From Henrik Lundqvist’s point of view, the Toronto Maple Leafs are for real.
“They’re good,” said the New York Rangers goalie. “They’re quick. I still think I have to be better because of that. They’re a sharp team and have some really skilled players up front.”
The Rangers goalie will be in net against the Leafs on Wednesday in the Manhattan end of this home-and-home series that has a post-season feel to it. Both teams are currently in playoff positions.
The Rangers learned in their 4-3 loss Monday at the Air Canada Centre that the Maple Leafs are a unique opponent. The Leafs don’t take a lot of shots, typically. They are patient in the offensive zone. They are opportunistic on breakouts. And they’re fast.

“They did expose us a couple of times because of their quickness,” said Lundqvist. “I just need to make better reads and be a little bit faster. You try to work it through. I felt a little slow. But they’re good.
“Because of their quickness, you have to be really careful with the puck. I need to play my game and be a little sharper and make better reads on some plays. They’re really good at finding seams and just making good plays right in front of the net.”
The Rangers would be smart to go into Wednesday’s rematch with a wounded-animal approach. They’re only two points up on ninth-place New Jersey. They essentially blew a point on Monday after rallying from two goals down. They shouldn’t take anything, even home-ice advantage, for granted.
“The last two weeks have felt like playoff games,” said Rangers winger Rick Nash. “We’re a desperate team and we need all the points we can get.
“We had a couple of breakdowns. If we clean that up, we’ll be all right,” added Nash. “At this point of the season, we have to be a lot more desperate and not having those defensive zone breakdowns.”