With Cam Talbot razor-sharp, Henrik Lundqvist to get less net time
Can less be more for Henrik Lundqvist, now in the ninth season of his career, in an Olympic year when he will compete for Team Sweden and when he is not in vintage form and his backup is red-hot?
A look at the 2011-12 regular season and coach Alain Vigneault's career in Vancouver could be instructive.
Lundqvist, 31, made just 62 starts in 2011-12, when the Rangers soared to the Eastern Conference finals and he won the Vezina Trophy. He was 39-18-5 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. In 20 playoff games, he had a 1.82 GAA.
Cam Talbot, who played last night, will start up to 20 games, Vigneault has said, leaving 62 or so for Lundqvist.
In Vancouver, with Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider sharing net time, the Canucks won 54 games in 2010-11 and 51 games in 2011-12; Luongo appeared in 60 games in '10-11, and 55 in '11-12; Schneider, now with the Devils, appeared in 25 and 33.
Lundqvist (8-11-0, 2.51, .917) supported Vigneault's choice, putting the onus on himself to raise the level of his play.
"This game is not about what you did last year or eight years or last month, it's about now, and this probably is the best decision for the team," Lundqvist said. "I just have to see it as a challenge for me to reach my top level . . . I want to push myself to play great, that's what I expect of myself."
Taylor Pyatt, who has one assist in 18 games, and defenseman John Moore were healthy scratches for the second straight game . . . Derek Dorsett's sprained wrist is not 100 percent, but he said Sunday's day off helped . . . Forward Evander Kane (lower body) was sidelined for the Jets.