Maybe it was postgame frustrations, maybe it was an attempt at gamesmanship, heck, maybe it's just the New York tabloids looking for a back page in the absence of any off-day news, but some comments from the 25-year-old Montreal Canadiens defenseman -- in which he suggested that at least some of Lundqvist's postseason prowess is "luck" -- have been put under the microscope in recent days.
"Is [Lundqvist] playing well? Yeah, but we're doing a good job. Some of it is luck, as well," Subban told reporters after the Habs' 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 2 Monday evening. "He's getting a little bit lucky, but that's what you need in the playoffs."
Lundqvist's numbers, however, seem to suggest otherwise.
New York Rangers
2013-14 STATS (Regular Season)
The 32-year-old netminder, who has been sensational for the Rangers this spring, made 40 saves Monday night to stake New York to a 2-0 series lead, his fifth consecutive playoff victory. During that span, the former Vezina Trophy winner has posted dazzling numbers that include a 1.20 goals-against average and a .964 save percentage.
Lundqvist laughed and was diplomatic when pressed on the concept of "luck" on Wednesday afternoon after the team's practice. He admitted that some good fortune is necessary for every team at this point of the season, but if he caught wind of Subban's comments, he did not seem to take them personally.
"You definitely need luck. It's a fast game. And there's so many things you can't control as a goalie -- how the game is played, the situations that occur in front of you -- so you have to believe in yourself and you have to work hard and a lot of times you have to earn those bounces," Lundqvist said. "There's definitely some luck, no question."
His teammates did not seem to be perturbed by what Subban said, either, even if they disagreed with the assessment. Backup netminder Cam Talbot, who probably knows better than anyone else in the Rangers' room just how much "luck" goes into posting pristine goaltending stats, said that he finds himself sometimes thinking the opposite.
"I don't know what context [Subban] might have said that in, but [Lundqvist] has been playing that way and that game for the entire playoffs now. If anything he's unlucky, look at some of the bounces he's gotten in the last few games," Talbot said. "The only ones that have gone in off shin pads and stuff like that. I don't think he's a lucky goalie. I think he makes saves because he's in good position and because he's so quick. I don't even know how to respond to that."
Regardless of Subban's feelings, his coach did not seem to agree with the assessment. After Monday's loss, Habs coach Michel Therrien lauded Lundqvist's performance:
"The reason why we lost the game [Monday night] was Lundqvist," Therrien said. "Lundqvist was phenomenal. Phenomenal."
Meanwhile, the Habs are without star netminder Carey Price, who sustained a series-ending injury in Game 1. They went with 24-year-old rookie Dustin Tokarski in Game 2 instead of incumbent backup Peter Budaj.
Game 3 is Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.