Rangers star goalie Henrik Lundqvist returned to practice just two days after that scary, head-over-heels fall he took late in the third period of the New York’s 5-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday night.
The frightening tumble took place as Lundqvist sprinted out of his net to clear a loose puck and was run into by a charging Matt Calvert, flipping the netminder head over heels. He landed on his back and was down for a few minutes, but continued in the game. Then, he was sidelined to fully recover.
"It hurt pretty much everywhere — my foot, my back, my neck. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow," Lundqvist said after the contest.
The King had had enough and was ready to return to practice at least. But he wants more... Lundqvist will not dress on Saturday, when the Rangers host the Buffalo Sabres at the MSG, but with just eight games left and the Rangers not heading to the postseason, Lundqvist said he never considered shutting himself down for the season.
“No,’’ he said. “No, no, no, no, no, no. You want to be here. You want to battle. You want to play games, compete. We’re obviously not in the situation we want to be in, but you’ve got to see every game as an opportunity to compete, and try to get a win.’’
If you ask coach Alain Vigneault, who confirmed that Alexandar Georgiev will be starting against the Sabres with Ondrej Pavelec as his backup, why the Rangers are not shutting down their star goalie for the remainder of the regular calendar, his answer says it all.
“You go tell that to Hank,” the coach said to The New York Post with a laugh. “Good luck. I’m not doing that. Not a chance I’m doing that.”
“As soon as he’s ready to play — it might be a couple more days, it might be longer, I don’t know — but he’s going to get some games,’’ Vigneault added. “He wants to play. We want to see Alex, so there’s that fine balancing act there, and that’s what we’re going to do.’’
Georgiev played Thursday, when the Rangers lost to Philadelphia, 4-3, and Pavelec, recovered from a knee injury, backed him up.
We will see what the Rangers - but most importantly - what Lundqvist decides to do for the rest of the season.