It’s a 3 p.m. NBC game, Edzos.
I’m headed to MSG for the whole nine yards. Maybe some of those casual fans can put down their iPhones, stop ordering their chicken fingers and trying to catch flying T-shirts, and make a little noise today? Or not.
Until then, here are the pre-game notes from the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. WASHINGTON CAPITALS
2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Quarterfinal, Game Three
Sunday, Apr. 17, 3:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
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 Madison Square Garden (3:00 p.m.), in Game Three of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal match-up. The Blueshirts were defeated by the Capitals, 2-0, in Game Two on Friday at Verizon Center, and now trail 2-0 in the series. New York has begun a best-of-seven series with an overtime loss in Game One and a regulation loss in Game Two only once before, in the first round of the 1996 playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens (New York won the series, 4-2). The Rangers enter the contest with a 197-214-8 record all-time in 419 playoff contests, including a 109-82-2 mark at home. New York has posted a 32-42 record all-time in Game Threes 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: NBC
3:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Capitals
Broadcasters: Mike Emrick (Play-By-Play), Eddie Olczyk (Analyst), Darren Pang, Mike Milbury, and Liam McHugh (In-Game Reporters)
* Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
2:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
3:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Capitals
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
ALL-TIME RANGERS PLAYOFF RECORDS:
* Overall: 197-214-8
* Home: 109-82-2
* Away: 88-132-6
* Goals for: 1,168
* Goals against: 1,204
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 14-17 mark in 31 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 3-6 record with a 2.68 GAA and one shutout in nine career playoff contests vs. Washington
* Vinny Prospal leads the Rangers with six goals, eight assists and 14 points in 16 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 Two on Friday at Washington, and are now 0-4 (0.0%) in two playoff contests. 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).
* Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Capitals in three shorthanded situations (5:09) in Game Two on Friday at Washington, and are now 4-5 (80.0%) in two playoff contests. 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).
* Four-on-Four: The Rangers and Capitals did not skate in a four-on-four situation in Game Two on Friday at Washington. During the regular season, New York was plus-three (seven goals for, four goals against) in 67, four-on-four situations (134:41), and even in one, three-on-three situation (2:00) this season (2/17 vs. LAK).
The Rangers and Capitals Game One match-up was the sixth time the two teams required overtime to decide a playoff contest, with New York posting a record of 2-4 in those contests. Wednesday’s game (78:24) was the longest between the two teams, out-lasting the previous longest by 11:36 (Apr. 27, 1990 – 66:48).
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 132 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 established a new career-high with his league leading, 11th shutout of the season, while appearing in his 400th career game. His 11 shutouts 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 28 straight games entering today’s contest, and has started each of the Rangers last 31 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) – 54
* Alex Frolov (knee, 1/8) – 41
* Martin Biron (collarbone, 2/28) – 20
* Ryan Callahan (ankle, 4/4) – 4
Total Man-Games Lost (Regular Season, Playoffs): 327
Total Man-Games Lost (Playoffs): 8