Henrik Lundqvist Remains the Key for the New York Rangers

Rob CristinoCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2009

UNIONDALE, NY - DECEMBER 17:  Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers tends net against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum on December 17, 2009 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

For the first time since mid-October, the New York Rangers have strung together a three-game win streak.

Before this streak, the Rangers had won back-to-back games only once in two months since their 7-1 start came to an end.

Everything had fallen apart all at once for New York.

But the one consistent theme behind their last three games has been solid goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, who has stopped 127 of the last 133 shots that he faced.

Lundqvist has now made 30-plus saves in three-straight games and he is starting to look like the goaltender Rangers fans have been used to seeing in net. He made 35 saves in the win over the New York Islanders, 36 saves in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and 32 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.

Not to say Lundqvist has been horrible this season, but he definitely hasn't been at his best, until recently. Then again, it's hard to be consistent in goal when the defense is frequently turning the puck over and allowing plenty of scoring opportunities.

Through the worst, Lundqvist has managed to maintain a respectable GAA at 2.50, though, his record is far from pretty (14-13-3).

King Henrik has been stealing the show and some wins along the way…similar to what he did for New York last season when they scrapped together every point possible in order to make a late playoff push.

A lot will be riding on the play of the star goaltender in New York.

Whether the Rangers make the playoffs or not will all stem from how Lundqvist plays down the stretch and how many points he can steal away.

Aside from the performance by Lundqvist over these last three games, the Rangers have scored more than two goals in two of their last three games…something that the team has struggled to do all season long.

If the Rangers want to enjoy this ride, they must continue generating offense and finding the back of the net. The Rangers let slip way too many scoring chances and have failed to finish more times than can be counted. A little offense and some great goaltending can go a long way.

I’m not saying everything is perfect right now, but it's certainly a big step in the right direction. If Lundqvist can continue to play on the top of his game and the Rangers start scoring more than two goals a game, things may slowly start to right themselves in Ranger Land.