As Lundqvist’s legendary reign with the New York Rangers comes to an end, ESM looks back as his finest metropolitan moments.
Accounting for his regular season, shootout, and postseason stops, Henrik Lundqvist made 27,482 saves as a member of the New York Rangers.
ESM looks back on the 30 best from No. 30…
10/8/05: The Reign Begins
Little hype surrounded Lundqvist’s debut, as the seventh-round pick was giving veteran starter Kevin Weekes a rest during an early visit to East Rutherford to battle the New Jersey Devils. Things almost ended before they even truly began, as Lundqvist allowed the Devils’ only first period shot, this one from Alexander Mogilny, to go in. But he held his own over the final two frames, stopping 24 of 26 shots over the next two periods and overtime. His first NHL save was a stop of Viktor Kozlov in the early stages of the second period. Lundqvist and the Rangers fell 3-2, but he helped turn the tide in the New York-New Jersey rivalry after nearly a decade of Devil dominance. His final ledger in New York against the Devils was 38-18-8 in the regular season, his best win tally against any single opponent.
11/26/05: Aly No
One of the earliest starts of Lundqvist’s career was the famous 15-round shootout against the Washington Capitals. Marek Malik’s clinching goal remains the endearing image, but Lundqvist got things off to a strong start by making a stop on a fellow rookie Alex Ovechkin to start things off. It was the first of several classic matchups between
12/29/06: Motion Denied
Ten months after collaborating on a Swedish gold medal at the Torino Olympics, Lundqvist and Daniel Alfredsson reunited for a show-stopping sequence in Ottawa, albeit to the detriment of the latter’s Senators. Tough it wasn’t enough to overcome Ray Emery’s shutout effort on the other end, Lundqvist denied his fellow countryman and future Eastern Conference champion twice in a shorthanded opportunity.
10/20/07: Oh, Denied, Marc
Around the same time Kevin Garnett started issuing rejections at TD Banknorth Garden, Lundqvist started to make some big ones of his own against the Boston Bruins. The Rangers fell in a 1-0 shootout, but Lundqvist at least made sure it got to overtime with this spectacular glove save on Marc Savard.
4/9/09: Talk About Playoffs
Engaged in a wild battle for the final Eastern playoff spots, the Rangers held a 2-1 lead on their rivals from Philadelphia, who were looking to do anything to awaken the Rangers from their postseason dreams. Sustained by first period goals from Ryan Callahan and Markus Naslund, Lundqvist took care of the rest with a wild save on future teammate Dan Carcillo in the third period. With no further incidents, the Rangers clinch their fourth consecutive playoff berth with the win.
2/6/10: Unlike Mike
One of Lundqvist’s most underrated stretches is perhaps the end of the 2009-10 season. It was the only time the Rangers missed the playoffs in his so-called “prime”, but Lundqvist made sure it took all 82 games to dispose of the Blue shirts. Forced to make all but one start over the final 26 games, the stretch included a crucial win over the rival Devils, headlined by a rebound denial of Mike Mottau in a 3-1 final at Madison Square Garden.
MSG Network perhaps loved Lundqvist’s propensity for indirect cross-promotion of their New York Red Bulls coverage. Lundqvist made several header saves throughout his time in the tri-state area, one of the earliest instances being in a matchup against the New York Islanders. A 31-save night in a 4-2 win in Uniondale was headlined by a penalty kill sequence in the second period, in which he stopped a Mark Streit shot with his head before getting knocked down by a teammate. Lundqvist nonetheless stopped a follow-up chance by P.A. Parenteau before covering up.
12/31/11: Florida Man Steals Defenseman’s Stick
Lundqvist never got to score a goal in New York, but he did get to handle a skater’s stick in securing a penalty kill during a New Year’s Eve visit to Sunrise. In the chaos of the Panthers’ third period rush, Lundqvist lost his stick but got a souvenir from his trip to the Sunshine State from Michael Del Zotto, who handed his own over. Lundqvist managed to deflect a shot from Walt Garrison away to preserve a 4-1 lead.
1/2/12: Citizens Hank Park
Citizens Bank Park, home of MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies, played host to a different brand of saves when the Rangers did battle with the Flyers in the 2012 Winter Classic. No bullpen was necessary for Lundqvist to make the biggest one of the afternoon, coming with 20 seconds to go and the Rangers nursing a 3-2 lead. Awarded a penalty shot after Ryan McDonagh covered the puck in the crease during a Philadelphia rush, Danny Briere tried to send things to extra innings, but Lundqvist slammed the door shut. Lundqvist went undefeated in four outdoor games, winning the latter trio in New York’s respective professional baseball parks (two at Yankee Stadium, one at Citi Field).
