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The Return of the King; Henrik Lundqvist set to return tomorrow against Bruins

Bobby Bevilacqua

The Rangers will get a huge boost to their lineup tomorrow afternoon, as Henrik Lundqvist will be between the pipes for the first time since his vascular injury. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

For the first time since February 2nd, a 6-3 win over the Florida Panthers, Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers longtime franchise goalie, will be the starting goalie when New York takes on the struggling Boston Bruins, a team fighting for their playoff lives.

While there was no official announcement, Lundqvist tweeted “Almost 2 months. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions but happy to finally be back. Let’s get it going, step by step.” He also followed that up with a picture of the mask he designed with Jeff Gordon on “The Mask.” These helmets are all game worn before being auctioned off for charity, so that practilly confirmed his return. An official announcement of the goalie will be made at 11:00 AM tomorrow.

On January 31st, Henrik Lundqvist took a puck to the throat in a freak accident, causing him to go down writhing in pain. He finished that game, allowing one goal, and started the next one as well, picking up a win against the Panthers.

But when the doctors and specialists took another look, they found out he had a “sprained blood vessel,” like a slight tear or contusion, and could have had a stroke if he didn’t let it heal.

It was a long two months of drills, low shots only, and waiting for Henrik Lundqvist, but that will finally come to an end tomorrow afternoon when Henrik Lundqvist is back in net again.

With nine games remaining, this allows Lundqvist an ample amount of time to get back in game shape; getting his timing back, stopping pucks through traffic, and just playing some good minutes. He probably won’t play all nine, as there are two sets of back-to-backs in there, but he will have enough time to get ready.

If Lundqvist gets back to the form from earlier this season, this injury could actually work out in the Rangers favor. Lundqvist has played A LOT of games in the past three seasons, with multiple round playoff runs, and he has had two months off with a regulated sleep schedule, no travel, and high intensity drills and conditioning. Somehow, this could wind up being the best thing to happen to the Blue Shirts.

The season could have easily went sideways if it wasn’t for Cam Talbot however. After some struggles in his first few starts, Talbot settled in, becoming one of the feel-good success stories of the year in the NHL, and posting an impressive 16-4-3 record, a .929 save percentage, and a 2.16 GAA with 2 shutouts as New York’s number one netminder. In his last 10 games played, Talbot is 7-2-1 with a .953 save percentage in his last 10 starts.

lundqvist and talbot 1-31

The Rangers have Cam Talbot to thanks for their continued success, and their climb to the top of the standings despite the injury to Henrik Lundqvist. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

But Talbot understands that despite his great play, this is Lundqvist’s team, and that he has already shown that he is a capable long-term goalie.

“I think I proved I can carry the load as a starting goalie, that I can play well for long stretches instead of spot starts every couple of weeks,” Talbot said following his 23 save performance against the Senators on Thursday. “It’s a big confidence boost for me. It’s a great run, but Hank’s ready to go. It’s his net. I’m just happy for the opportunity I got for the past seven or eight weeks.”

Now obviously everyone knows what Henrik is capable of doing, and he has an extremely large and impressive body of work to showcase. Talbot has done great, and should be thanked for it, but Lundqvist is an elite goalie, and he will be perfectly fine after a few starts.

Before the injury, Lundqvist was red hot. In his last 20 starts, Lundqvist was 16-4-0 with a 1.82 GAA and a .938 save percentage. He was in good shape, and I’m confident that he will get back into that form in time for the playoffs.

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Posted on March 28, 2015, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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