After being eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday, New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is heading to Cologne, Germany to play for the Swedish national team at the 2017 IIHF World Championships.
Lundqvist will travel on Friday and join his twin brother Joel Lundqvist – who is also Sweden’s captain – along with the rest of the team as they prepare to face Italy.
“I haven’t played with [Joel] in 12 years,” Lundqvist told NHL.com on Thursday. “I see this as an opportunity to play for my country one more time and with my brother. So I’m going to go there and I’m going to try to finish really strong this season.”
Lundqvist is expected to make his first appearance in goal for the Swedes this Sunday against Denmark.
The Ottawa Senators ended the Rangers’ season in six games, with the knockout blow coming on the ice at Madison Square Garden in the form of a 4-2 loss on Tuesday. Lundqvist finished his 2017 NHL playoff run with a .927 save percentage with 2.25 goals allowed per game.
Lundqvist has been Sweden’s go-to goalie in Olympic tournaments, but he hasn’t played in a world championships since 2008. With the NHL deciding to sit out the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games in South Korea, these world championships could be the last time for Lundqvist to play for his national team.
Sweden will hope to benefit from having Lundqvist back in net. Playing in Group A, Sweden needs to finish the preliminary round fourth or better to advance to the quarterfinals – they are currently fourth with two wins and two losses and three prelim games left to play.
One NHL superstar not making the trip to Worlds, Washington Capital Alex Ovechkin has decided not to play citing a “lower-body injury” according to the Russian Hockey Federation. NHL.com points out the injury has not been confirmed by the Capitals, but Ovechkin did come off the ice, with help, after taking a low hip check from Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Team Russia is currently undefeated in Group A at the 2017 World Championships with three prelim games to play.
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