Henrik Lundqvist

Lundqvist has trouble closing series when not facing elimination


The New York Rangers have already squandered one chance to finish off the Montreal Canadiens and advance to the Stanley Cup Final. They don’t want to see this series go to a Game 7, but in order for that to happen, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist needs to defy his status quo.

He was yanked midway through the second period on Tuesday after allowing four goals on 19 shots. The problem is, that’s not unusual for him under the circumstances. Whenever the Rangers have the opportunity to advance, but don’t face elimination, Lundqvist seems to struggle.

The last five times the Rangers have been put into that situation, Lundqvist has posted a 5.53 GAA and .808 save percentage, per the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti. He was pulled in four of those contests.

“He’ll be fine,” Rangers defenseman Marc Staal told NHL.com. “It’s the last concern of anyone on our team.”

The silver lining is that if Montreal does force a Game 7, then history suggests that Lundqvist will rise to the occasion. He’s 11-6 with a .944 save percentage in 17 career contests where the Rangers faced elimination. He’s also won his last five Game 7s.

The Rangers will take on Montreal at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight.


With Lundqvist, AV is nipping potential meltdowns in the bud

Health updates: Lundqvist felt slow, but isn’t injured

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?