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

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.