The Presidents’ Trophy belongs to the Rangers with a win, or if they finished tied with Vancouver in any way on this final night of the regular season. The Canucks play at home against Edmonton tonight at 10 p.m.
This could well be a first-round preview, though it remains entirely possible that the Rangers end up playing Ottawa or Florida, too. All 30 NHL teams are in action today/tonight, including the much-anticipated Flyers-Penguins game this afternoon.
This one’s a 6:30 start on NBC Sports. Rangers’ “jerseys off our backs” ceremony follows the game.
Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Saturday, Apr. 7, 6:30 p.m.
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 51-23-7 (109 pts)
Capitals: 41-32-8 (90 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Apr. 5
The Rangers will face-off against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden (6:30 p.m.; TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio), in their regular season finale. The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and rank first in the league overall, with a record of 51-23-7 (109 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-2, on Thursday at CONSOL Energy Center, and are now 7-3-0 in the last 10 games. The Capitals enter the contest with a 41-32-8 (90 pts) record to rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, and have won three of the last four games. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are scheduled to begin with games on Wednesday, Apr. 11.
RANGERS vs. CAPITALS:
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. CAPITALS:
- All-Time: 85-85-18-5 overall (47-37-9-2 at home; 38-48-9-3 on the road)
- 2011-12: Tonight is the fourth and final meeting this season, and the second at MSG. New York is 2-1-0 (1-0-0 at home; 1-1-0 on the road) following a 3-2 win on Feb. 12 at MSG. The Rangers have out-shot the Capitals, 93-70, including a 34-21 advantage in the third. Ryan Callahan leads the team with four assists and five points, while Ruslan Fedotenko has tallied a team-high, two goals. Henrik Lundqvist is 2-0-0 with a 2.50 GAA, and Martin Biron is 0-1-0 with a 4.01 GAA.
- Last Season: New York was 3-1-0 overall (1-1-0 mark at home; 2-0-0 mark on the road). The Rangers out-scored the Capitals, 17-6, in the season series. New York was 4-13 (30.8%) on the power play, and 14-15 (93.3%) on the penalty kill. Brian Boyle led the team with three goals, four assists and seven points. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-1-0 with a 1.34 GAA, .955 Sv% and two shutouts in three games, while Martin Biron won his only meeting against the Capitals in the shootout, stopping 22 of 23 shots and two of four shootout attempts.
- The Rangers have won five of their last six meetings against the Capitals, having out-scored Washington, 25-10, over the span
- New York ranks sixth with a 27-11-2 (56 pts) record at home; Washington ranks 26th with a 15-21-4 (34 pts) mark on the road
- The Rangers are 15-2-2 vs. the Southeast Division; the Capitals are 7-8-4 vs. the Atlantic Division
- 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)
- Henrik Lundqvist — 21 GP, 13-6-2, 2.72 GAA, 3 SO
- Martin Biron — 23 GP, 11-9-1-2, 2.56 GAA, 1 SO
- Brad Richards — 49 GP, 8-27-35
- Ryan Callahan — 17 GP, 8-7-15
- Marc Staal — 16 GP, 1-6-7
The Rangers’ power play has tallied eight goals in the last five games (8-24, 33.3% over the span), and are 13-53 (24.5%) in the last 14 games. New York’s penalty kill is 50-57 (87.7%) in the last 19 games. The Rangers are tied for seventh in the NHL with eight shorthanded goals. The Blueshirts have posted a record of 25-2-4 in games when tallying a power play goal, and are 34-13-3 when not allowing a power play goal.
- Power Play: The Rangers tallied one goal in six power play attempts (11:52) on Thursday at Pittsburgh. New York ranks 23rd overall (44-277, 15.9%) and 20th at home (23-143, 16.1%). The Rangers are 4-18 (13:15) in five-on-three situations (last – 4/5 at PIT), and 2-9 (12:08) when four-on-three (last – 3/11 vs. NYI). Shorthanded goals allowed (4): 12/5 vs. TOR (Steckel); 12/8 vs. TBL (Moore); 12/17 at PHX (Korpikoski); 4/5 at PIT (Letang).
- Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Penguins scoreless in one shorthanded situation (2:00) on Thursday at Pittsburgh. New York ranks fifth overall (222-257, 86.4%) and eighth at home (98-115, 85.2%). The Rangers are 9-10 (6:17) in three-on-five situations (last – 3/28 at WPG), and 2-3 (2:24) when three-on-four (last – 2/16 vs. CHI). Shorthanded goals for (8): 10/20 at CGY (Prust); 12/8 vs. TBL (Anisimov); 12/10 at BUF (Hagelin); 12/10 at BUF (Callahan); 12/20 at NJD (Hagelin); 1/6 at PIT (Dubinsky); 2/12 vs. WSH (Prust); 3/28 at WPG (Del Zotto).
- Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (2:00) on Tuesday at Philadelphia. The Rangers are plus-seven in 82 four-on-four situations (149:05), and even in two three-on-three situations (0:38). Four-on-four goals for (10): 10/18 at VAN (Gaborik); 10/20 at CGY (McDonagh); 10/27 vs. TOR (Girardi); 1/2 vs. FLA (Gaborik); 2/9 vs. TBL (Stepan); 2/9 vs. TBL (Richards); 2/14 at BOS (Anisimov); 2/19 vs. CBJ (Stepan); 2/25 vs. BUF (Callahan); 3/21 vs. DET (Callahan). Four-on-four goals allowed (3): 2/9 vs. TBL (Lecavalier); 2/25 vs. BUF (Stafford); 3/2 at TBL (Malone).
The Rangers’ magic number to clinch the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top team during the regular season is two points relative to Vancouver and St. Louis. It would be the third time in franchise history the Blueshirts captured the Presidents’ Trophy, having previously done so in 1991-92 (50-25-5, 105 pts) and 1993-94 (52-24-8, 112 pts). In addition, the Rangers would be only the second organization to have won the Presidents’ Trophy three or more times since the award was introduced in 1985-86 (Detroit, six times).
PLACE IN TEAM HISTORY
New York continues to climb the team’s all-time single season wins and points lists, currently ranking second in wins and tied for second in points. The Rangers reached the 50-win mark for the third time in franchise history with a 4-1 victory vs. Montreal on Mar. 30, and eclipsed the 100-point mark for the seventh time with a 4-3 shootout win at Toronto on Mar. 24. The Blueshirts reached the 40-win mark in 61 games, which is tied as the second fewest games to reach 40 wins in team history.
The Rangers rank among the NHL leaders in several statistical categories…
- T-1st in points (109)
- T-1st in win% (.673)
- 1st in wins (51)
- 1st in regulation/overtime wins (47)
- 3rd in fewest regulation losses (23)
- 3rd in fewest goals against (178)
- 3rd in GAA (2.20)
- 1st in hits (2,397)
- 3rd in blocked shots (1,328)
- 4th in +/- rating (plus-34)
- 6th in goal differential (plus-42)
THE HOT LIST:
- New York clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a 5-3 win on Tuesday at Philadelphia; It is the first time since 1993-94 the Rangers finished atop the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings
- The Rangers became the first Eastern Conference team, and second in the league overall, to clinch a playoff spot with a 4-2 win on Mar. 19 vs. NJD (game #72); The last time the Blueshirts clinched a playoff berth that early was in 1991-92, when New York clinched on Mar. 8 (through game #68) following a Philadelphia defeat to Vancouver
- The Rangers tied the franchise record for most road wins in a season with 24 victories away from MSG; New York also won 24 road games last season and in 1993-94
- The Rangers posted a combined record of 19-4-5 in back-to-back games this season, including a 9-2-3 (3-1-0 at home, 6-1-3 on the road) record in the first game and a 10-2-2 (6-0-0 at home, 4-2-2 on the road) mark in the second
- New York is 21-3-3 when leading after the first period and 30-0-3 when leading after the second
- The Rangers rank fifth in the league with a .217 win% when trailing after two periods (5-17-1), and are tied for 10th in the NHL with five third period comeback wins
- New York leads the NHL with a .698 win% when out-shooting their opponent (30-12-1)
- The Rangers rank third in the league when scoring first, posting a 35-5-3 mark (.814 win%) in those contests
- Henrik Lundqvist’s 39 wins are a career-high, and rank second on the Rangers’ single season wins list
- Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards have tied the franchise record for most game-winning goals in a season with nine apiece (Don Maloney – 1980-81; Mark Messier – 1996-97; Jaromir Jagr – 2005-06)
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
- Henrik Lundqvist — has held opponents to two or fewer goals in seven of his last 10 games (7-3-0, 2.18 GAA, .912 Sv% over the span)
- Marian Gaborik — 10 points (six goals, four assists) in the last seven games; 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in the last 15 games
- Brad Richards — nine points (one goal, eight assists) in the last seven games; 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in the last 16 games
- Ryan McDonagh — five points (one goal, four assists) in the last six games
- Brian Boyle — six points (four goals, two assists) in the last eight games; three points (one goal, two assists) in the last two games
- Michael Del Zotto — six points (three goals, three assists) in the last nine games
- Brandon Dubinsky — seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last 10 games
- Ruslan Fedotenko — four points (one goal, three assists) in the last six games
- Dan Girardi — three assists in the last six games
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
- Ryan Callahan — 2 points from 200 NHL career
- Martin Biron — 500th career NHL game (4/5 at PIT)
- Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) — 57
- Steve Eminger (injured, 3/15) — 11
- Mats Zuccarello (fractured wrist, 3/23) — 7
Total Man-Games Lost: 234