Happy Tax Day! The crooks.
Some good stuff last night. I like it when guys fight during the playoffs (not the staged fights, or the message-sending in lopsided games). Somebody, years ago, decided “oooh, you can’t fight during the playoffs … you have to be disciplined.” It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?
I mean, you have to be careful not to get an instigator penalty or to be suckered in by a guy who’s going to turtle. But if things get hot, what the heck, drop ’em like a man and get it done. We spend six months accepting fighting as “part of the game.” Then when games mean the most, and when they are their most competitive, and when anger builds up in a playoff series, they’re not supposed to fight anymore? Idiotic.
I also think the kid Stoll (he’s not related to Staal, Stall or Stahl, is he?) has to be suspended for that cheap head-shot from behind on White in the Kings-Sharks game. I doubt the NHL will have the onions to do anything about it.
I’ve got an important meeting this morning. Have to introduce Mr. T to Mr. Sasquatch. Be back this afternoon, and then all night and all tomorrow and, of course, all of Sunday at MSG, etc.
Quick question for you guys: I normally write my game reviews after midnight or so, then schedule them to go up around 6-7 a.m. Would you prefer if I posted them right away (it is the internet, after all)? Does it matter? Do you like to go to bed and wake up with a new post?
Here are the pre-game notes, courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at WASHINGTON CAPITALS
2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Quarterfinal, Game Two
Friday, Apr. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Verizon Center• Washington, DC
Rangers (Regular Season): 44-33-5 (93 pts)
Capitals (Regular Season): 48-23-11 (107 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m.), in Game Two of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal match-up. The Blueshirts opened their Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2-1 overtime loss vs. the Capitals in Game One Wednesday at Verizon Center, marking the first time in five years the Rangers dropped their first game of the opening round (2006 Playoffs). The Rangers enter the contest with a 197-213-8 record all-time in 418 playoff contests, including an 88-131-6 mark on the road. New York has posted a 45-45-2 record all-time in Game Twos of playoff series.
New York entered the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs having posted a record of 44-33-5 (93 pts) overall with a 24-16-1 mark on the road in the regular season. The Blueshirts are one of seven Eastern Conference teams to have registered at least five seasons of 40+ wins since 2005-06, and one of five Eastern Conference teams to advance to the playoffs in five of the six seasons (no team has advanced to the playoffs in all six seasons). Compared to last season, the Rangers registered six more wins and six more points (38-33-11, 87 points in 2009-10), having tallied 11 more goals (233 this season, 222 last season) while allowing 20 fewer goals against (198 this season, 218 last season). New York also posted a six-goal improvement while shorthanded compared to 2009-10 (11 this season, five last season). The Rangers’ 44 wins tied for sixth most in team history, and their 24 road wins tied the franchise record (1993-94).
TV: MSG Network
7:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig, Mike Keenan and Ron Duguay
7:30 p.m. – Rangers at Capitals
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
7:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:30 p.m. – Rangers at Capitals
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
ALL-TIME RANGERS PLAYOFF RECORDS:
- Home: 109-82-2
- Away: 88-131-6
- Goals for: 1,168
- Goals against: 1,202
ALL-TIME PLAYOFF RECORDS – RANGERS vs. CAPITALS
The Rangers and Capitals are meeting in the playoffs for the sixth time overall and the second time in three years. Their last postseason encounter was an Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series in 2009, won by Washington 4-3. Overall, the Blueshirts have a 2-3 playoff series record vs. the Capitals, posting a 14-16 mark in 30 postseason contests.
RANGERS vs. CAPITALS:
- All-Time (Regular Season): 83-84-18-5 overall (46-37-9-2 at home; 37-47-9-3 on the road)
- 2010-11: The Rangers posted a 3-1-0 record vs. the Capitals in their regular season series, including a 2-0-0 mark at Verizon Center. New York out-scored Washington, 18-6, led by Brian Boyle’s seven points (three goals, four assists). The Rangers held the Capitals to one goal or less three times, including two shutouts by Henrik Lundqvist.
