Sunday, April 24, 2016

N.Y. Rangers: The King's Horses and His Men Failed Henrik Lundqvist Again


The King was a victim of over-taxation 
without blue line representation.

Penguins win series 4-1
I - PITT 5; NYR 2
II - NYR 4; PITT 2
IV - PITT 5; NYR 0
V - PITT 6; NYR 3

NEW YORK RANGERS: Where were the King's horses?   Where were the King's men?  And can these Blueshirts ever be Stanley Cup contenders again?

Our Liege ... the benevolent King Henrik was a victim of over-taxation without representation.

His NHL career is now 11 years long, in which he's made 685 regular season appearances.  He made 53 appearances as a rookie.  Then aside from the 2012-2013 labor dispute shortened season in which he started 43 games, and 2014-15 when he only made 46 starts due to injury, Henrik has otherwise averaged 68 games over the balance of 8 other seasons.

Under Tom Renney, Henrik routinely posted 70+ game seasons.  John Tortorella then made it a priority to manage Henrik's playing time more efficiently with the playoffs in mind, and limited him to an average of 65 starts a season.

Enter Alain Vigneault...

If you remember, last season Henrik only made 46 starts (as previously noted) due to getting hit in the neck with a puck, and a resulting vascular injury.  This season, at 34-years of age, Alain Vigneault had Lundqvist make his most starts since the 2010-2011 season (six seasons ago) when he was still only 28-years old.

Then add the 116 post-season games he's played since 2005-2006, with the Rangers missing the 2009-2010 playoffs being the only exception.

That's a decade's worth of extended hockey seasons.  However, he remained consistent throughout.   For his career, he owns a .921 Sv% and a 2.28 GAA.  Despite owning a losing record in the playoffs (55-59) he still maintained a .923 Sv% and a 2.25 GAA.

Now let's get to the heart of the matter.  The collective group of blue liners had perhaps their worst season together as Rangers.  Lack of support from his forwards was an equal factor.

This all has everything to do with the Rangers first round elimination against the Penguins.

During the regular season, Henrik Lundqvist posted his usual .920 Sv%, but his 2.48 GAA was the worst of his career.

Here's why...

Henrik Lundqvist led the NHL in most shots faced this season, and in turn was forced to make the most saves in the NHL.  

Those two facts fall squarely on the defense - just as well as sinking to 15th in the NHL in goals against, and all the way down to 26th on the penalty kill under Alain Vigneault.  The Rangers penalty kill against the Penguins was particularly inept, allowing 8 goals in 21 opportunities.  All the King's men could muster were 2 measly goals in 19 opportunities.

Otherwise, no goalie can withstand wave after wave of odd man rushes, plus all the unchecked traffic incidents Henrik is made to endure, and still expect to survive without negatively affecting the scoreboard.

The Rangers defensive effort during final two games against the Penguins were as negative as it gets.

Did Henrik Lundqvist have a bad series?


However, none of this should strike anyone as a surprise.  Henrik Lundqvist himself was very vocal throughout the season regarding these very issues.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Say what you feel. The worse comment you can make is the one you do not make.