Tuesday, March 18, 2014

N.Y. Rangers - The King Of Mount Blueshirt



NEW YORK RANGERS: All The King's Horses, And All The King's Men, Scored Eight Times To Help Henrik Lundqvist Become Tex's Rangers All-Time Leader In Wins For A Goalie.

On this most special occasion, Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves, but still allowed four goals to the Ottawa Senators.  His Rangers team mates stood by his side however, and ensured their liege's milestone victory with eight goals in support.

Henrik was stalwart when he needed to be.  So, move over Mike Richter, there's a new king of the hill.  Mike Richter was the first and only Rangers goalie to ever surpass 300 victories in a career, until Henrik Lundqvist came along.

Henrik Lunqvist earned at least 30 victories in each of his first seven seasons.  He established a high of 39 victories during the 2011-12 season.  Mike Richter's best mark came during the 1993-94 Cup season, in which he posted 42 victories to lead the league.  He only achieved 30+ victories one other time in his career. Lundqvist on the other hand, has never achieved 40 victories - yet. However, he did lead the NHL with 24 victories in last year's abbreviated season.

Mike Richter never recorded more than 5 shutouts in a season.  Henrik Lundqvist has twice led the NHL in shutouts, with 10 and 11 respectively.  Prior to unceremoniously being traded to the Red Wings, Hall of Fame goalie Eddie Giacomin spent 9+ seasons tending net for the Rangers, in which he set the club record with 49 shutouts, and led the NHL three times.

Giacomin achieved 30+ victories in a season 5 times, and his first four times came consecutively. He led the league in wins three times, and established a career high of 37 wins during the 1968-69 season.  Eddie also earned the Vezina award for his 1970-71 season.

Henrik won the Vezina award for his 2011-12 season, while Mike Richter never managed to win the award.  Mike however, is the only one of the three with his name on the Stanley Cup.

*     *     *     *

After twice falling behind in the opening period to Ottawa, the Blueshirts cranked up the offense over the final forty minutes of play.  Six different Rangers scored Tuesday night.  Rick Nash and Derick Brassard scored a pair of goals each.  Benoit Pouliot, John Moore, Ryan McDonagh, and Derek Stepan all chipped in with one goal each to help the Rangers set their season high.

The power play was 0 for 3, but the Rangers true struggles have been at even strength.  For a night, they got it right.  Six goals came at even strength, while Rick Nash provided the bookends. He scored the Rangers first goal, shorthanded in the opening period, and capped off the night with an empty net goal to end the game.

Afterward, Coach Vigneault said the defense sucked.  I couldn't agree more.  Ottawa's 39 shots on goal speak loudly to that point.  But, for now, that all gets a pass.  The Rangers secured two more points, and Lundqvist set a club record.  That's a good night by any measure.

The Rangers are now 4-6 in March, at a time when points are at a premium.  They are third in the Metropolitan Division, just two points better than Columbus.  That currently translates to seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings, similarly two points better than Columbus.  And wouldn't you know, the Blue Jackets play Thursday night, then will host a head to head clash with the Rangers on Friday night.  The Rangers are off till then, and could potentially enter that game tied with Columbus should the Blue Jackets defeat the Habs on Thursday.

Immediately following the Blue Jackets, the Rangers have the equally critical task of keeping the Devils out of the picture, in a game at the Rock.

Twelve games remain in the regular season.


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