Wednesday was a historic and memorable day for a host of reasons. Henrik Lundqvist received the long-term extension he desired, the Rangers locked up their franchise goalie for what should be the rest of his sterling career and a bevy of Rangers fans breathed a sigh of relief knowing finally that this offseason we wouldn't see Hank wearing the black and gold of Penguins colors.
But Wednesday was also the mark of something else: the time we see Henrik Lundqvist start to dominate and throw the team on his shoulders.
We all know for the Blueshirts to do ANYTHING, it's on the back of exceptional goaltending from Lundqvist night in and night out. And before Wednesday, we saw that in spurts. A random shutout of the Capitals here, a show-stealing performance against the Stars there, but never two or three or four in a row. Mixed in were some stinkers, and the team would be left starting from the blocks.
That needs to change. That has to change.
We all know what Lundqvist is capable of. He owns several records and streaks in Rangers history of goaltending dominance. It's time for Lundqvist to play the next handful of games—nine on MSG ice would be a start—and get on a stifling roll. Win seven out of the next nine and hold down a 1.79 GAA and .950 sv%. Show your opponents no mercy. It happened last night against Buffalo, holding them to just one goal. It has to continue.
Why am I imploring this so hard? Because it's what needs to happen to break this string on mediocre play through 29 games. The Rangers have an excellent chance to separate themselves from the pack. The only way that happens is by going on a long winning streak. Run the table through December, pick up points and get the confidence you need. Otherwise, it'll get late early and the fight for the playoffs will be even greater.
The only way that happens is by Henrik Lundqvist being Henrik Lundqvist. The contract situation is no longer a distraction or an excuse. It's time to go out there and play.
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