Some potentially troubling news out of New York — starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist, who yesterday was tabbed to start tonight’s Rivalry Night game versus Boston on NBCSN, has been yanked from his assignment due to an upper-body injury related to his throat:
Lundqvist unavailable tonight. Being checked out for something related to his throat. Oh boy. #NYR
Cam Talbot will get the nod instead, per Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault — who added that New York is “investigating” Lundqvist’s injury, which likely occurred during Saturday’s 4-1 win over Carolina:
Lundqvist finished that contest — strongly too, stopping 31 of 32 shots — and was in net again for Monday’s 6-3 win over Florida. That said, the veteran netminder did admit to feeling “lightheaded” during the Carolina game, and experienced headaches in the third period.
Vigneault shot down the notion Lundqvist suffered a concussion on the play, but it’s worth noting the Swedish netminder took a maintenance day on Tuesday.
As far as concern for any long-term injury to Lundqvist, Vigneault said, “We don’t know yet. We’re going to know later on today.” #NYR
NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the New York Rangers host the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden at 8:00 p.m. ET today. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.
It wasn’t pretty during significant stretches of the 2014-15 season, but the Boston Bruins are looking like the Bruins team many expected to be one of the East’s top squads once again. The New York Rangers had their own issues before righting the ship this season, so tonight’s game stands as a nice gauge of where each franchise is as of early February.
Tuukka Rask stands out the most during Boston’s bombastic run.
The Finnish goalie is a big reason why Boston is 8-1-1 in its past 10 games. The 27-year-old has only allowed three goals once since Jan. 4. He finished last month with a brilliant .949 save percentage that strongly implies that he’s back to his Vezina form after some rare stumbles.
The Rangers really aren’t that far behind the Bruins, especially if you look back to early December.
New York is 18-5-0 in its past 23 contests, and while the Rangers are currently ranked third in the Metropolitan Division, they can take a slim lead if they win the two games they have in hand on the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Even after taking a puck to the throat, Henrik Lundqvist was game enough to help the Rangers beat the Florida Panthers on Monday. Both the Rangers and Bruins are currently on two-game winning streaks.
Milan Lucic is expected to shake off his flu-like symptoms and play, so Boston should be close to full strength. The Rangers hope to see Rick Nash & Co. stay sharp even against elite competition in the likes of Patrice Bergeron.
Boston took a Jan. 15 match between the two teams by a score of 3-0, so we’ll see if the Rangers get a little revenge or if the Bruins continue to strengthen their hold on a wildcard spot.
With the Panthers down 4-3 midway through the third period, Florida forward Dave Bolland flicked the puck towards the net. It certainly wasn’t the most dangerous shot we have ever seen or the most difficult Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist faced tonight, but he deserves style points for the way he handled it:
Lundqvist turned aside 33 of 36 shots in a 6-3 victory over Florida. It was his 334th career win, which put him ahead of Nikolai Khabibulin and gave Lundqvist sole possession of 20th place on the NHL’s all-time list. Hall of Famer Gump Worsley is just two victories ahead of Lundqvist.
In the wake of three straight regulation losses for the Winnipeg Jets in which they surrendered 15 combined goals, it sounds like Michael Hutchinson will get the nod tonight in Calgary.
It’ll be Hutchinson’s third consecutive start. The 24-year-old rookie has been excellent overall this season, going 14-6-2 with a .927 save percentage. However, there was reason to wonder if Ondrej Pavelec might get the nod tonight against the Flames after Hutchinson surrendered five goals on 32 shots in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Dallas and four goals on 31 shots in Thursday’s 5-2 loss to Philly.
To be fair to Hutchinson, four of the five goals the Stars scored against him came on the power play.