The New York Rangers announced on Saturday morning that they will be without starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for the next couple of weeks due to a lower body injury.
Lundqvist confirmed on Saturday that is a hip injury he suffered during the first period of his most recent start, a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers where he made 43 saves, on Tuesday night.
Magnus Hellberg has been recalled from the Hartford Wolfpack of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis and will serve as the backup for Antti Raanta during Lundqvist’s absence.
After a tough start to the season, and a pretty massive mid-season slump that saw him lose some playing time to Raanta, Lundqvist had started to turn his season around in recent weeks and was starting to look more like the Lundqvist of old through February and early March. For the season he has a .913 save percentage.
In the short-term this shouldn’t be a huge deal because the Rangers have a solid hold on a playoff spot and are not in any real danger of losing it even if they hit a slump down the stretch. Plus, Raanta has had a pretty spectacular season as Lundqvist’s backup. They have 10 games over the next three weeks and given the way Raanta has played this season he should be good enough to get them through that stretch.
It would only start to really become a significant issue if it is something that lingers long-term and carries over into the playoffs. Given the current timeline the Rangers have given that would not be the case.
The Rangers do have a back-to-back coming on Sunday and Monday at Detroit, then back home against Tampa Bay, and it would seem likely that Raanta would get both of those starts.