How to Vote for the NHL’s Most Improved Player: The Most Improved Candidate

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, leads the way with 17 points in 14 games.

Lundqvists team-leading 13 shutouts, the second-highest total in the NHL, were the difference in a 6-3 win against the New Jersey Devils.

He finished tied for fourth in the League with five shutouts in the season series.

“I’ve always been a big believer in the power of being able to control the puck,” Lundqvis head coach Alain Vigneault said.

“When you have the puck, the opposition is afraid to have it in their own zone.

It’s a very good combination.”

Henrik Lundquist, who won a Vezine Trophy for his performance in the 2017 playoffs, led the Rangers in goals against average (2.31) and save percentage (.919) and tied for third in wins (five).

The 34-year-old Lundqvista has gone back-to-back games without allowing a goal in the past five games, the first time he has done so since May 1, 2017.

The Rangers have won four straight and seven of their last eight to improve to 8-1-1 in Lundqvistan absence.

“It’s definitely been a roller coaster ride, but you have to stay positive and believe in each other,” Lundquist said.

The Capitals lost to the Predators, 4-2, on Saturday and are tied with the Sabres for the third-fewest points in the Eastern Conference.

Alexander Ovechkin had five goals and eight points.

He is tied with Pavel Datsyuk for second in the league with 30 goals.

Washington is in first place in the Metropolitan Division and has won four in a row.

“I think we’re still working hard,” Ovechuk said.

The Capitals are also one of only three teams not to have scored fewer than five goals in a game.

“We just need to get back to playing like we’ve played for the last two games,” Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik said.

New York is coming off a 4-1 loss to the Devils on Wednesday.

“The way we played tonight, I thought we played our hearts out,” coach Barry Trotz said. 

The Rangers defeated the New York Islanders 3-2 on Wednesday, but that was the last game they played in a new home rink before a six-game road trip.

They will play a pair of home games in Pittsburgh, then host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. 

“I’m really excited to get our season back on track,” defenseman Brad Richards said.

He leads the Rangers with 18 points in 23 games, which ranks seventh in the National Hockey League.

Richards has 11 goals and 14 assists in 16 games this season.

“We are getting better every game, and we’re just going to continue to get better,” Richards said of the Rangers. 

Vigneault and Trotz also have been vocal about the need for a better goaltender.

“The goaltending situation is always the biggest concern for me,” Trotz told reporters on Friday.

“There are so many factors that go into the game.

You need a strong goalie, you need good goaltending, you have great goaltending.

We have that going on, and if you look at the last few years, we have a lot of them.

I’ve never had a problem with the quality of the goaltending.”

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