67° Good Afternoon
67° Good Afternoon
SportsColumnistsSteve Zipay

Henrik Lundqvist reaches 30 wins for ninth year as a starter

Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers shows

Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers shows the effects of being interferered with by Mika Zibanejad of the Ottawa Senators during the first period at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, April 9, 2015. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett

WASHINGTON - A week or so ago, the NHL began installing cameras in goalposts to assist in video reviews of disputed goals for the playoffs.

Referees have been asking goaltenders if the lenses, set deep in the pipes, are a distraction. Asking Henrik Lundqvist, who repeatedly discusses the importance of concentration, probably wasn't a good idea.

"They asked if it was making a lot of noise," Lundqvist said after Saturday's 4-2 win. "I didn't see anything, hear anything."

Then with the pause of a veteran comic waiting to deliver the punch line, he grinned and said: "I try not to look behind myself too much."

After 10 remarkable seasons in the NHL, Lundqvist has learned to look ahead, to quickly dismiss the unlucky bounces, the bad goals. It is a critical tool of the trade.

He earned his 30th victory Saturday. In each of his first nine seasons as a starter, he has reached or surpassed that number, which he also wears on his jersey. With Lundqvist having missed two months with a serious vascular injury to his neck after being struck by a puck on Jan. 31, this season might have been the one that got away. Instead, he used it for motivation.

"Being at 25 wins and coming back, I looked at the amount of games I might play and felt like it was a good challenge," Lundqvist said. "I kind of set a personal goal to reach 30 wins. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but the guys played really well, really helped me find my game really fast. You need a structure coming back like that.

"As a goalie, you can't focus too much on winning; I had to focus on details within the game, I wanted to feel very good about my game . . . I'm happy we pulled it off. It felt like these were important games. I kind of have the same feeling I'll have next week. I feel well-prepared."

Asked how much last spring's hard-fought, surprising climb to the Final means in terms of motivation, Lundqvist said: "A lot. We came so close. We know what it takes, having made the great run last year. I think everybody understands how hard it is and how much work you have to put in and how dedicated you have to be in preparation and commitment."


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports