Hartnett: Top 10 Moments Of Henrik Lundqvist’s Career

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By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York

Across 15 seasons, Henrik Lundqvist has served up unforgettable moments and performed myriad jaw-dropping saves. Over the years, his outstanding play between the pipes propelled the Rangers and Team Sweden to numerous upset victories. Undoubtedly, his sparkling individual statistics and reputation in elimination games will earn him a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

With the NHL on hiatus, let’s count down the top 10 moments of his storied career.

10. BREAKS RANGERS’ ROOKIE WIN RECORD, BECOMES VEZINA TROPHY FINALIST

Lundqvist capped a sensational rookie season by finishing with 30 wins to set a Rangers rookie record. Previously, Jim Henry and Johnny Bower each earned 29 victories in their debut campaigns of 1941-42 and 1953-54, respectively.

In Year 1, Lundqvist posted a 30-12-9 record, a 2.24 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. His play saw him finish third for the Vezina Trophy, fourth for the Calder Trophy and ninth in Hart Trophy voting.

Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames captured the Vezina, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals won the Calder Trophy, and Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks took home the Hart Trophy.

Lundqvist’s rookie-year performance was a sign of things to come as he maintained a .921 save percentage across his first 11 NHL seasons.

9. BECOMES FIRST RANGERS GOALTENDER TO RECORD 9 SHUTOUTS SINCE GIACOMIN

On March 9, 2008, Lundqvist became the first Ranger since franchise legend Ed Giacomin to tally nine shutouts in a single season. Giacomin’s career high of nine single-season shutouts came in 1966-67.

Lundqvist finished the 2007-08 season with 10 shutouts for a then-career best. He later beat his personal best by posting 11 shutouts in the 2010-11 season. John Ross Roach holds the franchise record with 13 shutouts in the 1928-29 season.

8. WINS 2012 WINTER CLASSIC BY STOPPING BRIERE’S PENALTY SHOT

The 2012 Winter Classic pitted longtime rivals in the Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers in a memorable contest at Citizens Bank Park. Ryan McDonagh covered the puck with 19.6 seconds remaining in the third period, as the Blueshirts clung to a 3-2 lead.

Philadelphia was awarded a penalty shot and elected to send out Danny Briere to face Lundqvist. Briere was 20-for-45 (44.4%) in post-overtime shootouts. Known for his deep playing style, Lundqvist instead aggressively came out of his crease to challenge the shootout specialist. Briere tried to beat Lundqvist through the five hole – but King Henrik quickly closed his legs to deny him.

7. 2012 3RD-PLACE HART TROPHY FINISH

The 2011-12 season was Lundqvist’s highest finish in the Hart Trophy voting. He earned 37.3% of total vote points, finishing behind winner Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins (98.8%) and Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning (40.1%).

Malkin led the NHL with 109 points.

6. PASSES HASEK IN WINS BY A EUROPEAN GOALTENDER

On Dec. 31, 2016, Lundqvist surpassed Hall of Fame netminder Dominik Hasek for the most regular-season wins by a European goaltender. Lundqvist earned career win No. 390 in a 6-2 road victory over the Colorado Avalanche. He saved 25 of 27 shots faced for a .926 save percentage.

His 459 career regular-season wins rank him sixth all-time among all NHL goaltenders.

Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers poses after winning the Vezina Trophy during the 2012 NHL Awards at the Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas on June 20, 2012 in Las Vegas.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

5. VEZINA TROPHY WIN, ACCIDENTALLY CURSES ON LIVE TV

Lundqvist took home the top goaltending honor in 2012 by winning his only Vezina Trophy. He finished the 2011-12 season with a 39-18-5 record, a 1.97 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. His win total, GAA and save percentage all remain career bests.

Upon receiving the award at the 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Lundqvist nervously let slip an accidental F-bomb to the amusement of those in attendance and those watching worldwide.

4. PASSES RICHTER FOR FRANCHISE ALL-TIME WINS RECORD

On March 18, 2014, Lundqvist eclipsed franchise icon Mike Richter to become the winningest goaltender in team history by sealing his 302nd career regular-season victory in an 8-4 rout of the Ottawa Senators. He saved 35 of 39 shots in the victory at Canadian Tire Centre.

Lundqvist currently owns 459 regular-season career wins.

3. 40-SAVE PERFORMANCE IN GAME 4 OF 2014 STANLEY CUP FINAL, MAKES 48 SAVES IN DOUBLE-OT GAME 5 TO NEARLY FORCE GAME 6

Lundqvist carried the Blueshirts on his back in a 40-save performance in Game 4 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, improbably forcing Game 5 against the Los Angeles Kings. The Rangers were outshot 15-1 in the third period and Lundqvist stopped all 15 shots to preserve a 2-1 win. Overall, the Rangers were outshot 41-19 in the contest.

In Game 5, the Rangers were outshot 51-30. Lundqvist saved 48 of 51 shots – but the Rangers were eliminated in double overtime on Alec Martinez’s series winner. Across games 4 and 5, Lundqvist stopped 88 of 92 shots to the tune of an incredible .956 save percentage.

2. LATE HEROICS HELP SWEDEN TAKE GOLD AT 2006 OLYMPICS

Though a Stanley Cup ring has eluded him, King Henrik was at his very best when Sweden prevailed over Finland to win the 2006 Turin Olympic gold medal game, 3-2. In typical Lundqvist fashion, he made several high-difficultly saves in the final minute to capture his nation’s first hockey gold medal since 1994.

1. SHUTS OUT CANADIENS TO ADVANCE TO 2014 STANLEY CUP FINAL, PASSES RICHTER IN PLAYOFF WINS

Lundqvist was locked in throughout Game 6 of the 2014 Eastern Conference finals. With 4:47 remaining in the second period, he denied Montreal Canadiens wing Thomas Vanek with an acrobatic blocker save to keep the contest scoreless. It was the save of the game, the save of the playoffs and the best save of his career.

Lundqvist stopped all 18 Montreal shots to seal a 1-0 victory that sent the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years. The victory also pushed Lundqvist past Richter on the Rangers’ all-time playoff wins list, setting a new record with 42 postseason W’s. He also matched another Richter franchise record that night, pulling even with nine playoff shutouts. Currently, Lundqvist has 61 career playoff wins, and he surpassed Richter with 10 playoff shutouts.

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