Lundqvist robs Steen with paddle stop, has another save of the year candidate

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist playing out of his mind this season and turned in another save of the year candidate with a stretching stick save on St. Louis’ Alexander Steen. Heading into Thursday, Lundqvist was third in both goals-against average and save percentage, and was second in the NHL with eight wins.

This is getting crazy already. Not even one quarter of the way through the season, New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist has made at least four or five saves that could stand as the save of the year. His latest robbery? A stick stop on St. Louis’ Alexander Steen.

Not even five minutes into the contest, Rangers center Derick Brassard found the back of the net behind Blues goaltender Jake Allen to give New York an early 1-0 lead. But less than one minute later, with St. Louis attacking, the Blues had a shot to tie it up thanks to a puck that fell fortuitously onto the tape of Steen. With Lundqvist down in his butterfly trying to block the shot from the blueline, he watched as Steen scooped the puck and turned to fire it into the empty net to Lundqvist’s right. And then the stick came down:

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That’s Rangers play-by-play commentator Sam Rosen you hear saying the puck glanced off the post, and can you blame him for that call? From the original camera angle it does, indeed, look like Steen misses wide. But after a stoppage, you get a better look at Lundqvist’s larceny.

Listen to the crowd when they see the replay of Lundqvist’s stop. The audible, “Ohh!” ringing through Madison Square Garden is a better explanation of the save than anyone could give. It was a jaw-dropper.

Heading into action Thursday, Lundqvist ranked third in the NHL with a goals-against average of 1.65, third with a save percentage of .949 and second with eight victories. Lundqvist is also coming off of a 33-save shutout against the Carolina Hurricanes.