Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is one of the main reason the New York Rangers have gotten to the Eastern Conference Final. If they are going to get any further though, Lundqvist will need to do better at Montreal’s Bell Centre than he has in quite a while.
Lundqvist has a career 3.87 GAA and .876 save percentage there and hasn’t won in Montreal since March 17, 2009, per Newsday.
“It’s so long since I’ve played there, I don’t really remember,” Lundqvist said.
He’s right. He hasn’t played there in over two years as both former coach John Tortorella and current bench boss Alain Vigneault have exclusively used their backup goaltenders in Montreal for the last two seasons.
“It just happened that way,” Vigneault said.
The Canadiens have home ice advantage in the upcoming series, so Lundqvist will get his first chance in a while to end that slump on Saturday (1:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?
OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.
Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.
There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:
Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.