On January 15, 2011 the New York Rangers squared off against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. While the Blueshirts were playing well at the time of this match up, rolling in with a 26-17-3 record and 55 points, the Bell Centre historically wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist’s favorite arena to play in.
The first period of this night embodied Lundqvist’s struggles in Montreal – he had already allowed three goals and faced 16 shots, while the team in front of him only responded with six shots on goal in the period.
In the second period the Habs continued their onslaught of shots, throwing 13 additional shots on goal while the Rangers once again were limited to six shots – although one went into the Canadiens’ net. Toward the end of the period it looked like the Canadiens were going to increased their lead with another goal, but Max Pacioretty ran into Lundqvist on the play, and the King wasn’t happy about that.
After getting knocked over, Lundqvist picked himself up and shoved Pacioretty down, landing one good shot in before a crowd gathered, which created some distance between the two.
It appeared as if Lundqvist wanted to send a message that he wouldn’t tolerate getting run into, but the last six years have shown that this “outburst of self defense” don’t really mean anything as he’s been bumped and bruised often.
After looking back on this game and at the box score though, it looks like Lundqvist was pissed off that his team was hanging him out to dry more than anything – and not much has changed since then – so the annoyance of being hit toward the end of such a busy period was the tipping point for him.
In that game, the Rangers would go on to score a goal in the third period. For those interested, Brian Boyle scored his 15th goal of the season in the first period and Brandon Prust and Dan Girardi recorded an assist. Mats Zuccarello scored his second goal of the season in the third period, assisted by Derek Stepan and Girardi.
Additionally to the surprise of no one, the Rangers went 0-for-4 on the power play ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
The Rangers allowed 12 more shots on goal in the third period – resulting in Lundqvist making a total of 38 saves in the 3-2 loss. It was yet another classic example of Lundqvist having to overcompensate as the team’s backbone, in front of an, at times, offensively-challenged group.
While this moment isn’t as memorable as some of the others featured in the 30 Days of Lundqvist, what stood out to me was the emotion Hank showed. Up until this point Lundqvist was a meek and mild goaltender, but this was one of the first times he “lashed” out to stick up for himself.