Henrik Lundqvist was pleased, calling his 37-save performance in his last start of the preseason on Monday, a “perfect” challenge.
Coming off what turned out to be a very disappointing season in a victory-studded, 12-year career, during which he posted lows in goals-against-average (2.74) and save percentage (.910), Lundqvist seemed set to move forward afterward.
“I had a mindset going into the season how I want to play my game,” the 35-year-old goaltender said after the 3-2 overtime win against the Flyers, who will host the Rangers Tuesday in Philadelphia. “You only get three [preseason] starts, but for me, it’s not the amount of starts, it’s the amount of action. I felt every game I had to work; in the end we got the win, but for me, I’m looking for action so I can make decisions and get feedback. It was a game we showed character. We came out in the third and we wanted played to play our best. It was a good game for me to really battle through.”
After his other two starts — a 4-3 overtime defeat of the Devils, in which he made 26 saves, and stopping 23 of 24 shots while playing the first two periods against Devils in New Jersey in a 2-1 loss — Lundqvist on Monday was trying to get up to speed for the Oct. 5 opener against Colorado.
Against the Flyers, Lundqvist said he had “wanted to work on everything: playing the puck, try to see pucks through traffic. I felt like they played a game where they got a lot of different looks, they go across [the zone] a lot. Overall, a good test. I’ll sit down and analyze the game later.”
In examining the second Flyers goal, off a rebound by defenseman Travis Sandheim in front, Lundqvist said, “I didn’t see him coming, it was hard, the puck was too low to really freeze it, got between my pants and blocker, just got caught. Just needed better awareness, I guess. It’s also good to give up a goal like that early in the preseason. It’s been a good three games for me, being tested in different ways. Now I have a week to really push myself hard.”
Ondrej Pavelec will be in net Tuesday night in the back-to-back at Wells Fargo Center, and Lundqvist will watch and prepare.
“We have a trip [to Lake Placid from Sunday to Tuesday] coming up, that’ll be good for the group — we have a lot of new guys — to get to know each other,” Lundqvist said. “Personally, I’ll just try to keep really high-quality practices, high intensity and watch some video, but there’s definitely things, good and bad, that I can take from these three games.”