As great as Simeon Varlamov have been for the Washington Capitals in the team's series against the Rangers, his counterpart, Henrik Lundqvist, has been the real key to the series. Twice in five games the Capitals have been able to put enough pressure on the 27-year-old Swede that he's wound up with decidedly un-Lundqvist like numbers; twice the Capitals have beaten the Rangers. That's not a coincidence.
Saturday morning we noted "Prior to Friday night, Lundqvist had never been relieved of his duties in a playoff game," something that might be encouraging to Caps fans. However, we also warned against getting too much confidence from that game. Whether it's due to pride, tweaks to performance, or simply the small likelihood of a goalie of Lundqvist's caliber having bad outings in consecutive games, King Henrik has generally come back strong this season after allowing four goals and after having been pulled:
|After 4+ GA||16||971||6||7||3||28||1.73||492||464||.943||2|
|After Being Pulled||3||184||1||1||1||5||1.63||100||95||.950||0|
Lundqvist's overall number aren't the result of skewing from a few outstanding outings, either. With a few exceptions, Lundqvist has been consistently good following sub-par outings:
|Oct. 20||DAL||L, 2-1||59||2||2.02||27||25||.926|
|Nov. 24*||PHO||W, 4-1||60||1||1.00||36||35||.972|
|Dec. 3*||PIT||SOW, 3-2||65||2||1.85||31||29||.935|
|Dec. 7||CGY||L, 0-3||60||3||3.00||20||17||.850|
|Dec. 13||CAR||SOW, 3-2||65||2||1.85||31||29||.935|
|Dec. 27||NJD||L, 2-4||60||4||4.00||35||31||.886|
|Dec. 29||NYI||W, 5-4||59||4||4.04||24||20||.833|
|Jan. 10||OTT||W, 2-0||60||0||0.00||33||33||1.000|
|Jan. 31||BOS||L, 0-1||59||1||1.01||27||26||.963|
|Feb. 13||FLA||SOL, 1-2||65||1||0.95||43||42||.977|
|Feb. 16*||STL||L, 1-2||59||2||2.04||33||31||.939|
|Feb. 22||TOR||OTL, 2-3||62||3||2.89||26||23||.885|
|Mar. 15||PHI||W, 4-1||59||1||1.01||25||24||.960|
|Apr. 4||BOS||L, 0-1||59||1||1.02||24||23||.958|
|Apr. 22**||WAS||W, 2-1||60||1||1.00||39||38||.974|
*Game after being pulled. **Playoff game
For those who remember our earlier post on what it mean for a goaltender to have a Quality Start, that's a 75.0 Quality Start percentage, a number that would have been among the highest in the NHL this season.
The fact that the Capitals not only managed to beat Lundqvist regularly, but managed to chase him out in Game Five doesn't mean they've solved the Rangers' netminder - a fact fans can only hope a team that all too often plays too casually is aware from today's opening faceoff.