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King Henrik has returned, Hellberg to the AHL

NHL: New York Rangers at Florida Panthers Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Henrik Lundqvist is ready to play two of the Rangers next three games during their California road trip. After a long and uncomfortable wait, the King has returned.

As it turns out, he might have been ready to return last night at the Garden, but Alain Vigneault chose to exercise some caution with the face of the franchise.

The return of Lundqvist spells the end of Antti Raanta’s impressive run as the team’s starting goaltender. Whatever you might think of the Rangers recent struggles, Raanta has not been the problem.

Few teams are as fortunate in their backup goaltenders as the Rangers are.

The official return of Lundqvist put an end to Magnus Hellberg’s curious adventure with the team where he failed to appear in a single game and was briefly sent back down to the Wolf Pack to get two AHL practices under his belt.

The Rangers face a tough test in the next three games. A road trip in California means late starts for those of us on the east coast, but it also means facing the Los Angeles Kings, the Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks (in that order).

New York has been a better team wearing the road whites than the home blues this year. There are still clearly a few things that Vigneault’s Rangers need to iron out. Maybe facing some stiff competition on the other side of the country will be just what the Rangers need to get back on track.