On Henrik Lundqvist’s evening, Rangers meets Wild

On Henrik Lundqvist's evening, Rangers meets Wild

Henrik Lundqvist went from a seventh round from Sweden in 2000 to a franchise icon for the New York Rangers.

On Friday, he will get his No. 30 height to the rafters in Madison Square Garden before Rangers host the highly ranked Minnesota Wild.

Lundqvist made his debut in 2005-06 after Rangers had missed the postseason in seven straight seasons. He continued with 459 wins, a save percentage of 0.918, 2.43 goals against the average and 64 shutouts while helping to turn things around for the team.

The Rangers advanced to the playoffs during 11 of their first 12 seasons, including a run to the 2014 Stanley Cup final.

His outstanding career will give him an honor bestowed on Adam Graves, Brian Leetch, Mark Messier, Mike Richter, Rod Gilbert, Ed Giacomin, Andy Bathgate, Harry Howell, Jean Ratelle and Vic Hadfield.

The team that sees Lundqvist’s jersey hanging from the roof beam is part of the conversation about championship challengers when Rangers enter with 60 points in a three-way match at the top of the Metropolitan Division with the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins.

New York has 9-4-0 in its last 13 games but comes from a rare dud in a 5-3 road loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. New York coach Gerard Gallant said he was pleased with the performance of just three of his players.

Artemi Panarin and Barclay Goodrow scored in the opening 4:44, giving Rangers a 2-0 lead. However, New York then dropped four straight goals before Mika Zibanejad scored a powerplay goal in a third period with 20 shots.

“We did not play as we should have played for 60 minutes, and it cost us two points tonight,” said Gallant.

The Rangers have not taken any straight losses since December 17-29, and they have not played games in a row without earning a point since December 12-14. They are also in a five-match home win suite but may be without prominent defender Adam Fox, who suffered a minor upper body injury in the third period on Thursday.

The Wild has two familiar faces for Lundqvist, Mats Zuccarello and goalkeeper Cam Talbot. Zuccarello made his debut with the Rangers in December 2010 and scored 113 goals in 509 games in the regular season over nine seasons with New York. Talbot was Lundqvist’s backup during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

Zuccarello comes in with 12 goals and 38 points for a offense that has scored 145 goals, the sixth highest total in the NHL. He scored on Monday as Wild rolled to an 8-2 victory over visiting the Montreal Canadiens that gave them six wins in seven games after a five-game tie (0-4-1) from December 11 to January 1.

“It’s huge for him and his family,” Zuccarello said on Thursday in Lundqvist’s honor. “It’s going to be cool for me to experience it and be a part of it.”

Talbot, who is 16-8-1 with 2.96 goals against the average of 25 games this season, missed six games with a lower body injury before stopping 14 shots on Monday. He left after the second period for precautionary reasons but was able to start after enjoying the ceremony for Lundqvist.

“He was the face of that franchise for more than 15 years, so there is no one who is more worthy of having his number up there than he is,” Talbot said of Lundqvist.

–Field Level Media

Source: sn.dk




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