- Over the last two seasons, the Blueshirts have tallied 10 power play goals in 30 opportunities (33.3%) in their last eight regular season games vs. Washington, including six goals in 17 power play attempts (35.3%) in four games in 2009-10.
- Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 3-5 record with a 2.75 goals against average and one shutout in eight career playoff contests vs. Washington
- Vinny Prospal leads the Rangers with six goals, eight assists and 14 points in 15 career playoff contests vs. Washington
- New York lists one former Capital on their roster: Steve Eminger (2002-03 – 2007-08)
- Washington lists two former Rangers on their roster: Mike Knuble (1998-99 – 1999-00); Tom Poti (2001-02 – 2005-06)
The Blueshirts posted a plus-13 rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which tied for second in the league.
- Power Play: New York did not tally a goal in two power play opportunities (4:00) in Game One on Wednesday at Washington. The Rangers ranked 18th overall (49-290, 16.9%) and 21st on the road (21-139, 15.1%) in the regular season, and registered a 19.4% (14-72) success rate in their final 21 games. The Blueshirts were 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 Capitals scoreless in two shorthanded situations (4:00) in Game One on Wednesday at Washington. New York tied for ninth overall (215-257, 83.7%) and ranked sixth on the road (117-139, 84.2%) in the regular season, and surrendered just two goals in 20 attempts (90.0%) on the penalty kill in their final 11 games. The Rangers were 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: The Rangers and Capitals did not skate in a four-on-four situation in Game One on Wednesday at Washington. During the regular season, New York was plus-three in 67, four-on-four situations (134:41), and 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).
Seven Rangers made their playoff debut in Game One at Washington on Wednesday – Brian Boyle, Matt Gilroy, Brandon Prust, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Sauer, Derek Stepan, and Mats Zuccarello. Gilroy (goal) and Prust (assist) also registered their first career postseason point in the contest.
The Blueshirts were the only team in the NHL who were undefeated when leading after two periods this season, posting a record of 29-0-0 in those contests. The Rangers tied for third in the league with a plus-22 goal differential in the third period (85 goals for, 63 goals against). New York also tied for second in the NHL with eight wins and 20 points in games in which it trailed entering the final frame.
RAISING THEIR GAME
The Rangers were undefeated in their last six games of the regular season vs. the top four teams in the Eastern Conference standings, including a 6-0 win at Washington on Feb. 25. New York out-scored their opponents, 27-7, in those contests, having tallied five or more goals in four of the six games while posting three shutouts.
Rangers Captain Chris Drury is tied for fourth in the NHL all-time with four playoff overtime goals, and ranks fourth among active NHL players and leads the team with 47 goals in 131 career postseason contests. Drury has participated in the playoffs eight times, having advanced to at least the Conference Finals in five of those eight seasons.
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 27 straight games entering tonight’s contest, and has started each of the Rangers last 30 playoff games.
TURNING LEMONS INTO LEMONADE
The Rangers tied for fourth in the league with 11 shorthanded goals this season, the most for New York since they notched 11 in 2006-07 and tied for 12th most in franchise history. Brandon Prust led the team and tied for second and third in the league, respectively, with a career-high, seven shorthanded points and five shorthanded goals. His five shorthanded goals are the most by a Ranger since Theo Fleury tallied seven shorthanded goals in 2000-01. Brian Boyle led the Rangers and tied for second in the NHL with a career-best, three shorthanded assists.
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS
The Rangers completed the regular season leading the league in hits (2,333), ranked fourth in blocked shots (1,301), tied for first in shutouts (11), second in number of players with at least one GWG (19), third in shootout wins (nine), fourth in road wins (24), fifth in goals against (198), and fifth with a plus-35 goal differential.
- Derek Boogaard (shoulder, 12/9) – 53
- Alex Frolov (knee, 1/8) – 40
- Martin Biron (collarbone, 2/28) – 19
- Ryan Callahan (ankle, 4/4) – 3
Total Man-Games Lost (Regular Season, Playoffs): 327
Total Man-Games Lost (Playoffs): 4