BOSTON — Common sense would indicate that Henrik Lundqvist would be tired after making 33 saves against the Kings on Friday, that home and away back-to-backs aren’t exactly conducive to fresh legs, and that the 5 p.m. puck drop Saturday made that even more the case. Common sense also seems to dictate that it’s best not to mess with something that works — at least as far as coach Alain Vigneault is concerned.
Despite a game that seemed tailor made for an Ondrej Pavelec start, Vigneault chose to go back to the 35-year-old Lundqvist, playing in his 28th game of the Rangers’ 33 this season, and was rewarded for it.
“Big game,” Vigneault said when asked about his reasoning (though, granted, he’d likely say that about any game).
“He was definitely in the zone,” Ryan McDonagh said. “We’ve seen that many times this season . . . He’s coming out on guys when he doesn’t have a lot of room and taking away their time and space.”
Lundqvist made 33 saves again Saturday, including a number of impressive stops in the second period and a big kick save with less than three minutes left in the game. His record improved to 16-8-2 and he’s 8-2 in his last 10 decisions.
Vigneault said he’d likely get Pavelec in for a start soon.
“Two games where it felt like it was a lot of pressure at times,” Lundqvist said. “I knew playing this game would be challenging physically because it’s a short time for recovery but it was a chance for me to try to make a difference . . . We [worked] really hard to earn the points in the two games.”
Power play misses Mika
The Rangers have scored power-play goals in back-to-back games after going 0-for-9 in the previous five games, but Vigneault said the unit still misses Mika Zibanejad, who is out with a concussion. “I think the percentages are almost double when Mika is in there than when he’s not there,” he said. “That right-handed shot, that right-handed opportunity to one touch a shot brings a different dimension . . . So it makes it a little bit more challenging.”