Rangers Notebook: Vigneault sees improvement in Henrik Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist says he will play despite a shoulder injury in game 2. Credit: Getty Images
Henrik Lundqvist has been playing much better as of late.
Credit: Getty Images

Essentially, head coach Alain Vigneault used a hockey truism to summarized Henrik Lundqvist’s improvement.

The Rangers’ franchise goaltender is stopping the puck.

“I see more saves,” Vigneault said of Lundqvist prior to Sunday night’s Flyers-Rangers game at the Garden. “I like that part.”

“Hank is such a competitor and since Day 1 he [has worked] real hard at his game to get it to the level that he’s used to and gotten everyone used to,” Vigneault said. “He was a little bit off and I think right now he’s back on track. He’s making the key saves at the right time that are permitting us to stay in games, come back in games and win games. That’s what you need from your goaltender.”

Lundqvist, who made the start Sunday, entered the game with a .916 save percentage and a 2.66 goals against average in his last six games dating back to Dec. 29. Lundqvist had played in six of the Rangers’ seven games in that stretch, and compiled a 4-1-2 record. Overall, Lundqvist is 14-16-3 in 34 games with a 2.73 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.

“Probably the best person to ask [about whether Lundqvist’s improvement is due to improved technique or a higher level of confidence] is [goaltending coach] Benoit [Allaire],” Vigneault said. “That’s a coach and a player, that’s a positional job, and it’s a very important job. Ben spends all of his time with his two goaltenders and the goaltenders we have in Hartford, and he does a real good job. He’s been working since day one to get Hank to play up to Hank’s level and I think we’re there.”

As a result, Vigneault sees a team that’s far more confident than it was earlier in the season.

“Goaltender is such an important position, it rubs off on everything. A player makes a mistake and [the] puck ends up in the back of the net, it makes it challenging for him,” Vigneault said. “If the goaltender makes a save, [the player] can tap his goaltender on the pad and say, ‘Thank you.’ He can breathe a little bit easier and not think about that play too much and just move on to the next shift. So now we’re getting those saves and that’s why we’re winning more than we were in the beginning [of the year].”

Still, even with Lundqvist rounding into form, expect to see Cam Talbot make some starts as the Rangers will play 10 games in the next 19 days.

“With the number of games we have to play in a short amount of time I really believe you need two goaltenders,” Vigneault said. “For the most part this year we’ve used two goaltenders.

“I think both are playing well. Both are confident. The team’s confident with both guys so we’re definitely going to use them.”

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

DA: Homeless man severely beat by men in…

Two former college football players pleaded not guilty to the alleged severe beating of a homeless man in Allston earlier this year.

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Local

Reports: Dead man pulled from water at Boston's…

A dead man was reportedly pulled from the water at Boston's Long Wharf Wednesday afternoon, according to the Boston Fire Department.

Local

Primark to make US debut in Boston

Dublin retailer Primark will make its U.S. debut with a store at the former Filene's site in Boston.

Going Out

Thursty: Revamped Audubon is back in action

Having been a long time fan of Trina's Starlite Lounge in Inman Square, one of my only complaints about the place is that there's only…

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

MUSIC Huun Huur Tu Friday, 8 p.m. First Church in Cambridge 11 Garden St., Cambridge $28, 617-876-4275 www.worldmusic.org This group comes from the tiny nation…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston…

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston greedy for more dominance

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC 'targeting' US international Mix Diskerud

Metro New York has learned Mix Diskerud has drawn “interest” from the expansion MLS side, NYCFC.

MLB

Statistics show plate approach for Red Sox has…

Statistics show plate approach for Red Sox has been off so far in 2014

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."