As we mentioned last night, the Islanders jumped ahead of Ottawa and the Rangers into the sixth seed with a shootout loss in Buffalo. But the Islanders’ season is over.
The Rangers need one point in their finale today to finish ahead of the Islanders and avoid the Penguins in the first round. The Rangers can also finish, theoretically, in sixth, though Ottawa has two games remaining, against Philadelphia today, and a makeup game in Boston Sunday.
If the Rangers lose in regulation today, they will finish eighth—and face the Penguins—unless Ottawa loses both of its games in regulation.
Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Thursday, Apr. 27, 3:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 25-18-4 (54 pts)
Devils: 19-18-10 (48 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden (3:00 p.m. — TV: NBC; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in their 2013 regular season finale. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 25-18-4 (54 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3, in overtime on Thursday at PNC Arena to clinch a spot in the playoffs, and are now 9-3-1 in the month of April. The Blueshirts are one of two Eastern Conference teams, along with Pittsburgh, to qualify for the playoffs seven times since 2005-06. The Devils enter the contest with a 19-18-10 (48 pts) record to rank 10th in the Eastern Conference, and have won four of their last five games. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are scheduled to begin with games on Tuesday, Apr. 30.
RANGERS vs. DEVILS: – All-Time: 103-85-27-6 overall (57-30-20-2 at home; 46-55-7-4 on the road) – 2013: Today is the fourth and final meeting this season, and the second of two meetings at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are 2-1-0 (1-0-0 at home; 1-1-0 on the road) following a 4-1 win on Sunday at MSG. Ryan Callahan has tallied a team-high, two goals, and is tied with Michael Del Zotto (one goal, two assists), Derek Stepan (one goal, two assists), and Brad Richards (three assists) for the team lead in scoring with three points apiece. Henrik Lundqvist is 2-1-0 with a 2.02 GAA and .925 Sv%. – Last Season: New York was 3-2-1 overall (2-1-0 mark at home; 1-1-1 mark on the road). Four of their six meetings were decided by two goals or less. The Rangers’ penalty kill was 16-18 (88.9%) with one shorthanded goal in the season series. Carl Hagelin led all skaters with six assists, eight points and a plus-five rating in six games. Henrik Lundqvist was 3-2-0 with a 1.41 GAA, .940 Sv% and one shutout, and Martin Biron was 0-0-1 with a 2.77 GAA and .897 Sv%. – The Rangers and Devils have been separated by two goals or less in 15 of their last 20 meetings – The Rangers have registered a point in 15 of their last 22 games against the Devils (13-7-2 over the span), dating back to a 3-0 win at ?Madison Square Garden on Mar. 30, 2009 – New York ranks ninth in the NHL with a 15-6-2 (32 pts) record at home; New Jersey ranks 22nd in the NHL with a 6-9-8 (20 pts) mark on the road – The Rangers are 9-6-2 vs. the Atlantic Division this season; the Devils are 10-5-2 vs. the Atlantic Division this season – New York lists one former Devil on their roster: Arron Asham (2007-08) – New Jersey lists no former Rangers on their roster
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. DEVILS: – Henrik Lundqvist — 44 GP, 27-12-5, 1.81 GAA, 6 SO – Martin Biron — 31 GP, 8-15-2-3, 3.14 GAA, 2 SO – Brad Richards — 41 GP, 5-31-36 – Ryan Callahan — 27 GP, 9-10-19 – Dan Girardi — 37 GP, 1-14-15
SPECIAL TEAMS: – The Rangers’ power play is 9-42 (21.4%) in the last 12 games, compared to 14.3% with the man advantage prior to the trade deadline – New York has registered a point in 18 of 22 games (16-4-2) when not allowing a power play goal – Power Play: The Rangers tallied a goal in three power play attempts (5:51) on Thursday at Carolina. New York is tied for 21st overall (24-147, 16.3%) and ranks 15th at home (16-77, 20.8%). The Rangers are 3-10 (8:16) in five-on-three situations (last –4/21 vs. NJD), and 2-2 (1:20) when four-on-three (last –4/13 at NYI). Shorthanded goals allowed (5): 2/19 vs. MTL (Diaz, EN); 2/21 at OTT (Silfverberg); 3/3 vs. BUF (Gerbe); 3/21 vs. FLA (Kopecky, EN); 4/23 at FLA (Shore, EN). – Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Hurricanes in two power play attempts (2:57) on Thursday at Carolina. New York is tied for 17th overall (116-144, 80.6%) and ranks 12th at home (65-76, 85.5%). The Rangers are 8-8 (8:24) in three-on-five situations (last –4/1 vs. WPG), and 4-4 (4:24) when three-on-four (last –3/18 vs. CAR). Shorthanded goals for (4): 1/20 vs. PIT (Nash); 3/12 at BUF (Stepan); 3/19 at NJD (Del Zotto); 4/1 vs. WPG (Callahan). – Four-on-Four: New York tallied one goal in one four-on-four situation (2:55) on Thursday at Carolina, and are now plus-one in 32 four-on-four situations (65:43) this season. Four-on-four goals for (3): 1/23 vs. BOS (Gaborik); 4/13 at NYI (Girardi); 4/25 at CAR (Callahan). Four-on-four goals allowed (2): 1/20 vs. PIT (Letang); 1/23 vs. BOS (Horton).
