This isn’t about a goaltending controversy because there is none and this isn’t about the big picture, because for the Rangers these days the only picture that matters is the one right in front of their faces. In other words, the next game and nothing more than the next game. And in the aftermath of Thursday’s 5-2 empty-net abetted 5-2 victory at the Garden over the rock-bottom 0-9-1 Coyotes in which Ondrej Pavelec gave the Rangers a rock-solid 28-save performance, the 30-year-old Czech merits the start for the next game Saturday night in Montreal. Henrik Lundqvist was magnificent in the three playoff games in Montreal last spring, so it’s not that. It is simply that Pavelec was steadier in his second start wearing the Blueshirt than Lundqvist has been in perhaps nine of his 10 this season. And with the edge on which his 3-6-2 Rangers are skating and the edge on which his coaching career in New York likely rests, Alain Vigneault should go with the goaltender who is at, or close to, the top of his game. On this final weekend of October, that would be Pavelec. Winner keeps the net. Indeed, Pavelec should start until his play gives Vigneault a reason to not to go to him. This should not become a timetable thing for the coach to determine when best to go back to Lundqvist. We’re beyond the counting phase after a 2016-17 in which Antti Raanta’s four straight starts in December became screaming headline news. Vigneault, as per the norm, was noncommittal postgame when asked if he’d care to name his starter for Saturday night’s match against the 2-6-1 Habs. Clearly Lundqvist covets the matchup against Carey Price, whom he outplayed decisively in the six-game first-round triumph last spring and outplayed again in the Oct. 8, 2-0 victory at the Garden.
Lundqvist might not be Rangers’ best option right now
New York Post | Oct 27