GREENBURGH, N.Y. - After Team Sweden's 4-3 elimination by Slovakia in Vancouver, Henrik Lundqvist was jetting back to New York for a break before resuming the Rangers' playoff chase. But as has been the case this season, nothing has gone as planned.
Minutes before landing Friday night, his flight was diverted to Toronto. He finally arrived Saturday and practiced with his NHL teammates Sunday.
"That's the good thing, if you can find a good thing," said Lundqvist, who is expected to face the Senators in Ottawa Tuesday in the first game after the Olympic break. "I had a couple extra days off. You'd rather play in the final, obviously, but you've got to see something positive in it . . . Right now, I just want to move on and get ready for a push."
Lundqvist, who is 25-22-6 with a 2.41 GAA, will play the majority of the 20 games remaining in the regular season for the Rangers, one point out of the last playoff spot in the East. He was joined on the ice Sunday by veteran backup Alex Auld, who will give Lundqvist a breather when necessary. Auld was claimed off waivers Saturday from Dallas.
Although Lundqvist said the feeling of being "lost" lingers longer after losing in the Stanley Cup playoffs than after the shorter Olympics tournament, he lamented the sudden conclusion. In his second Winter Games, Lundqvist registered shutouts in his first two matches, but Sweden's defense of the 2006 gold medal ended with the loss to Slovakia.
"We started off pretty well, then again, it came down to one game. The things that could go wrong for us went wrong," said Lundqvist, who allowed three goals on four shots in the second period against Slovakia. "When you lose a game like that, you spend a couple days analyzing what you could have done better. Today, it felt good to start getting focused again."
Notes & quotes: D Michael Del Zotto skated for the first time in 16 days after suffering a skate gash against the Penguins and did not rule himself out of tomorrow's game. Twenty minutes before practice, 50 stitches were removed from the 19-year-old's chest, and Del Zotto practiced for more than an hour, although he avoided contact drills. "We'll see how it feels Monday," Del Zotto said.