Lundqvist, 34, played two preseason games in preparation for the World Cup

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Team Sweden played its first game in the World Cup of Hockey without No. 1 goaltender Henrik Lundqvist due to illness, the team announced Sunday.

The New York Rangers were without goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and forward Rick Nash as they lost 4-3 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

Only days before training camp opened for Team Sweden, there was a report that Lundqvist had suffered an injury and was questionable for the World Cup. After practice, he admitted to being sore since he took a puck in the ribs last week but said it will not affect his play.

“It always happens,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s World Cup or the start of the NHL season. This is a tough sport, and people think you just snap your fingers and you’re ready to play. No, that’s not how it works. You put a lot of pressure on your body physically and mentally, and injuries are a part of it.

Because it’s not just about whether Lundqvist can start his 112th straight postseason game for the Rangers on Saturday in a game that now looms as crucial after their 5-2 drubbing at the hands of the Penguins on Wednesday night. Rather, the bigger picture of what Lundqvist means to this team and the ever-shortening window for both he and his teammates has been brought, if you will pardon the expression, more fully into focus by Lundqvist’s uncertain status.

By Friday afternoon, we should have a much better idea whether Henrik Lundqvist will able to return to the New York Rangers goal and continue a playoff streak that is among the longest in NHL history.

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New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will be out two to three weeks with a lower-body injury, the team announced Saturday. Lundqvist, 34, played two preseason games in preparation for the World Cup. He allowed five goals on 22 shots in the preseason finale against Team Europe. He represented Sweden at three Olympic Winter Games, leading Tre Kronor to Olympic gold in Turin 2006 and to a silver medal in Sochi three years ago — where he was voted onto the all-star team.

Since the start of the 2012 playoffs, no goaltender has proven more reliable with the season on the line. In that span, Lundqvist boasts a 15-5 record in elimination games, with two of those losses coming in overtime. His save percentage in those nhl jerseys cheap¬†games is an eye-popping .945, which rises to .953 if you don’t count the blowout 6-3 season-ending loss he sustained last year in Game 5 of the Rangers’ first-round series against the Penguins.¬†

A goaltender should be fair game for a legal hit when he leaves the crease. A team sport, especially hockey, shouldn’t have different rules for different players. And if goalies were eligible for contact, they wouldn’t be playing the puck as often and we’d see an increase in offense. However, Rule 42.1 clearly states a goalie is “not fair game” when outside the crease, so the Dallas Stars’ Cody Eakin will have the book thrown at him for violently crashing into New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist behind the net during the first period of New York’s 2-0 victory Thursday. Eakin was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. Supplemental discipline is on the way, and Eakin should receive more than a one-game suspension. It looked like he didn’t attempt to avoid a collision and left his feet at the point of contact, sending Lundqvist into a tailspin. Lundqvist left the game but was able to return and finished with 27 saves and a shutout in his first start in four games.

Laine’s best scoring chance of the game came with 40.2 seconds remaining in the second period. Finland was on the power play when Laine unleased a one-timer from the top of the left faceoff circle. It was a precise shot to the top right corner, but Lundqvist snared it with a highlight-reel glove save.

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The NHL has suspended Stars forward Cody Eakin for four games for charging Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist during the teams’ game Thursday in Dallas. Lundqvist, who missed Sweden’s first game of the tournament due to an illness, struggled in pre-tournament competition, posting a 4.49 goals-against average and a .778 save percentage in two appearances. The Rangers goaltender was pulled from last Wednesday’s game against Team Europe after allowing five goals on 22 shots in a 6-2 loss.

“I felt pretty rusty out there the first period, not as aware as I wanted to be, but I got some really good help with some loose pucks and stuff like that,” Lundqvist said. “Second and third, I felt more comfortable, but it was fun. I really enjoyed being out there playing. Big game, important game, not being able to play the first, you never know where it’s going when you’re not healthy.”

New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist returned to practice Friday after being poked in the eye area by a teammate’s stick in Game 1 of the team’s first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

Lundqvist remains a game-time decision for Game 2 on Saturday. If he plays, it would mark the 112th straight playoff start for Lundqvist, a streak that began in 2006. “Obviously, it was an important game for me,” Lundqvist said. “You try to build your game, but at the same time, you have to make sure you’re helping your team. It’s an important game. You can’t just go out there and try to feel good and start building your game. It’s too late for that. I had two games to do that, and now it’s for real. You just try to be really focused and do your best out there.”

“We had many good scoring chances, but he was playing awesome in the net, so we couldn’t score,” Laine said. “When you don’t score any goals it’s hard to win a game. We were playing pretty well, but the right team won.”

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