Ironically, two of the three finalists for the 2011 Vezina trophy were two guys that Lundqvist beat in shutouts during the season, eventual Cup winning goalie and Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas, and Vancouver’s Robert Luongo. Lundqvist shut the Canucks out 1-0 in a sizzling January game at MSG where he stole the show in typical fashion. Both Thomas and Luongo played behind teams with considerably more offensive production than Lundqvist received, especially Vancouver who scored a whopping 29 more goals during the season than the Rangers and were led by offensive stars Henrik and Daniel Sedin and American born star Ryan Kesler. The Bruins play behind defensive superman Zdeno Chara who typically plays 30 minutes a night.
Which leads us into what has been the story thus far 5 games into the 2011-12 NHL season. The story has been none other than the stellar play of Henrik Lundqvist. 5 games into the season, the King has given up only 9 goals and saved 157 of the 166 shots blasted his way for a save percentage of .946, many of them of the unbelievable variety. He has saved the bacon of the Rangers team missing two key players on defense, Marc Staal and Michael Sauer, on all too often an occasion. The best performance of all so far was when he single-handedly led the Rangers to their first win of the season, a spectacular 40 save shutout, once again blanking Roberto Luongo’s Vancouver Canucks. This time on the road in a game the Rangers were shut out 40-19.
Henrik Lundqvist is a man on a mission this season. This is a guy who has the look of someone who can’t be beaten and it could very well be the year where he adds some hardware to his collection. The Rangers haven’t had a Vezina Trophy winner since the 1985-86 season when John Vanbiesbrouck took home the award. Henrik has been a Vezina finalist 3 times in his career so far, no doubt he has to be the early favorite to finally take that trophy home. Maybe hold up another trophy or two while he is at it next June.
Filed Under: Rangers
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