Alain Vigneault started his post-game press conference with a chuckle, then said this:
“We’re not going to apologize for good goaltending.”
And nor should they. The New York Rangers are paying Henrik Lundqvist a lot of money. Last night against Nashville, he played like his contract suggests he should play.
Lundqvist made 31 saves in the 3-0 shutout. His teammates, on the other hand, only managed 19 shots on Pekka Rinne.
Vigneault pointed to penalties as the reason his team was outshot 14-3 in the first period. The Rangers were shorthanded for a full eight minutes of the first 20 minutes. Tough to pile up many shots in that situation.
But having said that, Vigneault also reiterated the need for the players in front of Lundqvist to “play better.”
“We show them, we talk about it, we give them ways to improve, then move on to the next game,” he said.
At any rate, expect to hear a lot about the Rangers’ PDO in the next few days, or quite possibly all season. If you’re still not familiar with the stat, it combines shooting percentage with save percentage. Anything too high over 100 is thought to be unsustainable.
The Rangers’ PDO is an NHL-high 107.1, per war-on-ice.com.
The next highest belongs to Ottawa, at 102.7.
Now, granted, given the quality of their goaltending and the way some of their forwards can shoot the puck, nobody should be surprised if the Rangers continue to have a high PDO. They led the NHL last year, finishing at 101.7.
But when it comes to PDO, there’s high and there’s high. Right now, the Rangers are fully in italicized territory. The question isn’t whether they can sustain it; they can’t. It’s what happens when it comes back down to earth, or at least within orbit.
The Rangers host another high-PDO team on Wednesday when Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens pay a visit.
Rangers stats (5-on-5, score-adjusted)
Save percentage: 96.1 (1st)
Shooting percentage: 11.0 (1st)
Corsi-for percentage: 47.2 (27th)