In December, the Blueshirts continued to improve, notching a record of 7-3-3. They now sit in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division with an overall record of 20-13-5 and have a total of 45 points earned. The Rangers sit in 12th place in the entire NHL. The 2017 portion of the season has ended for the Blueshirts, with their next game coming on New Year’s Day outdoors against the Buffalo Sabres in the 2018 Bridgestone Winter Classic.

There are many reasons for the Rangers success as of late. Offensive contributions from all four lines, tighter defence, and perhaps the biggest of all- the play of Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist has been sharp in the month of December, allowing the Rangers to stay in games against some of the best teams the league has to offer. His work ethic remains the same as it did several years ago. He is focused and is concentrated on one thing- being the best he can be so that the Rangers can win. So far this season, Lundqvist has played in 32 games and has started all 32 of those. Out of the 1,012 shots, he has faced, he has saved 933 of them. He has a goals average against (GAA) of 2.58 and a save percentage of .922. He also has two shutouts on the season (eighth place among NHL goalies).

Lundqvist has been the biggest factor for the Rangers revival this season. Night in and night out he comes ready to play and gives the Blueshirts their best shot at winning. When you have a goalie who can maintain the crease and make strong saves consecutively, it allows your team to be able to stay in games. And with the Rangers offence beginning to heat up, this is exactly the equation that is needed. He has been facing a big workload this season but has not shied away from the challenge.

With Age Comes the Ability to Adapt

In March of 2018, Lundqvist will turn 36. Despite turning another page in his life, he will do his best to remain his best, and play as if he was 26. Lundqvist has admitted this season that he has been sleeping much more this season and has been changing his workouts and diet so that he can keep up with the busy 82 schedule the NHL has. The biggest aspect of being an athlete is to take care of yourself and to be ready for whatever comes your way. And that is exactly what Hank is doing. The Rangers are in the very competitive Eastern Conference and the even more competitive Metropolitan Division. The next several months leading up to the playoffs will be crucial for the Rangers, who are constantly battling for points and for an eventual playoff spot.

The Rangers are 5-7-1 on the road this season. There are 44 games remaining this season for the Rangers. Out of those 44 games, 27 are on the road, and only 16 are at home. The leftover game is the game at Citi Field in New York City for the Winter Classic. The point here is that the Rangers need to pick up their ability to win on the road during the last few months of the season. And it all starts with Lundqvist. He will be the deciding factor in the Rangers success and whether or not it continues or dies out. If he plays well, he motivates and rallies the team to play likewise. So despite being 35 years old, turning 36 soon, Henrik Lundqvist still remains the “King” and is adding to his resume.

 

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 22: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers celebrates teammate Derek Stepan #21 empty net goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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