The New York Rangers have a number in mind when it comes to Henrik Lundqvist and it’s 60.
That’s approximately how many games Rangers coach Alain Vigneault would like to see Lundqvist in over the course of the 2015-16 campaign, per The Record. The all-star goaltender played in significantly less than that last season, but that was due to injury. When healthy, Lundqvist tends to exceed the 60-game mark.
The temptation to lean on him further will be there given his impressive track record, but this season it might be particularly important for the Rangers to be comfortable starting their backup goaltender, Antti Raanta. The Rangers have 17 sets of back-to-back games and there are 15 times where they will play in three games over four days this season. That kind of schedule coupled with the Rangers’ aspirations to ride Lundqvist all the way to a Stanley Cup championship this season makes managing his playing time critical.
Lundqvist will get the first of those starts tonight when the Rangers take on the Chicago Blackhawks on NBCSN (8:00 p.m. ET). It’s his 10th straight opening game start, putting him just one behind Eddie Giacomin for the franchise record.