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The legendary Henrik Lundqvist is falling fast

By: Daniel Garza

Time catches up to every athlete. Maybe it’s time to accept that it’s caught up to the legendary Henrik Lundqvist.

In Henrik Lundqvist’s three most recent appearances, he’s let in a total of 16 goals and has taken the loss in all three. In Tuesday night’s game against the Dallas Stars, he let in seven goals in two periods, and was replaced by Magnus Hellberg–who went on to shutout out the Stars in the third period.

Aside from last night’s loss, it’s been a rather uncharacteristic season for Lundqvist. He currently holds a goals against average of 2.89, which would be a career-worst for him in net, as the current career-high allowed stands at 2.48. Not many would have seen that coming this season, even considering he is 34-years-old.

He is at a point in his career where we may start to see a shift in his game. The days of consistent performances in net we’ve been accustomed to may be on the downward trend. In addition, there is talk of how the new streamlined pads will affect him. Many reports say he has not made the switch to the new pads, which must be made by February 4. Steamlined pads will most likely see the amount of goal scoring increase as the size of equipment for goaltenders goes down.

Back up goalie Antti Raanta has gone down with an injury and will be out for at least ten days. This wasn’t the best of timing for the Finnish goaltender to pick up an injury, as he could very likely have been starting in the next two games this week. For now, Lundqvist remains the top option in net, however, even over Hellberg, who is only 25-years-old with three NHL appearances. It will be interesting to see what happens when Raanta returns.

Raanta is almost within reach of matching his total appearances from last season, and has performed well thus far. He has already started in 15 of his 18 games played in. His goals against average of 2.23 is also higher than what Lundqvist is currently at. He could very well start share starting duties more often with Lundqvist, and with the Swedish netminder’s recent performances it would make sense to utilize him more.

So, what does this mean for Lundqvist? It means that the Rangers should start to put Raanta in as a starter more Less of a reliance on Lundqvist will do this team good this season. Raanta has a record of 10-4, and his counterpart has a record of 18-12-1. Clearly very similar records for both.

As hard as it is to admit, the old Lundqvist may be in the past and it’s time to accept that he can’t make as many starts as he once did. There’s still time to get it right for the Rangers in net this season and if Lundqvist doesn’t turn it around before Raata returns, they may just have to move on from the legend.

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Daniel Garza

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