The first round of the NHL playoffs is nearing an end, and the different results for the two New York teams are calling for attention.
Enter King Henrik Lundqvist. The reigning most handsome hockey player I’ve ever seen has been carrying the Rangers, yet his teams just keep leaving him out to dry. Every year, Hank is owning the highlight reel with save upon save, proving his worth as one of the best goaltenders in the league. His numbers aren’t above Carey Price, but they’re at each other's heels, if Hank has a defense to actually even out the work-load.
For example, this year’s first round of the playoffs. Hank got absolutely SHELLED this year, and was chased off the ice in two different games. On the other spectrum of the NY map, the Barclay’s Center had a reason to have happy fans. The New York Islanders advanced to the second round, unlike their older brother Rangers.
The reason for this team having a chance to make it past the Panthers is because they never touched the ground when their plane landed for Game One. John Tavares has been carrying this team on his back since the playoffs started
And now, Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy brought in the conversation of who really is the “King” of New York Hockey; Hank or Tavares?
In the six games the Islanders played against the Panthers, they had 15 total goals and Tavares scored five of them with four assists on others. That’s nine points in six games. His two most important goals came in the best moments and represented why playoff hockey is awesome: a game-tying goal with 53 seconds left in the third period, and a series-winning goal in the series’ second double-overtime.
Compare that to Henrik Lundqvist in this post-season:
Lundqvist did take a stick to the eye in Game One and he had to leave, so that could be a legitimate reason for him not playing well. Yet he came back for the last four games and felt as though he was ready to play.
He played normal in the two games following the injury, as you can see from his .935 and .933 save percentage, then you get to his last two games and he was lit up with both games showing a below .800 save percentage and ended in him being pulled. Defense can arguably be the main reason for the tan on the back of Hank’s neck, yet it can’t be ignored that he let in ten goals on 41 shots.
He wasn’t himself, whether it was due to his eye being gauged or not. Also, Hank’s age shouldn’t be brought into play. According to NHL.com, he was first in shots against and in total saves during the 2015-16 regular season. So his production is absolutely there, but being first in shots against also means his defense didn't give him a break at all.
So back to the new problem at hand that really only the fans can decide: Who’s the new King? John “Clutch” Tavares, or Handsome Henrik?