30 Days of Lundqvist: Diving Stick Save to Rob Johansen

Lundqvist’s stick paddle robs one of the NHL’s brightest young stars.

It’s October 10th, 2015 and the Rangers are hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts have a commanding lead with the time winding down in the second period. It’s a 3-0 game thanks to a two-goal first period by Oscar Lindberg and Dominic Moore’s first goal of the season. And Henrik Lundqvist’s 14 first period saves certainly didn’t hurt the cause either.

Ryan Murray of the Blue Jackets fires the puck into the Rangers zone to lead Ryan Johansen who is flying up the right wing boards. It could be called icing, but Lundqvist decides to leave his crease to corral the puck behind the net. Only the puck never went behind the net. The puck caroms off the corner boards, off the side of the net and goes straight to a rapidly approaching Johansen. It was a gift from the hockey gods.

But Lundqvist had other ideas.

The Hall-of-Fame bound netminder lunged with his stick and robbed Johansen of a sure goal. It was career highlight reel material.

Earlier in the game Lundqvist made an unbelievable sliding save while shorthanded to rob Johansen of a one-timer goal. The puck dove into the Swedish goalie’s leg pads and it took him 55 seconds to fish it out of his pads while the Garden chuckled at the Vaudeville act unfolding before them.

After Lundqvist’s shutout was spoiled (Johansen finally scored five minutes into the third period) he brought the Garden Faithful to their feet one more time with another showstopping save. Matt Calvert had an empty net waiting for him after a spin-o-rama pass courtesy of Boone Jenner. But Lundqvist had apparently spent the offseason studying karate.

The King threw his right leg up and stopped the shot with the underside of his blocker and leg. After that the puck found the left post and was tucked under Hank by Marc Staal.

The Rangers won the game by a final score of 5-2 thanks in large part to a 37 save performance by Lundqvist. After the game he told the media that he felt good, especially after his diving stick poke to rob Johansen.

"When I made that one I thought to myself, 'OK, maybe I'm a little lucky tonight,'" Lundqvist admitted. "I'll take that one."

Thanks to Lundqvist’s performance at the Garden that night the Rangers started the 2015-16 season 3-0-0. It was the first time the Blueshirts had a start like that since the 2008-09 season.