Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers continued to fight hard in another elimination contest in Game 5, yet this time they fell to the Los Angeles Kings in a double-overtime thriller. As brilliant as Lundqvist was, he couldn’t stop that Alec Martinez rebound goal that clinched the Kings’ championship, and he didn’t deny how much this loss hurts.
No doubt about it, Lundqvist & Co. went down fighting. The 32-year-old netminder made 48 saves in Game 5 and finished a .923 save percentage in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final series overall.
While Lundqvist often stood on his head, other Rangers struggled. Brad Richards drew serious criticism for his play during stretches of this series in particular, yet he seemed more focused on the team loss than any individual struggles.
As great as Lundqvist was at times, Jonathan Quick enjoyed some dominant moments and now possesses two Stanley Cup rings. It sounds like a few Rangers felt like they let their goalie down.
Ultimately, most seemed to agree that it all hurts so badly because the Rangers were so close. Their head coach even seems to find silver linings in these bittersweet feelings.
Proud or not, the Kings ultimately proved to be too much to handle. Time will tell if the Rangers will get this far again with Lundqvist as their franchise goalie.
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.