NEW YORK -- Henrik Lundqvist admits he never took the time to appreciate individual accomplishments early in his career. Back then, he was always focused on the next game.
Now that Lundqvist won his 300th game to put him one victory shy of Mike Richter's New York Rangers record, and tied Ed Giacomin for the franchise mark with 49 shutouts, he's allowed himself to be more nostalgic.
Goalie - NYR
GAA: 2.50 | SVP: 0.916
"Coming into the League you're so focused on getting better and keep pushing yourself. Now you let yourself enjoy where you are a little more," Lundqvist said after earning the historic win by defeating the Detroit Red Wings
3-0 Sunday afternoon. "You still want to push yourself, but at the same time you want to enjoy the ride. So I definitely think back about how it all happened. You do it sometimes. It's fun."
The win is made more special by the fact it came with the only NHL team Lundqviset has ever known. His first NHL win came on Oct. 13, 2005 against the New Jersey Devils, and that first win sparked a 10-3-1 career-opening run that made him the toast of Broadway. In the years since, Lundqvist's appreciation for the Rangers' history has grown as he's become a more prominent part of it.
"The Rangers are so good at paying tribute to the old guys and the legends they've had here. They come in every once in a while and you see them. You constantly get reminded of what they did for this organization, which I think is great," Lundqvist said. "It's very special when you're up there with them. It's just a great challenge to try to push yourself even more and keep it going. It's definitely a great feeling when you look at the numbers and you see what they accomplished."
The win against Detroit allowed New York to leapfrog the Philadelphia Flyers for second in the Metropolitan Division. Lundqvist has led that surge. He played all six games with Sweden to win a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and has started 21 of New York's past 26 games. But for a moment Sunday afternoon, the workhorse goalie took the time to appreciate his place in Rangers history.
"This organization has been around for so long. To be up there with them is really special. I've been lucky," he said. "I've been able to be here for nine years and had some great defensemen in front of me. There's a good structure. It's a lot of fun, though."