Henrik Lundqvist is off to a slow start in the World Cup, but for Sweden’s sake, at least it’s only been exhibition. The Swedes open the tournament for real on Sunday versus Russia.
Last night, Lundqvist was pulled in the third period after allowing five goals on 22 shots in a 6-2 loss to Team Europe. On Saturday, it was three goals on just 14 shots when the Swedes defeated the Finns by a score of 6-3. His save percentage in exhibition play was an ugly .778.
“I don’t think we did a really good job in front of him,” defenseman Anton Stralman said yesterday, per NHL.com. “You look at the goals, there’s breakaways, there’s tips, individual mistakes. That cost us the game. I don’t blame him for any of the goals, but I’m sure he wants to catch a few of those.”
Lundqvist, 34, did not have a very good finish to the NHL season either. He had an .867 save percentage in five playoff games versus the Penguins. And just prior to that, he’d struggled down the stretch of the regular season, allowing 39 goals in his last 13 games combined.
Of course, he’s more than earned the benefit of the doubt that he can bounce back. A tighter performance from his teammates on Sunday would help, because the Russians are loaded with scorers.
“I think you just have to learn from it, analyze it, and talk about the game and what was good about it, and then you move on,” Lundqvist said. “There were still a lot of good things that happened out there, and you focus on that, but also the things that’s not good enough, you try to correct them.”