2/1/12: Oh Boyes!
Olympic heroes Lundqvist (Sweden) and Ryan Miller (United States) staged an epic battle at First Niagara Center just over two years after the Vancouver Winter Games. 65 minutes, 63 saves, and no goals later, the tilt moved to a shootout, where Lundqvist made a strong diving stop on Brad Boyes to kick off a 10-round ordeal eventually won by Callahan.
1/19/13: Boston Stewin’
The start of the 2012-13 NHL season was delayed due to a lockout, but Lundqvist showed little rust in the Rangers opener in Boston. New York fell by a 3-1 final, though Lundqvist did his part with 31 saves, including a jaw-dropping glove robbery of David Krejci during a Rangers penalty kill.
5/12/13: Capital Robbery
One could perhaps make a list of Lundqvist’s best saves solely against the Capitals and still come up with 30 videos. One of the most memorable was a frantic final sequence in Game 6 of the 2013 conference quarterfinals. With the Rangers clinging to a 1-0 lead, Lundqvist forced a decisive final matchup with a flurry of saves to secure the win. Another shutout awaited him back in Washington, as the Rangers secured the series with a 5-0 finale.
5/19/13: Baba Jagr
Lundqvist will be forever linked with Jaromir Jagr. The two will forever be seen as two of the best European players in hockey history and played huge roles in the rebirth of New York’s icy endeavors during the earliest years of the post-lockout era. Lundqvist gave his fellow energizer and former roommate a thank you gift during the 2013 postseason, stopping Jagr, then a Boston Bruin, on an exquisite blocker save during the conference semifinals.
3/14/14: Unscheduled Landing
There’s playing out of position, and then there’s what Lundqvist did in a March visit to MTS Centre. When a turnover on a Rangers power play allowed two Winnipeg Jets to skate unguarded into the zone, Lundqvist moved up, almost to the blueline, and denied Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd the scoring opportunity, allowing his teammates to move the puck out of harm’s way. That same night, Lundqvist earned the 301st win of his career, tying Mike Richter atop the Rangers’ victory list.
5/13/14: Pittsburgh Stealer
Two years before the Cavaliers and Warriors made it cool in the NBA, Lundqvist was making 3-1 the most dangerous lead in hockey. The Rangers fell behind the Pittsburgh Penguins by that margin in their 2014 Eastern Conference semifinal matchup, but Lundqvist allowed only three goals over the final three games to secure the comeback. His magnum opus was a flurry of saves made with just over five minutes left in Game 7, even briefly using skater teammate Brian Boyle’s stick to withstand a late Pittsburgh rush. The Rangers took the game by 2-1 final, primarily thanks to Lundqvist’s 35 stops.
5/29/14: Sacre Bleu-shirt!
When Game 6 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Final rolled around, the Rangers owned a 3-2 series lead over the Montreal Canadiens. But after Montreal chased Lundqvist in a 7-4 defeat in Game 5 at Bell Centre, many predicted that the winner of the penultimate match at MSG would take the series, especially if it had to return to Quebec. Lundqvist needed only 18 saves that night, but a crucial, acrobatic stop on Thomas Vanek in the latter stages of the second period permanently shifted momentum to the Rangers’ side. Just over three minutes later, Dominic Moore scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory that propelled the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup visit since 1994.
6/11/14: Snow Problem
Lundqvist was hardly to blame for the Rangers coming short in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. In the team’s lone win in Game 4, Lundqvist stopped all but one of 41 Los Angeles shots, including all 15 in the third period (the Rangers mustered only one shot in the final frame). He had some help in the most memorable way, as a patch of snowy buildup (and a shove away from the goal line by Derek Stepan) helped stopped the puck’s progress in the penultimate minute. Taking away a tough Game 3, Lundqvist stopped 167 of 179 attempts from the Kings (.933 save percentage).
1/31/15: Down, But Not Out
The star-crossed nature of Lundqvist’s Rangers career was perhaps best on display during the second period of a 2015 showdown against Carolina. An errant stick from McDonagh left Lundqvist’s neck exposed on a hard shot attempt from Brad Malone, downing the Rangers’ goalie for several minutes when the one-in-a-million got him in the vulnerable area. While the services of Cam Talbot were required in the weeks that followed, Lundqvist remained in the game to tally 31 saves in a 4-1 triumph.
10/10/15: Henrik Takes a Dive
One can only imagine just how much more could’ve fit onto Lundqvist’s already impressive resume if not for a few more blue bounces of the puck. Fate, alas, had other plans, but Lundqvist was at least able to stop one of them in an early-season matchup against Columbus. With the puck taking an eccentric bounce right to the stick of Ryan Johansen while Lundqvist tried to play it behind the net, a timely dive preserved a Rangers lead and denied the Blue Jackets a wide-open opportunity. It was part of a 37-save night in a 5-2 New York triumph.
