Henrik Lundqvist made history on Saturday evening by backstopping the New York Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Lundqvist recorded his 400th win, the first in Rangers’ history, the 12th goalie in NHL history and the fastest to do so in the history of the league. Hank made 32 saves in his fifth consecutive victory, and he had every reason to celebrate after being named the first star of the game. It hasn’t been the easiest year for the King who happens to turn 35 in a couple of weeks, but as of late he’s been everything the Rangers have needed him to be. The victory was propelled by some unlikely contributors, and here are the top five performers of the game through the lens of game score.
1.) Kevin Klein | 1.95
To be frank, Kevin Klein has had a pretty terrible season. Heading into Saturday’s contest, Klein had one goal and 11 assists for 13 points in 50 games. Klein skated in 69 games for the Rangers during the 2015-16 campaign and scored nine goals while adding 17 helpers for 26 points. With his offense nonexistent, some of Klein’s flaws have been even more visible this season. With all that said, Klein had a vintage performance against the Avs. He opened the scoring for the Rangers with a slap shot from the point, and he got the offense going in the third period with an early goal.
The Rangers need this type of play from Klein going forward. He doesn’t always have to score goals, but he needs to be smart with the puck and his shot selection.
2.) Henrik Lundqvist |1.70
Lundqvist made 32 saves in his 400th victory. Over his last ten games played he is 8-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage. After the game he expressed his thanks and pride for being a Ranger and his accomplishments through the years.
After the game he expressed his thanks and pride for being a Ranger and his accomplishments through the years. “I’m just really proud and I’m really thankful for that opportunity,” Lundqvist said. “This organization means so much to me and they’ve given me this opportunity to play a lot of hockey. It’s been 12 years where I’ve been getting a lot of starts and I had a lot of good teammates throughout the years and you think back to them right now obviously because they’re part of it as well. I will definitely enjoy this tonight and kind of reflect a little bit before you go back to work tomorrow morning.”
3.) Oscar Lindberg |1.38
Lindberg logged just over eight minutes against the Colorado Avalanche, but he surely made the most of his ice time. Lindberg was named the third star of the game as he picked up two assists while recording a shot on goal.
It has been a challenging year for Lindberg who had a tough time getting into the lineup after returning from offseason surgery. He has two goals and eight assists for 10 points in 38 games on the season but has three points in his last three games. The Rangers have faith in Lindberg, and he highlighted his ability last season while scoring 13 goals and adding 15 assists for 28 points in 68 games.
4.) Brady Skjei | 1.23
Brady Skjei picked up his 23rd assist and 25th point of the season against Colorado. Skjei moved into 14th place all-time in points among Rangers rookie defensemen and trails Michael Del Zotto by 12 points for most points by a Rangers rookie defenseman in the post-lockout era. During that season Del Zotto averaged 0.46 points per game for the Blueshirts, and that is the pace in which Skjei has been scoring. Defensively Skjei has proven himself to be a reliable defender, and offensively he’s produced more than anyone could have expected. He’s established himself as a top-four defender, and it would be amazing to see what he could do with a consistent defense partner.
5.) Rick Nash | 1.02
Nash had a solid all-around game for the Rangers and was rewarded for his efforts of late. In the third period, Nash started a play in which he drove the puck toward the net. Eventually, the puck ended up on the stick of Derek Stepan who hurled it toward the net before Nash aptly deflected it with his stick.
It was Nash’s 16th goal of the season which is more than he scored all of last season. The Rangers’ veteran winger finished the game with three shots on goal, a 5v5 goal differential of +2 and a 5v5 Corsi differential of +1.
The Rangers’ next game is on Monday at Nationwide Arena vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets.