When Henrik Lundqvist was ruled out following a 6-3 win over the Florida Panthers – a game after he was initially injured – many expected the Rangers to drop back a bit from their hectic pace. The opposite has been true, largely thanks to a Rangers offense that initially stood up and scored 33 goals in a seven game stretch through the middle of February, followed up by some stellar play by Cam Talbot and Mackenzie Skapski in relief.
In the twenty games to date that the Rangers have played without their highest paid player, they’ve gone a startling 15-2-3, securing 33 of a possible 40 points or an 0.825 ppint percentage.
Still, with the post-season looming, and the recent losses of Kevin Klein and Martin St. Louis to injury, the return of their longest tenured player will be a boost to the team as it closes in on a #1 seed in the East.
The Hockey News reported earlier this week that the team was targeting next Tuesday’s game against the Kings for Lundqvist’s return, and with medical clearance given yesterday, it appears that is a likely scenario – barring no other setbacks in the intervening games.
If he does come back on the 24th, that will give him up to 11 games to get back into game shape ahead of the playoffs, a seeming formality for qualification now, with the team needing just 10 points with 14 games remaining.