PLAYOFF POSITIONING: – PIT (1 GR, 70 pts, 32 ROW) clinched #1 – BOS (2 GR, 61 pts, 24 ROW) can finish #2 or #4 – WSH (26-18-3, 55 pts) clinched #3 – MTL (1 GR, 61 pts, 25 ROW) can finish #2 or #4; owns the head-to-head tie-breaker against BOS – TOR (1 GR, 57 pts, 26 ROW) can finish #5 or #6; owns the head-to-head tie-breaker against OTT – NYI (55 pts, 20 ROW) can finish #6, #7, or #8 – OTT (2 GR, 54 pts, 20 ROW) can finish #5, #6, #7, or #8; owns the head-to-head tie-breaker against NYR and NYI – NYR (1 GR, 54 pts, 21 ROW) can finish #6, #7, or #8; owns the head-to-head tie-breaker against NYI
The Rangers are 22-9-3 overall (12-4-1 at home; 10-5-2 on the road) against the Devils since 2007-08, dating back to a 2-0 win on Oct. 25, 2007. Henrik Lundqvist is 22-9-2 with a 1.97 GAA, .928 Sv% and six shutouts in 33 games over the span.
Henrik Lundqvist has faced-off against Martin Brodeur in 36 career regular season games, posting a record of 24-7-5 with a 1.75 GAA, .934 Sv% and five shutouts over the span.
The Rangers swept their final back-to-back set, defeating the Florida Panthers, 6-1, at MSG on Apr. 18 and the Buffalo Sabres, 8-4, on Apr. 19 at First Niagara Center. Their 14 combined goals were the most by the Rangers in consecutive games since Jan. 17-19, 2010 (14 goals), and their most in a back-to-back set since Mar. 1-2, 1992 (16 goals). The Rangers’ eight goals on Apr. 19 were their most since Nov. 14, 2010 (8-2 win vs. EDM) and they established a franchise record for fastest five goals, tallying five goals in a span of 2 min. 58 sec. in the contest.
Henrik Lundqvist posted his 20th win of the season in a 6-1 victory on Apr. 18 against Florida, to become one of five active NHL goalies to reach the 20-win mark in eight consecutive seasons (Brodeur, 12; Luongo, 9; Vokoun, 9; Kiprusoff, 8).
THE PUCK STOPS HERE
Henrik Lundqvist turned aside all 29 shots faced to post his first shutout of the season, 44th of his career, in a 1-0 overtime win on Apr. 13 at Long Island. The shutout was Lundqvist’s 50th career total, including six playoff shutouts, tying him with Ed Giacomin as the Rangers’ all-time leader in total shutouts.
FINISHING THE JOB
The Blueshirts have registered a point in 91 consecutive games when leading after the second period, dating back to the 2009-10 season, posting a record of 85-0-6 over the span. The Rangers’ last regulation loss in a game when entering the third with the lead was Feb. 4, 2010 (6-5 loss vs. WSH). New York is 15-0-0 when leading after the second period this season.
The Rangers rank among the Eastern Conference leaders in several statistical categories… – 3rd (T-4th in NHL) in GAA — 2.30 – 1st (1st in NHL) in Fewest PIM/G — 9.3 – 3rd (4th in NHL) in Hits — 1383 – 3rd (6th in NHL) in BkS — 752
THE HOT LIST: – Henrik Lundqvist — has allowed two or fewer goals in 15 of his last 19 games (12-5-2, 1.87 GAA, .926 Sv%, 1 SO over the span) – Derek Stepan — has tallied a point in 11 of 13 games in April (seven goals, 10 assists over the span), and 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) in the last 29 games – Ryan Callahan — enters the contest with a six-game point streak (four goals, five assists over the span), and has tallied 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in the last 13 games – Brad Richards — enters the contest with a five-game point streak (five goals, four assists over the span) – Taylor Pyatt — enters the contest with a five-game point streak (two goals, three assists over the span) – Rick Nash — 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 13 April games – Ryan McDonagh — eight points (two goals, six assists) in 13 games during the month of April, including a five-game point streak at MSG (two goals, four assists during the stretch) – Mats Zuccarello — five points (three goals, two assists) in the last six games – Derick Brassard — 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 12 games as a Ranger – Michael Del Zotto — five assists in the last seven games – Carl Hagelin — four points (one goal, three assists) in the last four games
MILESTONES IN SIGHT: – Steve Eminger — 1 point from 100th NHL career – Brad Richards — 1 game from 900th NHL career – Anton Stralman — 1 point from 100th NHL career
INJURIES: – Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5/11) — 47 – Marc Staal (injured, 3/5) — 26 – Derek Dorsett (broken clavicle, 3/7) — 12 – Brian Boyle (injured, 4/16) — 5 – Ryan Clowe (injured, 4/25)
Total Man-Games Lost: 129
RECENT TRANSACTIONS: – Apr. 25 — Recalled forward Kris Newbury from Connecticut (AHL)