Of all the thing for Rangers fans to wake up to this morning, a multi-week Henrik Lundqvist injury was one of the last things they wanted to see. Unfortunately, that appears to be exactly what’s happened, as New York’s superstar netminder’s lower body injury that cause him to miss Thursday night’s game in Carolina is more severe than originally anticipated:
OFFICIAL: #NYR Henrik Lundqvist will be out 2-3 weeks with a lower body injury.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 11, 2017
To deal with that, New York has elected to recall Magnus Hellberg on emergency basis, which allows them to save their final allotted call-up for the remainder of the regular season for another time:
The 2-3 week timetable means Lundqvist should be back before the regular season concludes. Unfortunately for Lundqvist, this all but assures that his streak of seven consecutive seasons with a .920 SV% or greater will be snapped. However, this could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for New York. With the team a virtual lock to make the playoffs at this point, Lundqvist’s injury ensures that he’ll end the season under the 60 game mark, which was a pre-season target for Alain Vigneault to hit.
In addition to having a rested Lundqvist for the playoffs, having Antti Raanta start the majority of the games down the stretch gives the Rangers a better opportunity at securing the first Wild Card Spot, and crossing over into the Atlantic Division side of the playoff bracket. While the team has had it’s fair share of struggles with Montreal this season, the Canadiens and a second Atlantic team is a much better draw for a playoff run than some combo of Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Washington.