Henrik Lundqvist thankful for support after bad game, but says 'It's on me'
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Henrik Lundqvist took the blame for Wednesday’s 7-2 loss to the Penguins. Then Rangers coach David Quinn took it back for playing Lundqvist in the first place after two grueling road games and with three more tough road games to follow.
But Lundqvist said on Thursday that the puck stops here. It was his responsibility to play better no matter how he felt. He didn’t, and the All-Star goalie will be rested on Friday when the Rangers visit Colorado to begin a tough three-game road trip.
“Again, it’s on me,” Lundqvist said. “I’m playing. I appreciate any support, but it comes down to my execution. You’re not going to feel perfect every night. You just need to find a way, and [Wednesday], when we played a skilled team, they made us pay for mistakes.”
Lundqvist, who will represent the Rangers at the Jan. 26 All-Star Game in San Jose, gave up six goals on 18 shots and was pulled early in the third period for Alexandar Georgiev with the Rangers trailing 6-2. Georgiev will start against the Avalanche. Lundqvist will return on Sunday against Arizona and presumably will start in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
With a day to think about it, Quinn said: “It bothers me more that I didn’t pull him earlier. That’s the thing that I really, looking back, regret. But it’s all over with and we’re moving forward. I know it’s a good topic, but really, we lost, 7-2.”
Lundqvist will see plenty of ice over the next period of time. The Rangers will play every other day until the 13th, when they will finish a back-to-back in Columbus after playing a home-and-home against the Islanders on the 10th (at the Garden) and 12th (at Barclays Center).
It’s a lot of hockey. Somebody’s got to play it.
“It’s hard,” Lundqvist said. “Sometimes you can play 10, 15 straight without getting tired and then you play a couple games which are so intense and emotional, it takes a toll on you . . . I’m sure [I was] a little tired [Wednesday], but if you only play when you feel 100-percent perfect, you will not play a lot of games in the league. You have to find ways to find that energy, find that focus. But some nights it’s just going to be a little harder.
“We have a new game [Friday], so I don’t think it makes too much sense to overthink Wednesday]. We played a good team. We made some mistakes and I didn’t play my best. You move on.”
Maintenance day for Hayes. Kevin Hayes, who has been bothered by an upper-body injury, did not practice.