Henrik Lundqvist looks set to take the next step in hockey stardom.
After multiple Olympic medals for Sweden, the goalie now looks set for success at the club level. His New York Rangers are set to play in the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals, with game one happening on June 4. It is the 11th time New York is contending for the NHL crown but the first Finals appearance for Lundqvist.
The statistics over the years point to Lundqvist, 32, as an elite netminder. The eight-year pro is the only goalie in history to record at least 30 wins in each of his first seven seasons. The Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s best goaltender in 2012, he was nominated for the award each of his first three seasons. At the international level, he won Olympic gold at the 2006 Turin Games and grabbed silver at the 2014 Sochi Games.
The only thing missing from his resume is a Stanley Cup trophy and the Rangers – having won four times previously – have a legitimate shot to emerge victors this year. Their feisty nature – on display through their two initial, seven-game series – and their ability to rally around Martin St. Louis point to New York being able to halt the dominance of the Western Conference, which has produced a champion three of the last four years.