The New York Rangers invested a ton of money for a long time into goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and that will likely prove to be a pretty decent investment — even if it doesn’t look like it right now.
Lundqvist is in the midst of a huge slump. That slump might have hit rock bottom Thursday at home against the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets. The New York goalie was pulled just 11:10 into the game after allowing three goals. Lundqvist has now given up three goals or more in 12 of his 25 games this season. He did that just 14 times in 43 appearances last year.
The issue, according to Lundqvist, is confidence. His struggles are a big reason the Rangers have lost seven of their last 10 games, and it’s apparently starting to wear on the goaltender some.
“I don’t know what the feeling was … it definitely wasn’t a good feeling,” a dejected Lundqvist said of his performance Thursday night, according to the SNY Rangers blog. “The biggest thing for me now is to believe in what I do and stay confident. Confidence is such an important thing in this game, and right now, it isn’t very high.”
It may be just a coincidence, but Lundqvist’s issues have been even more pronounced since he signed a seven-year, $59.5 million contract on Dec. 4. Since putting pen to paper on that extension, Lundqvist is just 1-3-1 and has given up 15 goals in those five games, including 14 in the last four.
Only Lundqvist really knows if there’s any sort of added pressure affecting his play, but he does insist that he’s healthy.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said Thursday when asked if he was healthy. “I think it comes down to just believing in what you do. It’s been a tough stretch here. We are giving up too many goals, and that is the problem. It’s how you approach things and how you think and stay confident.
Lundqvist should be fine in the long run, though, and that extension will end up looking like a pretty fair deal all around. However, if he and the Rangers don’t turn things around soon, this season will only get more frustrating.