After sitting on the bench as a healthy backup for two consecutive for the first time in nearly three years, most expected Henrik Lundqvist to reclaim his spot in the crease during tonight's game against the New Jersey Devils. A big rivalry game in front of the home crowd with five days in between starts would be enough time for Lundqvist to clear his head and get back to being the Henrik Lundqvist of season's past, (or realistically, have the team play NHL caliber defense in front of him) right? Well, Alain Vigneault has other ideas:
Surprise: Antti Raanta in starters net for morning skate at MSG— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) December 11, 2016
That's right, Antti Raanta will get his third consecutive start when the Rangers take on the Devils later tonight. For the first time this season, there is a very real possibility of a goalie controversy arising if Raanta keeps up his play doesn't give Lundqvist many chances to get back in the crease. Unfortunately, Lundqvist's play always takes a dip in December, so why coach Vigneault has decided to deny Lundqvist the chance to work through his struggles this season is a mystery:
Regardless of who gets the start in net, New York will need to keep their focus and play a full 60 minutes of hockey if they want to defeat New Jersey and improve on their 1-2-1 record from last season against their Metropolitan Division rivals.