10/23/15: King Stops the Duke
The common trope amongst Rangers fans is that former Blueshirts always seem to score when they come back to MSG in enemy colors. Lundqvist made sure that one took a temporary leave with a diving stop on Anthony Duclair in an October 2015 game, one of the final touches of a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.
11/21/15: Florida Man Takes a Puck To The…
Another painful save in Lundqvist’s career came during a November 2015 penalty kill against the Florida Panthers, when he took a Nick Bjugstad shot to the groin in the second period. Lundqvist was examined by trainers but stayed in the game to secure a 5-4 overtime win.
1/11/16: The Scorpion King
Lundqvist’s scorpion kick save on Maxime Talbot preserved a tie game in the third period against Boston at MSG. It came big in the latter stages, as Jesper Fast scored in the penultimate minute to secure a 2-1 win.
4/22/17: Hab We Done This Before?
Fellow New York sports legend Yogi Berra would say that Lundqvist experienced deja vu all over against during the 2017 playoffs, when the Rangers were clinging to a 3-2 series over the Canadiens in the opening round. With the Rangers were on pace to wrap the series up at MSG in Game 6, Montreal made a monstrous final effort, but Lundqvist’s pad save on Tomas Plekanec gave the Blueshirts the confidence they needed to once again eliminate their Original Six rivals up north. Stepan’s empty-netter gave them a 3-1 win, giving Lundqvist his final playoff series triumph.
The Rangers’ loss to the Ottawa Senators in the 2017 conference semifinals remains one of the more baffling and frustrating defeats in recent franchise memory, but Lundqvist at least managed to make a showstopping highlight before all was said and done. As if proving goaltending was easy he could do it sitting down, he made a big stop on fellow Swede Erik Karlsson in the early stages of Game 6 while in a seated position. Alas for Lundqvist, the save was part of what became his final playoff game at MSG.
3/2/18: Nifty 50…on His 36th
A trek to Alberta proved historic in several ways for Lundqvist. He celebrated his 36th birthday and earned 50 saves in a regulation win, posting half-a-hundred stops for the second consecutive game (the prior coming in a 6-5 overtime win in Vancouver). The most crucial denial came in the early stages of the second period, turning away Mikael Backlund shortly before Pavel Buchnevich permanently gave the Rangers the lead.
1/26/19: Going Streaking
Though the more recent seasons featured little in terms of postseason success, Lundqvist made one more splash at the national level at the 2019 NHL All-Star Skills Competition in San Jose. In a 12-save performance, Lundqvist earned the title in the Save Streak competition, securing the win with a final stop on Auston Matthews. Lundqvist would later make 13 saves on 15 attempts in the All-Star competition, including a six-stop shutout in the victorious final for the Metropolitan Division.
2/2/19: The King’s the Captain Now
The reigning Stanley Cup champions were constantly a thorn in Lundqvist’s side, though he did muster a 15-11-5 record against the Bolts. Tampa Bay and New York did a lot of business together in their respective quests for the Cup, so Lundqvist came face-to-face with a lot of former teammates over the years, ones that helped him kickstart the Rangers’ rise to power before dealing with the Lightning ongoing championship quests. During one memorable reunion at MSG, Lundqvist stopped former captain Callahan on a breakaway in the third period of an eventual 3-2 loss.
3/27/19: Boston Red Stops
The latter stages of Lundqvist’s career had him dealing with the Rangers’ latest rebuild, one that forced the aging goaltender to deal with lapses from a blueline trying to find its identity. Though he didn’t match the numbers of his prime, Lundqvist did manage to provide some vintage moments, including this denial of Chris Wagner in a 2019 visit to Boston.
11/27/19: Rock You Like a Hurricane
The Rangers’ 2020 playoff cameo perhaps allowed the Carolina Hurricanes to dispatch some long-awaited revenge toward Lundqvist, who earned 33 wins against the artists formerly known as the Hartford Whalers in his career (his third-best tally against a single team, behind only New Jersey and Philadelphia). He did manage to quell the storm one last time in November, when he made a whopping 45 saves, including this behind-the-back robbery of Martin Necas, in a 4-2 win.
2/1/20: One Last Ride in the Motor City
Fate denied Lundqvist a Derek Jeter-like farewell moment at MSG. The closest things Rangers fans will get likely came in February in Detroit, when he made 33 saves in a 1-0 win over the Red Wings. He sealed the deal with a final stop on Dennis Cholowski with an extra man on, providing the fateful clearing as time expired.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags