For the record, I expect that the Rangers will win tonight. Can’t guarantee it, because, well, guarantees are so stupid. I mean, if I’m wrong, what happens? So how is that a guarantee?
But I’m telling you, they’re going to win.
Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. WASHINGTON CAPITALS
2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 7 (Series tied 3-3)
Saturday, May 12, 7:30 p.m.
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers (Regular Season): 51-24-7 (109 pts), 1st in East
Capitals (Regular Season): 42-32-8 (92 pts), 7th in East
* All information through NHL games on May 10
The Rangers will face-off against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.; TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: ESPN Radio), in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series. The series is tied at three games apiece, following a 2-1 loss in Game 6 on Wednesday at Verizon Center. The Blueshirts are now 37-28 in potential series clinchers. The Rangers enter the contest with a 205-222-8 record all-time in 435 playoff contests (114-86-2 at home; 91-136-6 on the road). New York has posted a 4-5 record all-time in Game 7 of playoff series, including a 4-0 mark in Game 7s at Madison Square Garden.
New York entered the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the top seed in the Eastern Conference having posted a record of 51-24-7 overall (27-12-2 at home; 24-12-5 on the road) for 109 points. The Rangers’ 51 wins ranked second in franchise history, while their 109 points tied for second all-time. The Blueshirts finished second in the NHL overall, tied for first in wins and led the league with 47 wins in regulation and overtime. New York is one of four Eastern Conference teams to have posted 40 or more wins in at least six seasons since 2005-06, and one of four teams in the East to have advanced to the playoffs in six of the last seven years.
ALL-TIME RANGERS PLAYOFF RECORDS:
- Overall — 205-222-8
- Home — 114-86-2
- Away — 91-136-6
- Goals for — 1,202
- Goals against — 1,197
ALL-TIME PLAYOFF RECORDS — RANGERS vs. CAPITALS
The Rangers and Capitals are meeting in the playoffs for the seventh time overall and the third time in four years. Their last postseason encounter was in last year’s Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, a series won by Washington 4-1. Overall, the Blueshirts have a 2-4 playoff series record vs. the Capitals, posting a 18-22 mark in 40 postseason contests.
RANGERS vs. CAPITALS:
- All-Time (Regular Season): 85-86-18-5 overall (47-38-9-2 at home; 38-48-9-3 on the road)
- 2011-12: New York was 2-2-0 overall (1-1-0 at home; 1-1-0 on the road). The Rangers out-shot the Capitals, 129-87, including a 47-24 advantage in the third. Ryan Callahan led the team with four assists and five points, while Brian Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko tied for the team-high with two goals. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-1-0 with a 3.00 GAA, and Martin Biron was 0-1-0 with a 4.01 GAA.
- The Rangers have won five of their last seven regular season games against the Capitals, out-scoring Washington, 26-14
- The Blueshirts have 16 players with previous playoff experience against the Capitals, led by Brandon Dubinsky (12 GP) and Ruslan Fedotenko (18 GP) who have both tallied three goals and four assists entering the series
- 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)
INDIVIDUAL SERIES LEADERS vs. CAPITALS:
- Henrik Lundqvist — 6 GP, 3-3, 1.76 GAA, .923 Sv%
- Marian Gaborik — 6 GP, 3-3-6
- Brad Richards — 6 GP, 3-2-5
- Derek Stepan — 6 GP, 0-4-4
- Michael Del Zotto — 6 GP, 1-3-4
- Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in five power play attempts (10:00) in Game 6, and are now 9-55 (16.4%) in 13 playoff contests. New York is 1-1 in five-on-three situations (0:40; last – 4/23 at OTT), and 0-1 while skating four-on-three (0:30; last – 4/23 at OTT). Shorthanded goals allowed (0).
- Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Capitals in three shorthanded situations (4:15) in Game 6, and are now 37-45 (82.2%) in 13 playoff contests. New York is 1-1 in three-on-five situations (0:33; last – 4/28 vs. WSH). Shorthanded goals for (0).
- Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation in Game 6. The Rangers are plus-one in eight four-on-four situations (10:00). Four-on-four goals for (1): Richards (4/30 vs. WSH). Four-on-four goals allowed (0).
