Henrik Lundqvist held court with reporters on the night of Nov. 1.
He and his New York Rangers teammates had just completed a 5-0 win over the St. Louis Blues, a game in which Lundqvist recorded his 60th shutout ofhis career.
The franchise goaltender was asked about technical aspects of his game, and he replied that he was satisfied with the level of his play.
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"I've been feeling good the last few weeks. This was a game where I was more involved,” Lundqvist said.
A little more than a month later, Lundqvist’s play has become a talking point. For all the wrong reasons.
“He’s our best player. If you ask him, he’ll tell you he has another level,” Alain Vigneault told reporters Wednesday following the Rangers’ practice at the MSG Training Center in Tarrytown.
As the Rangers embark on a stretch of 12 games in 24 games to finish the calendar year 2016, Lundqvist has a .912 save percentage and 2.55 goals against average in 21 games, along with a 12-8-0-1 record. The shutout against St. Louis being the only blanking he has recorded this season.
“You need a lot from everyone to win in this league,” Lundqvist said after the Rangers’ 4-2 loss to the Islanders at Barclays on Dec. 6. “Including myself.”
Traditionally, Lundqvist has had slow starts to seasons, with 2015-16 being an outlier. But what has been concerning is that the goaltender hasn’t yet shown signs that his game is rounding into its usual form.
While Lundqvist is tied with the Devils’ Cory Schneider for seventh in the league with 50 goals allowed, he finds himself enmeshed in a stretch where he is struggling significantly.
Beginning with the 4-2 loss to John Tortorella’s Blue Jackets in Columbus on Nov. 18, Lundqvist has a 3.05 goals against average, a.902 save percentage and has allowed 23 goals in the eight games he played.
Not coincidentally, the Rangers have a 4-5-1 record in the 10 games they have played since Nov. 18. Overall, the Rangers have a 17-9-1 record, which is second best in the Metropolitan Division.
Still, Lundqvist views his team—and himself—in a positive light.
“We’re a confident group going into the third,” Lundqvist said after the Rangers’ 4-2 win over the Hurricanes at the Garden on Dec. 3. “There are so many things about my game I like, but still if you make a couple mistakes as a goalie it’s going to cost you. You just need to cut that out and when I do, I feel like the game is right there for me. It was important for me to come back here and try to help the team to get this win.”
You can follow Metro New York NHL writer Denis P. Gorman on Twitter at @DenisGorman.