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

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…