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET
Brad Richards’ goal with 7.6 seconds remaining in regulation in Game 5 was the latest game-tying goal scored by the Rangers in the playoffs in franchise history, and the sixth game-tying goal tallied by the Blueshirts in the final minute of regulation all-time in the playoffs. *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
Ten of the Rangers’ 13 playoff games have been decided by one goal, including four that were decided in OT. The other three games were decided by two goals. The Blueshirts and Capitals have been separated by one goal in five of six games, with two games requiring OT, and have been tied or separated by one goal for 90% of the total playing time in the series.
FOLLOW THE LEADER
The team that has scored the first goal of the game in this series is undefeated. Overall, New York has tallied the game’s first goal in eight games during the playoffs, posting a record of 6-2 in those contests.
New York leads the league with 453 hits in the playoffs. The Blueshirts have five players ranked in the top 10 in the NHL – Ryan Calahan (1st, 62), Brandon Prust (5th, 44), Michael Del Zotto (T-8th, 39), Dan Girardi (T-8th, 39), and Brian Boyle (T-8th, 39).
The Rangers rank second in the NHL with 248 blocked shots in the playoffs, paced by Dan Girardi (44) and Ryan McDonagh (36) who rank first and third in the league, respectively. The Blueshirts also have three forwards who rank in the top six in blocked shots among forwards, including Ryan Callahan (T-1st, 22), Ruslan Fedotenko (T-5th, 15) and Brad Richards (T-5th, 15).
New York has out-shot Washington, 181-156, in the series thus far, with a 126-98 advantage after the first period. The Rangers out-shot the Capitals, 38-18, in Game 5, including a 17-4 advantage in the first period. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Blueshirts’ 17 shots marked a franchise record for most shots on goal in a single period during a playoff game, and the 13-shot advantage is the most for the Rangers all-time in a single period of a playoff game.
In Game 3, the Rangers tied the franchise record for most shots on goal in a playoff game with 49, while the Blueshirts and Capitals combined for 95 shots in the contest. The 95 shots are the most in an NHL game since Boston and Philadelphia combined for 95 shots on goal on May 2, 2011. The Blueshirts registered 22 total shots on goal after regulation which, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is the most by the Rangers in the expansion era (since 1967). The two teams combined for 39 shots in the three OT periods, which is also a franchise record for most shots on goal after regulation.
A few notes on the Rangers’ 2-1 triple OT win in Game 3…
- Was the fifth longest game in franchise history at 114:41
- Marked the seventh time the Rangers skated in a game that required at least three OT periods
- Was the longest Rangers game since Mar. 21, 1939 (119:25, 2-1 loss vs. Boston)
- Was the second longest game resulting in a win for the Rangers all-time (Mar. 26, 1932; 119:32, 4-3 win at Montreal)
- The last triple OT game for the Rangers was a 3-2 win vs. Chicago on Apr. 29, 1971, in Game 6 of their Semifinals series at MSG. Pete Stemkowski tallied the GWG at 1:29 of triple OT to send that series into a Game 7.
- Was the longest NHL game since May 4, 2008, when Dallas defeated San Jose, 2-1, at 9:03 of the fourth OT*
- The last NHL game that required at least three OT periods was on Apr. 22, 2010, when Ottawa’s Matt Carkner tallied the GWG at 7:06 of the third OT in a 4-3 win at Pittsburgh*
*courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
Rangers rookie Chris Kreider notched his first goal at Madison Square Garden with the game-winner, and added his first career assist in Game 1. He became the youngest Rangers player to record two points in a playoff game since Niklas Sundstrom on May 11, 1996, and the first Blueshirt rookie to register a multi-point effort in the postseason since Brandon Dubinsky on May 1, 2008. Kreider is tied for first in the NHL with two game-winning goals in the playoffs, and is the first New York rookie to register two game-winning goals in the postseason since Mike Allison in the 1981 playoffs.
COOL UNDER PRESSURE
Henrik Lundqvist has posted 30 or more saves in the playoffs 14 times, posting a 7-7 record with a 1.69 GAA, .948 Sv% and two shutouts in those contests.
ON THE FARM
The Rangers organization is the only to still have both NHL and AHL teams in their respective league’s playoffs. The Rangers’ AHL affiliate, Connecticut Whale, currently trail the Norfolk Admirals, 3-2, in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.
- Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) — 13
- Mats Zuccarello (fractured wrist, 3/23) — 13
- Brandon Dubinsky (injured, 4/26) — 6
Total Man-Games Lost (Regular Season): 237
Total Man-Games Lost (Playoffs): 42