Greetings from Philadelphia, where the Flyers, who host the Rangers tonight after they routed the Canadiens in Montreal yesterday----I haven’t seen the Rangers combine for that much in Bell Centre for years---have a chance to play spoiler.
Do they have enough goals left in ‘em to beat the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist, who, if you’ve been paying attention at all for the last month, has been superb, including the shutout on the Island Saturday?
Naturally, Lundqvist attracted media like metal filings to a magnet yesterday at the MSG Training Center, with the cameras rolling and the tapes digitalizing (my word of the day, take that Oxford) along and the pens scribbling.
On Sunday morning, after the game in Uniondale, I wrote (yeah, go ahead, look it up) that the Rangers have been playing with energy and emotion and now the numbers were in their favor, with seven games against non-playoff clubs.
Lundqvist repeated that yesterday to the media scrum: “You have to play with your heart, and we’ve been doing that a lot lately.”
The defending Vezina Trophy winner, who John Tortorella said was “not the goalie we know: when the lockout-slashed season opened, is now Mr. Steady. “It’s no coincidence that we’re 5-1-1 and Henrik has been on top of his game,” the coach opined.
Lundqvist has said several times before that the playoff hunt will come down to the final games of the season, and, part-time guitar-slinger that he is, hit that chord again yesterday. “We just have to continue working really hard in practice, focusing on everything in our game. Every little play can be the difference in making or missing the playoffs.”
He has started all but five games this season, and Martin Biron will get some opportunity over the next seven, Torts said. “Is Hank going to play all these games? Probably not. You go into the season thinking about keeping him fresh, but when you struggle and are as inconsistent as we are, you need to use him and some spots where maybe you are gonna go with Marty.”
Here’s some more from Lundqvist, though: "I’ve been playing the style I want to play. There are always games and goals where you think, ‘I could’ve done better,’ but overall, I feel like I reached a level where I feel comfortable…I try not to think too much about where we are in the standings. It doesn’t help my game, really…I know it’s an important game every night; that’s enough for me.”
The Blueshirts have an optional skate at Wells Fargo this morning, so we’ll report from there