On April 13, 1940, Bryan Hextall scored at 2:07 of overtime to beat the Toronto Maple Leaves 3-2 and give the Rangers their third Stanley Cup.
I don’t know how many they’ve won since then, but I’ll try to research it.
Here’s my column on Henrik Lundqvist, from The Journal News and LoHud.com today.
Before I forget, if you still want to join the predictions contest, see the contest thread and post your picks there. Scroll down a few to find it. You can also join the playoff beard contest until Friday (details also below).
And while you’re at it, you know, since you’re not shaving anyway, why not join the Rangers’ Beard-O-Thon to benefit The Garden of Dreams. Here’s the info, from the NYR:
THE RANGERS BEARD-A-THON® IS BACK
Blueshirt Fans Invited to Grow One to Support the Garden of Dreams Foundation
New York, April 12, 2011- The NHL playoffs are like nothing else; the passion, the excitement, and, yes, the playoff beards. In keeping with a great hockey tradition and supporting local charities, the Rangers again invite their fans to “grow one for the team” this playoff season. The Rangers Beard-a-thon® is an opportunity for fans to grow their own playoff beard and raise money for a great cause. All proceeds from the 2011 Rangers Beard-a-thon will benefit the Garden of Dreams Foundation, which makes dreams come true for kids facing obstacles.
This year, several Rangers players will get into the action and grow their own playoff facial hair. Boomer Esiason, host of WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” show on MSG Network and Rangers alumni Adam Graves, Rod Gilbert and Dave Maloney will also participate this year.
Participants in the Rangers Beard-a-thon invite family, friends, and business associates to pledge their playoff beards. By joining the Rangers Beard-a-thon, fans pledge to maintain their beard as long as the Rangers remain in the playoffs. Fans who are unwilling, or unable, to grow playoffs beards, can also pledge their friends or favorite Rangers player or alumni. As an added incentive, the Rangers fan that raises the most money will win exclusive Rangers prizes. All donations to the Rangers Beard-a-thon are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
For more information, or to enroll in the Rangers Beard-a-thon, please log onto www.beardathon.com/rangers.
A few things to remember as we head into the playoffs, though I know some of you won’t believe me. Kevin Lowe taught me this in 1994, and I’ve watched hundreds of series since then and found that it’s absolutely true:
There is NO MOMENTUM from game to game in a playoff series. None. Zero. NONE! I cannot emphasize this enough, and this is where you should be worried with a young team, because it’s a lesson best learned right away. If you lose Game 1, it doesn’t matter going into Game 2. Or vice versa. If you win Game 1, it means nothing going into Game 2. The only time there’s momentum, perhaps, is when a series is 3-0 and the team with 0 is obviously overmatched. The team that wins Game 5 to go ahead 3-2 always seems to have a stranglehold on the series. Yeah, and the team that lost that Game 5 very, very often wins Game 6. I’m just telling you this ahead of time, even though I know the between-games hysteria is what will drive our traffic here, especially in this series, where there is one game in five days in middle of the series.
Also, there is no such thing as home-ice advantage in the playoffs. Last year, home teams were 46-43. And remember that the better team plays more home games. So it’s no advantage whatsoever. I used to think it was an advantage only if a series got to a Game 7. But last year home teams were 0-3 in Game 7s.
And the dumbest thing that you’ll read and hear throughout the playoffs is that Team A stole home-ice advantage with a road win. Or that Team B regained home-ice advantage with a road win. Idiotic stuff. But everybody on TV and a lot of peabrains who type for a living will say it. What are you playing for here? To win four games out of seven, or to be the last team with a home game? It’s ridiculous. In fact, it’s harder and much less likely for the team that hosts Games 1 and 2 to come away 2-0 than it is for the road team to “steal home-ice advantage” by going home with a 1-1 split. And it’s just as hard and less likely for that team to then hold the “home-ice advantage” it stole by winning its two home games.
It’s just difficult to win at home. Teams have the whole, simple, “road game” philosophy down to a science, where they play in your face, take crowds out of games, and put all the pressure on the home team—which in Games 1 and 2 is already the team with the pressure on it, and the idea of a choke in the back of its collective brain.
And because of all of that, I put no credence at all in the idea that winning Game 1 sets any kind of tone in a series. Very often, the underdog wins Game 1 and then goes down in five or six. Game 2 is the far more important game. Stats bear that out, though I don’t have them with me at the moment.
Be back later. I have some Stanley Cup odds to give you. I will also have the pre-game notes from the Rangers, and some other stuff before “It’s Go Time!”