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
National

Humans should thank ancient Scottish fish fossils for…

By Kate KellandLONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying fossils have discovered that the intimate act of sexual intercourse used by humans was pioneered by ancient armored…

National

Comet makes rare close pass by Mars as…

By Irene KlotzNEW YORK (Reuters) - A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system on Sunday made a rare, close pass by Mars…

Local

NYPD: Man found hanging in Brooklyn subway station

A man was found hanging inside a Brooklyn subway station on Saturday morning, police said. The man, who still had not been identified on Sunday,…

Local

Only church destroyed in 9/11 set to rebuild

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only house of worship destroyed during the terrorist attacks on 9/11, held a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday to start the…

Going Out

Watch home cooks try to impress Tom Colicchio…

Is what you’re making for dinner tonight good enough to serve “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio? That’s the standard that some of the city’s best…

Television

‘Homeland’ recap: Season 4, Episode 4 ‘Iron in…

Carrie Mathison, what are you doing?! Don’t seduce virgins! More on that later: Lots of crazy stuff went down on the "Iron in the Fire" ep of "Homeland"!

Movies

Box office: Brad Pitt kills Nazis, also Nicholas…

This weekend, Brad Pitt's second WWII movie, "Fury," rolled into the lead, while the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, "The Best of Me," got little love.

Gossip

Blake Lively's pregnancy cravings are too weird to…

Find out what Blake Lively is rumored to send husband Ryan Reynolds to the store for.

College

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State…

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State holds off FSU

NHL

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in…

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in front

NFL

DeMarco Murray carries Cowboys to win over Giants

The Giants knew they would need to stop DeMarco Murray if they were going to leave Dallas with a win. It didn't matter.

NFL

Jets trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin: Report

According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, the Jets have sent a conditional draft pick to the Seahawks for wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…

Wellbeing

Health News: 5K for lung cancer, free yoga,…

Get some fresh air to benefit lung cancer research On Friday, the first-ever Brooklyn Free to Breathe Run/Walk will take place Oct. 26 at Cadman Plaza…

Education

Can these two college students come up with…

Two Atlanta college students say they have an idea for a simple test that would quickly diagnosis the Ebola virus - and it all started…

Education

Chances are, the average college student isn't taking…

As a bachelor’s degree becomes more expensive than ever, one new report is criticizing colleges for the content of those pricey educations. The American Council…