clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The follies of The King; Tampa Bay Lightning versus New York Rangers game 4 preview

Giving up 12 goals in 2 games is bad, having given up 28 in six total games against the Tampa Bay Lightning since November is a touch worse.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Where:  Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
When: 8 PM EDT | Tickets: Check availability
Media: NBC Sports Net (cable) | 970 AM WFLA (radio) | Twitter Live Stream
Opponent Coverage: Blueshirt

I'm not fantastic with math but from what Google tells me, goals-against average is calculated by...

For ice hockey, it is calculated per game by dividing the number of goals against by the number of minutes played in the game then multiplied by 60. For a season, divide the total number of goals against by the result of the total number of minutes played (also known as time on ice) multiplied by 60.

That puts the GAA of New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist somewhere north of 4.24 in the Eastern Conference Finals. 183:33 minutes played, 13 goals allowed. That is a boldly above-and-beyond number compared to his 2.25 GAA during the 2014-15 NHL regular seasons, where Hank appeared in 46 games for the Rangers. His numbers for the collective playoffs are still lights-out solid though: a 2.12 GAA, a .926 save percentage...

But he's mortal, that's been proven by being tabbed for 12 goals in 2 games. This mortality defies the hype, just as the mortality of Hart-Trophy-Winner-in-waiting Care Price, who the Lightning usurped in the Atlantic Division Finals (aka Eastern Conference Semifinals, aka Round 2). Again, Carey had himself an impressive playoffs none-the-less: a 2.25 GAA, a .920 save percentage. But a lengthier off-season as the Lightning got past him and beat the Canadiens.

What they're doing to the goalie known as King Henrik goes further than what they did to Carey Price. Sean at invokes Henrik's complete season results against Tampa Bay in his assessment of Lundqvist:

Lundqvist vs TBL, in his last 6 games:

6-5 L

6-2 L

2-1 W

6-3 L

4-3 L

5-1 L

For those with a calculator, that's a 4.74 GAA in his last 6 games vs Tampa. Can Ranger fans admit that maybe Tampa has Hank's number? Someone should check the inside tag on Lundqvist's jersey, and look to see if it says "Made in Tampa" on it.

6 games, 28 goals against, with the tight game being the Marty-return November 26th contest at Amalie Arena. Game 3, Martin St. Louis-return redux was another tight 1-goal game... with 11 goals scored between both clubs.

In Tampa Bay Lightning history there have been goalie incidents where the infallible have been benched to shake up their system and send a message. Oddly, the guy who pulled that act for a playoff team is a link between franchises. John Tortorella gave favor to John Grahame in the 2003 playoffs in an elimination game because of being underwhelmed by then-#1 starter Nikolai Khabibulin's playoff efforts.

The Rangers going from a rattled Henrik Lundqvist to a ready-in-waiting Cam Talbot isn't a bad idea (it's intimidating; the Lightning never faced him during the regular season and Talbot is a key reason the Rangers won the Presidents' Trophy for the best NHL record in 2014-15). It was, however, dismissed by Alain Vigneault yesterday... Perhaps that's a coaching misdirection (it's truly a contemplated direction for the Rangers) or perhaps it's too much loyalty on display?

On the Lightning end, the concern is on the blueline with the hurt of Matt Carle and the playoff-vague assessment of his status for tonight. Unless Carle himself comes out boldly and says he's playing, I expect nothing more than a "game-time decision" to be the listed availability of Carle for tonight. Tampa Bay has a guy in waiting to fill in, but Mark Barberio is in the same boat that Anders Lindback found himself in during the 2013-14 season: a seemingly faithless view from the club for one reason or another, even as a temp substitute when needed most.

After seeing two wide open games, will we likely see a return to a tight, controlled affair tonight? That type o playing style worked most in Lundqvist's favor in game 1, but letting the Rangers dictate style of play works against the Bolts. If it's possible to keep going full-tilt (but, perhaps with more control than game 3) they should.

Other Game Coverage: