Well, here we are again. Game 82, a matinee against an arch-rival, the Rangers hanging by a thread. Only this year, unlike last year, a win guarantees nothing for your heroes.
As you know by now, Buffalo (8-1-2 in its last 11) beat the Flys in OT last night, and Carolina (8-1-1 in its last 10) pummelled Atlanta (gee, who could lose to Atlanta?).
So it is this simple:
The Rangers (10-4-1 in their last 15) need to win today and for Carolina to lose in regulation, overtime or shootout tonight. …
The Rangers need a point against the Devils and a regulation loss by Carolina against Tampa Bay tonight.
If they both get two or one or zero points, the Rangers are out. And if the Rangers lose in regulation to the Devils, they are out … hours before Carolina even gets to the arena.
By the way, Tampa Bay is the only team to beat Carolina in its last 10 games, but the Lightnings have nothing to play for tonight. And if the Rangers get in, they play Washington in the first round.
Here are today’s pre-game notes, courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Saturday, Apr. 9, 12:30 p.m.
Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
Rangers: 43-33-5 (91 pts)
Devils: 37-38-5 (79 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Apr. 7
The Rangers will face-off against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden (12:30 p.m.), in their 2010-11 regular season finale. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 43-33-5 (91 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Atlanta Thrashers, 3-0, on Thursday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 10-4-1 in their last 15 contests. New York is 5-1-1 in their last seven games at MSG. The Devils enter the contest with a 37-38-5 (79 pts) record to rank 12th in the Eastern Conference, and have won three of their last five games.
TV: MSG Network
12:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig and Brian Leetch
12:30 p.m. – Rangers vs. Devils
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
12:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
12:30 p.m. – Rangers vs. Devils
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. DEVILS:
- All-Time: 97-82-27-5 overall (53-29-20-2 at home, 44-53-7-3 on the road)
- 2010-11: Today is the sixth and final meeting this season, and the third at Madison Square Garden. New York is 3-2-0 thus far, including a 1-1-0 mark at MSG. Four of their five meetings have been decided by two goals or less, including two that were separated by one.
- Last Season: New York was 3-2-1 overall and 1-1-1 at home. Five of their six meetings were decided by two goals or less, including two that required the shootout.
- The Rangers rank 22nd with a 19-17-4 (42 pts) record at home; the Devils rank 26th with a 16-22-2 (34 pts) mark on the road
- New York is 13-9-1 vs. the Atlantic Division; New Jersey is 11-11-1 against the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist is 21-9-5 with a 1.84 goals against average and five shutouts in 35 career regular season games vs. the Devils; Chad Johnson has yet to face the Devils
- Vinny Prospal has registered a team-high, 21 assists and 32 points in 49 career regular season contests vs. New Jersey; Chris Drury leads the team with 13 goals in 41 career regular season games vs. the Devils
- New York lists no former Devils on their roster
- New Jersey lists no former Rangers on their roster
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-13 rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which is tied for second in the league.
- Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in four power play opportunities (5:44) on Thursday vs. Atlanta, and are now 14-72 (19.4%) in their last 20 games. New York ranks 18th overall (49-290, 16.9%) and 16th at home (28-151, 18.5%). The Rangers are 5-15 (12:41) in five-on-three situations (last – 4/3 at PHI), and 0-7 (8:42) when four-on-three (last – 4/3 at PHI). Shorthanded goals allowed (5): 11/20 at MIN (Cullen); 12/5 vs. OTT (Kelly); 1/2 at FLA (Weiss); 1/16 vs. PHI (Richards); 3/20 at PIT (Kunitz).
- Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Thrashers scoreless in two shorthanded situations (1:44) on Thursday at MSG, and are now 18-20 (90.0%) on the penalty kill in the last 10 games. New York ranks ninth overall (215-257, 83.7%) and is tied for 14th at home (98-118, 83.0%). The Rangers are 7-10 (7:21) in three-on-five situations (last – 2/27 vs. TBL), and 4-6 (2:41) when three-on-four (last – 11/15 at PIT). Shorthanded goals for (11): 10/9 at BUF (Dubinsky); 11/5 at NJD (Dubinsky); 11/15 at PIT (Staal); 11/24 at TBL (Boyle); 11/26 at FLA (Prust); 12/5 vs. OTT (Prust); 12/12 vs. WSH (Staal); 12/16 vs. PHX (Prust); 1/7 at DAL (Fedotenko); 2/27 vs. TBL (Prust); 3/15 vs. NYI (Prust).
- Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in two, four-on-four situations (2:16) on Thursday vs. Atlanta, and are now plus-three in 66, four-on-four situations (132:41). The Rangers are even in one, three-on-three situation (2:00) this season (2/17 vs. LAK). Four-on-four goals for (7): 10/18 vs. COL (Frolov); 11/11 vs. BUF (Anisimov); 11/15 at PIT (Callahan); 12/12 vs. WSH (Callahan); 1/5 vs. CAR (Zuccarello); 3/4 at OTT (Stepan); 3/6 vs. PHI (Zuccarello). Four-on-four goals allowed (4): 10/15 vs. TOR (Kessel); 1/1 at TBL (Thompson); 3/15 vs. NYI (Moulson); 4/3 at PHI (Zherdev).
