The curtain has officially come down.
After 15 years, a combined 1,004 regular-season and playoff games and 459 regular season wins, Henrik Lundqvist’s tenure on Broadway has gone dark.
On Wednesday, the Rangers officially parted ways with the long-time netminder — and, let’s be honest, future Hall of Famer. The separation capped off a span that saw the Rangers go from playoff outsiders to three wins from a Stanley Cup with a few conference finals and a Presidents’ Trophy mixed in.
But like all good things, this had to come to an end and with the next generation of Rangers goalies — Igor Shesterkin and Alexander Georgiev — waiting offstage to take King Henrik’s throne.
For 15 seasons, he headlined the marquee at Madison Square Garden. Here’s a list of 10 moments and memories of his time as a Blueshirt.
10 memorable moments from Henrik Lundqvist’s New York Rangers career
1. Draft day 2000
In the same year the New York Islanders drafted Rick DiPietro first overall, the Rangers waited until the seventh round to nab their future netminder.
And he gave us one of the best draft-day pictures, ever:
2. Arrival of “The King”
It had been much-anticipated since he was drafted five years prior and tore up the Swedish Hockey League. On Oct. 8, 2005, Lundqvist finally stepped between the pipes for the New York Rangers against the New Jersey Devils. While he didn’t earn the win, losing in overtime after stopping 24 of 27 shots, he would make his Madison Square Garden debut five days later and in front of the faithful beat the Devils 4-1.
Lundqvist was officially anointed “The King” by the New York Post’s Larry Brooks after backstopping the team to a 4-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Oct. 16, 2005.
Brooks wrote regarding the game’s No. 1 star: “Fast becoming a Broadway folk hero, King Henrik of Sweden took an abbreviated victory lap around the ice while raising his stick and glove in a return salute to the fans who alternately chanted, “Henrik” and “Lundqvist” throughout the match in which the goaltender made several nifty stops among his 28 saves.”
2. The King is crowned
Three times a bridesmaid (2006, 2007, 2008), Lundqvist finally became a bride in 2011-12 when his masterful season was capped off by his lone Vezina Trophy win. He finished with a 39-18-5 record with eight shutouts and a .930 save percentage and a 27.57 Goals Saved Above Average.
“There are a couple of my heroes on here,” Lundqvist said regarding the trophy back in 2012. “Patrick [Roy], Dominik [Hasek] and Marty [Brodeur] have had great careers, so it feels good. It’s been a goal for me.”
Lundqvist also finished second in 2013, fourth in 2011, fifth in 2015 and sixth in 2009, 2010 and 2014. That’s 10 straight years of finishing in the top-6 for the Vezina Trophy. Unreal.
3. Inches from Stanley
It was an unbelievable run in 2014. A 26-save performance in a 2-1 Game 7 win over the Flyers in the first round. A 35-save performance in a 2-1 Game 7 win against the Penguins. A .922 save percentage in a six-game set against the Canadiens.
Henrik Lundqvist’s 4 year playoff peak from 2011-2015:
•.930 save %
•In 19 games facing elimination: stopped 607 of 637 shots (.953 save %)
•In 7 Game 7s: stopped 202 of 209 (.967 save %)
•Made it to 1 Stanley Cup Final, 2 Conference Finals
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) September 30, 2020
Then came the final. He stopped 40 of 43 shots in Game 1 and 39 of 44 in Game 2 — both overtime losses, the latter in double-overtime. After a 3-0 loss in Game 3, Lundqvist was masterful in net as he helped the Rangers stave off elimination with 40 stops on 41 shots.
But then came heartbreak in Game 5. On the 51st shot of the night, Alec Martinez sent the puck past Lundqvist in double overtime, thus giving the Los Angeles Kings the Stanley Cup and leading to not only this iconic picture:
But this one that tore at the heartstrings:
4. For the love of Crosby
Well, there’s at least one team we know Lundqvist won’t sign with if he chooses to continue his NHL career. As everyone knows, he and Sidney Crosby had a tenuous relationship — highlighted by this moment during that postseason series in 2014, which cost Lundqvist a cool $5,000.
5. When Mats left
Your heart had to break for Lundqvist at the trade deadline in 2019. When the Rangers traded Mats Zuccarello, he not only lost a longtime teammate and friend, but its probably when he realized his time was winding down on Broadway.
6. Angry Hank
In 2016 against Pittsburgh, Lundqvist literally flipped over the net, and if you know how heavy a hockey net is — especially anchored down — that’s no easy task. Then-head coach Alain Vigneault said postgame that he did it to stop play because he was hurt. But, of course, angry Hank made the rounds.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him that mad,” said then-teammate Derek Stepan.
8. Record-making machine
Lundqvist currently sits sixth on the NHL’s all-time wins list with 459, seven back of the only other active player in the Top 10 (Marc-Andre Fleury, 466). Hailing from Sweden, his wins total is the most by a non-North American born goalie, and he reached 400 wins faster than any goaltender in NHL history.
Along with Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur, the trio are the only netminders in NHL history to earn 30 or more wins in 11 or more seasons and is the only goalie to win 30 or more in his first seven seasons and in 11 of first 12. He also holds more than 50 records for the Original Six franchise.
A sampling of his New York Rangers records
|Assists by a goaltender||1||26|
|Highest save percentage, season||1||.930 (2011-12)|
|Most games played, season||1||73 (2009-10)|
9. Style icon
Stylish is an understatement when it comes to Lundqvist. Always impeccably dressed, he was a trendsetter for not only the Rangers but the NHL and the world as a whole. He had the whole look: the gelled back hair, the clothes — and he ranked among the top fashion icons in New York City, which is not an easy thing to do.
10. But in the end, it’s all about the saves
There have been a lot, but here are a few of the most memorable.
2012 Winter Classic
2014 Eastern Conference Final: Game 6