The top five moments of Henrik Lundqvist's Rangers career

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Henrik Lundvist’s No. 30 will be retired by the Rangers on Friday night at Madison Square Garden, where some of his many highlight-reel saves will be played on the big screen above center ice before his banner is lifted into the rafters at The World’s Most Famous Arena.

It is nearly impossible to encapsulate Lundqvist’s legendary career with a compilation of his flashiest saves, but we have compiled five of his most memorable moments to sum up his 15 years in New York. Here are the ones that stand out most:

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Winning in Winter

Lundqvist was money in the playoffs throughout his career but was he ever better than when the Rangers and their opponents took the fight outside? It’s hard to argue, as Lundqvist was a perfect 4-0-0 in outdoor games, becoming one of the best performers the Winter Classic games have ever seen.

Lundqvist’s winter legend began in 2012, when New York visited Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to take on the Flyers in Lundqvist’s first Winter Classic of his career. With the rangers clinging to a one-goal lead with less than 20 seconds to go, Lundqvist stopped Danny Briere’s penalty shot to seal the win. In all, Lundqvist finished his career with a 1.98 GAA and a .934 save percentage in his four outdoor games.

Vezina

Lundqvist retiring with just one Vezina trophy feels like a travesty, but he was finally acknowledged as the best goalie in the NHL for the 2011-12 season, when he won a career-high 39 games and posting a career-best .930 save percentage. His 1.97 GAA was also the best of his illustrious career, and he was finally recognized for being a generational netminder after being nominated three times in previous years.

Leading the comeback charge

It looked like the Rangers might not get a chance at the Stanley Cup in 2014 after they fell behind 3-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, but Lundqvist lifted New York to a spirited comeback, capped off by another legendary playoff performance in game seven.

Lundqvist never allowed more than one goal in each of the Rangers three straight wins to take that series, and in game seven in Pittsburgh, he stopped 35 of 36 shots, highlighted by two saves in the third period where he lost his stick.

Standing tall in the Stanley Cup

Lundqvist’s lone Stanley Cup appearance didn’t go his way, as Jonathan Quick and the Kings disposed of the Rangers in five games in 2014. But, as it often was during Lundqvist’s career, he did all he could to carry New York to victory, but didn’t have the help around him.

Trailing 3-0 in the series and looking to avoid being the first team swept out of the Stanley Cup in 16 years, Lundqvist stood on his head and stopped 40 of 41 shots to get the Blueshirts a 2-1 victory in The Garden. Lundqvist blanked the Kings in the third period and outdueled Quick, who had stymied the Rangers’ scoring attack all series.

Two nights later in Los Angeles, Lundqvist again did all he could to be the hero for the Rangers, making 48 saves on 51 shots, but the Kings secured the win, and the series, in overtime. It was the third game of the series to be decided in overtime, and while it was a bitter end for Lundqvist, it highlighted just how great he had to be to even put the Rangers in position to win their first Cup in 20 years.

Ticket punched

After getting manhandled by the Canadiens in game five of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals, Lundqvist and the Rangers returned home to try and finish off the series in game six. With no room for error, Lundqvist turned away all 18 shots he faced in a 1-0 victory, but one of those shots will forever be the introduction to Lundqvist’s career highlight reel.

With the game scoreless late in the second period, Lundqvist made a flailing blocker save on Thomas Vanek that sent The Garden crowd into a frenzy, and put the Rangers on their way to one of their most memorable wins in franchise history.

Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1

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