A lot of times, you get to the Stanley Cup Final in part because of your goaltender. This is true for the New York Rangers, as Henrik Lundqvist has lived up his “King” nickname and been the best netminder of these playoffs. Jonathan Quick, on the other hand, has gone in the other direction compared to what he did in 2012 during the Kings’ Cup conquest.
It’s a tale of two goaltenders currently heading in opposite directions. The Rangers have been winning because of Lundqvist, while the Kings are here in the Final in spite of Quick.
Who has the best goalie?
Lundqvist currently leads all goaltenders in playoff save-percentage with .935 even strength save-percentage. The way he’s playing coming in will help the Rangers, even more so if this series happens to go seven games, where Lundqvist is a career 5-1 with a .965 save-percentage.
Many are already writing off the Rangers’ chances in this series, but Lundqvist is a reason to give New York hope. He’s capable of and will likely need to steal a game or two if New York is be the first to four wins in this series.
In 2012, Quick won the Conn Smythe because of the gaudy numbers he posted -- .946 even strength save percentage, 1.41 goals against average and three shutouts. Earlier in the postseason he was in the Conn Smythe conversation, but unless he blanks the Rangers four times en route to another Cup, the MVP will go to one of his teammates should they be victorious.
This hasn’t been the best postseason for Quick, but look at the Kings’ opponents through three rounds. The Sharks, Ducks and Blackhawks were among the top six teams in scoring during the regular season. New York is scoring 2.7 goals per game these playoffs, a little more than their 2.61 over their first 82 games. If the LA defense can clamp down on New York's scorers, he might fare a bit better this series.
Momentum is only good until the puck is dropped for the next game, but confidence lingers. Lundqvist has played strong, while Quick has struggled at times. Does that all reset with a new series?
Advantage: New York.