The Rangers own a record of 16-7-2 vs. the Devils since the start of the 2007-08 season, including an 8-3-1 mark at Madison Square Garden during the stretch, dating back to a 2-0 win on Oct. 25, 2007. Henrik Lundqvist, who has started in each of the Rangers’ last 30 meetings with the Devils, has registered a 2.11 goals against average, a .924 save percentage and five shutouts in the 25-game stretch.
Henrik Lundqvist has faced-off against Martin Brodeur in 29 career regular season contests, posting a record of 19-5-5 with a 1.81 goals against average, .932 save percentage and four shutouts over the span.
The Rangers competed in 18 back-to-back sets this season, posting a record of 10-7-1 (3-2-0 at home, 7-5-1 on the road) in the first game and 12-6-0 (5-2-0 at home, 7-4-0 on the road) in the second game of the set. New York out-scored their opponent, 50-35, in the second game. Over the last two seasons, New York is 21-8-2 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including a 9-3-1 mark at MSG and 12-5-1 on the road over the span.
The Blueshirts are the only team in the NHL who are undefeated when leading after two periods, posting a record of 28-0-0 in those contests. The Rangers rank fourth in the league with a plus-21 goal differential in the third period (84 goals for, 63 goals against).
PLACE IN HISTORY:
- The Rangers’ 43 wins are tied for seventh most in franchise history, one win shy of moving into a tie for sixth
- The Blueshirts’ plus-13 rating on special teams is tied for 15th in team history
- Henrik Lundqvist’s 35 wins are tied for seventh in Rangers’ history, one win shy of moving into a tie for sixth
THE PUCK STOPS HERE
Henrik Lundqvist was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week for the period ending Mar. 27 after posting a 2-0-1 record, 0.32 GAA, .987 Sv% and two shutouts in three games. On Mar. 26, Lundqvist stopped 26 shots in a 1-0 victory at Boston to establish a new career-high with his league leading, 11th shutout of the season, while appearing in his 400th career game. His 11 shutouts are tied for second in team history for most shutouts in a season, and are the most by a Ranger since John Ross Roach posted 13 shutouts in 1928-29. He is now one of two active goaltenders with at least two seasons of 10+ shutouts (M. Brodeur – 4). Lundqvist also posted his 30th win of the season on Mar. 18 vs. Montreal to extend his NHL record by recording 30 or more wins in six consecutive seasons to begin his career, and extend his franchise record by posting his sixth straight 30-win season. Lundqvist established a new career-high by appearing in his 22nd consecutive contest (dating back to Feb. 11) on Mar. 31 at Long Island. Lundqvist has appeared in 25 straight games entering tonight’s contest.
New York won its 40th game of the season with a 1-0 victory vs. Florida on Mar. 22. It is the fifth time in the last six years the Rangers posted 40 or more wins in a season, marking only the second time in franchise history the team accomplished the feat (1968-69 – 1973-74). The Blueshirts are one of five Eastern Conference teams to have registered at least five seasons of 40+ wins since 2005-06 (Montreal, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh).
COMPARED TO LAST SEASON…
The Rangers have posted five more wins and five more points compared to last season through 81 games (38-33-10, 86 points in 2009-10), having tallied seven more goals (228 this season, 221 last season) while allowing 20 fewer goals against (196 this season, 216 last season). New York has also shown a six-goal improvement while shorthanded compared to 2009-10 (11 this season, five last season).
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS
The Rangers lead the league in hits (2,293), rank fourth in blocked shots (1,287), are tied for second in shootout wins (nine) and number of players with at least one GWG (18), fourth in shorthanded goals (11) and road wins (24), sixth in goals against (196), and sixth with a plus-32 goal differential.
THE HOT LIST:
- Vinny Prospal has tallied 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in the last 20 games, including four points (three goals, one assist) in the last four contests
- Henrik Lundqvist is 10-4-1 with a 2.11 GAA, .930 Sv% and three shutouts in the last 15 games
- Marc Staal has tallied six assists in his last nine games
- Derek Boogaard (shoulder, 12/9) – 51
- Alex Frolov (knee, 1/8) – 38
- Chris Drury (knee, 2/4) – 27
- Martin Biron (collarbone, 2/28) – 17
- Ryan Callahan (ankle, 4/4) – 1
Total Man-Games Lost: 323
- Apr. 4 – Recalled forward Kris Newbury from Connecticut (AHL)
- Apr. 5 – Assigned forward Kris Newbury to Connecticut (AHL)
- Apr. 8 – Recalled forward Mats Zuccarello from Connecticut (AHL)