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Henrik Lundqvist will be a healthy scratch for 4 straight games, an NHL career-1st

The Rangers are rolling with the hot hand, for better or worse.

NHL: New York Rangers at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday evening could bring about something the NHL hasn’t seen in 11 years. If Henrik Lundqvist sits once again this evening as a healthy scratch for the Rangers against the Blackhawks, it will be the first time in his career that he’s sat for four straight games.

Let us rewind a little bit, shall we. Coming into Tuesday, the normal starting goaltender for the Rangers — one who has a career save percentage of .920 with over 700 games played — had been healthy scratched for three games. Lundqvist had put up a save percentage below .900 in two of his last three games, which had given the Rangers management cause to go to backup Antti Raanta to give their starter some rest.

Yet, that rest has turned into an extremely hot run for Raanta, where he’s allowed just one goal in the Rangers’ last three games.

Antti Raanta’s last three starts

Date Goals Allowed Saves Save Percentage
Date Goals Allowed Saves Save Percentage
December 11 0 19 1.000%
December 9 0 26 1.000%
December 8 1 17 0.944%

Now, the Rangers seem to be riding the hot hand in Raanta. Which makes sense. Head coaches across the league subscribe to this goaltender voodoo, and it’s got some merit in it. Plucking Raanta from the starter’s net and putting Lundqvist in cold when the former has got the Rangers on a three-game win streak is a pretty rough sell.

Despite the sound reasoning, it’s coming at Lundqvist’s expense. Lundqvist is a Hall of Famer goaltender, even without a Stanley Cup to his name. There’s a reason he’s never been benched for four straight games while healthy in his 12-year NHL career.

And that will likely change Tuesday night against the Blackhawks, where Raanta will get the net. It’s not a cause for a goaltending controversy in the slightest either. Head coach Alain Vigneault is seemingly doing what is best for the team, and Lundqvist isn’t the Rangers’ problem.

But hey, should the Rangers make the playoffs in a stacked Metropolitan Division, Lundqvist will be that much more rested entering the postseason.