Every good story needs a villain, and for 15 years Islanders fans had that with Henrik Lundqvist. The Islanders and Rangers rivalry is one of the best in the sport, and has had many legendary moments throughout their history.
In the 1970s and 1980s, it was many heated playoff battles between the two cross-town rivals that sparked such a good rivalry, but after the mid 1990s the rivalry was missing a little spark.
That is until Henrik Lundqvist burst onto the scene in 2005 for the Rangers. He was the face of the franchise for over a decade, and in large part was “the guy” when thinking of all those 2000s and 2010s Rangers teams.
Fans don’t hate nobodies, and Lundqvist was quite the opposite. He was a star, an elite level goalie and at times gave the Islanders fits. Like I said, every good story needs a villain and for the Islanders and their fans that was Hank.
Lundqvist finished his career 30-21-7 against the Islanders with a .915 save percentage and a 2.41 goals against average.
Rivalry aside, you have to give credit to Lundqvist for all he was able to accomplish in his career. Yes, he never won a Stanley Cup but oftentimes he carried teams that had no business going far into the playoffs, well beyond where they should’ve finished.
He finished his career with a .921 save percentage and a 2.30 goals against average in the playoffs and is considered one of the best Game 7 performers the sport has ever seen.
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It’s a shame his career has come to an end the way that it did, and yes he was a heated rival for his career but he was the villain. The perfect villain in the latest chapter of the Islanders and Rangers rivalry.