Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at MONTREAL CANADIENS
Saturday, Apr. 12, 7:00 p.m. ET
Bell Centre – Montreal, QC
Rangers: 45-31-5 (95 pts)
Canadiens: 45-28-8 (98 pts)
The Rangers will face off against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre (7:00 p.m. ET — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), as they play their final game of the regular season. The Blueshirts currently rank second in the Metropolitan Division standings, and fifth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 45-31-5 (95 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having beaten the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1, on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts have posted a 10-3-1 record in their last 14 games, including a 9-2-1 record in their last 12 games. The Canadiens have posted a 45-28-8 record (98 pts) to rank third in the Eastern Conference, and have recorded a point in seven of their last 10 games (7-2-1).
RANGERS vs. CANADIENS:
• All-Time: 192-324-94-3 overall (127-124-54-1 at home; 65-200-40-2 on the road)
• 2013-14: Tonight is the third and final meeting this season, and the second of two meetings at Bell Centre. New York is 1-1-0 (0-1-0 at home; 1-0-0 on the road), following a 1-0 win on Nov. 16 at Bell Centre. Cam Talbot stopped all 22 shots he faced to record his first career NHL shutout on Nov. 16. The Rangers penalty kill is 7-8 (87.5%) in the series.
• Last Season: New York was 0-3-0 overall (0-1-0 at home; 0-2-0 on the road). The Rangers out-shot the Canadiens, 76-62, in the series, including a 28-16 advantage in the first period. Anton Stralman notched the Rangers’ lone goal in the series. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 15 of 17 shots in his only appearance.
• The Rangers and Canadiens have been separated by two goals or fewer in eight of their last 14 meetings
• New York is 25-14-1 on the road; Montreal is 22-13-5 at home
• New York is 15-7-1 vs. Atlantic Division opponents; Montreal is 13-8-2 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents
• New York lists three former Canadiens on their roster: Dominic Moore (2009-10); Benoit Pouliot (2009-10 – 2010-11); Raphael Diaz (2011-12 – 2013-14)
• Montreal lists two former Rangers on their roster: Brandon Prust (2009-10 – 2011-12); Dale Weise (2010-11)
• Rangers’ defenseman Ryan McDonagh was originally selected by the Canadiens as a first round choice, 12th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft
• Rangers’ Head Coach Alain Vigneault served as the Canadiens’ coach from 1997-98 – 2000-01
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. CANADIENS:
• Henrik Lundqvist – 27 GP, 13-11-2, 2.84 GAA, 1 SO
• Martin St. Louis – 49 GP, 18-22—40
• Brad Richards – 39 GP, 9-14—23
• Dominic Moore – 27 GP, 4-13 —17
• Dan Girardi – 28 GP, 3-6—9
• The Blueshirts penalty kill is 45-48 (93.5%) with seven shorthanded goals in the last 19 games
• Ranks seventh in the league in combined PP% + PK% (103.6%)
• Power Play: The Rangers were 0-4 (8:00) on Thursday vs. Buffalo. New York ranks 14th in the NHL overall (48-261, 18.4%), and sixth on the road (28-129, 21.7%). The Rangers are 6-18 (8:36) in five-on-three situations (last – 3/21 at CBJ), and 0-6 (6:56) when four-on-three (last – 1/19 vs. WSH). Shorthanded goals allowed (6): 10/8 at SJS (Vlasic); 10/24 at PHI (Read); 11/19 vs. BOS (Paille); 12/20 vs. NYI (Clutterbuck, PS); 12/20 vs. NYI (Grabner); 3/2 vs. BOS (Campbell).
• Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts were 2-2 (4:00) on Thursday vs. Buffalo. New York ranks fourth in the NHL overall (195-229, 85.2%), and third on the road (106-124, 85.5%). The Rangers are 4-7 (6:27) in three-on-five situations (last – 3/7 at CAR), and 8-10 (8:06) when three-on-four (last – 3/24 vs. PHX). Shorthanded goals for (10): 10/7 at LAK (McDonagh); 12/27 at WSH (Hagelin); 1/19 vs. WSH (Callahan); 3/5 vs. TOR (McDonagh); 3/5 vs. TOR (D. Moore); 3/7 at CAR (McDonagh); 3/30 at EDM (Nash); 3/30 at EDM (Zuccarello); 4/1 at VAN (St. Louis).
• Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (1:03) on Thursday vs. Buffalo. The Rangers are -1 in 83 four-on-four situations (127:22), and even in one three-on-three situation (1:03) this season. Four-on-four goals for (8): 10/16 at WSH (J. Moore); 10/26 at DET (Brassard); 12/12 vs. CBJ (Girardi); 12/18 vs. PIT (Hagelin); 1/31 vs. NYI (Brassard); 1/31 vs. NYI (McDonagh); 3/7 at CAR (Nash); 3/24 vs. PHX (McDonagh). Four-on-four goals allowed (9): 10/3 at PHX (Vrbata); 10/7 at LAK (Muzzin); 10/12 at STL (Backes); 12/8 vs. WSH (Grabovski, PS); 12/18 vs. PIT (Sutter); 12/27 at WSH (Fehr); 1/6 vs. CBJ (Atkinson); 3/5 vs. TOR (Bozak); 3/26 vs. PHI (Voracek).
With their win on Thursday, the Rangers clinched the #2 seed in the Metropolitan Division, and will have home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They will play either the Philadelphia Flyers or the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Metropolitan Division Semifinals.
Henrik Lundqvist registered his 30th win of the season with a 30-save effort in a 3-1 win on Mar. 26 vs. Philadelphia. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first goaltender in NHL history to reach the 30-win milestone in eight of his first nine NHL seasons. Lundqvist established two franchise records in a five-day span, becoming the Rangers’ all-time wins leader with his 302nd career victory on Mar. 18 at Ottawa, and the team’s all-time shutouts leader with his 50th career shutout on Mar. 22 at New Jersey. He registered his 300th career win with a 30-save shutout in the Rangers 3-0 victory over Detroit on Mar. 9 at Madison Square Garden. He became the 29th goaltender in NHL history to reach the 300-win mark.
SHUTTING THE DOOR
The Rangers are first in the NHL in games which they have allowed one or fewer goals this season (30). New York has posted a 28-2-0 record when allowing one goal or fewer. The Blueshirts are tied for third in the NHL in games which they have allowed two goals or fewer this season (48). The Rangers are 38-10-0 when allowing two goals or fewer this season. The Blueshirts have allowed two goals or fewer in 22 of their last 35 road games, giving up 74 goals over the span (2.11 goals against per game). New York ranks fourth in the NHL in goals against per game this season (2.33).
Rick Nash tallied his ninth game-winning goal of the season on Thursday vs. Buffalo, tying Mark Messier, Jaromir Jagr, Don Maloney, Brad Richards, and Ryan Callahan for the franchise record for game-winning goals in one season. Nash is tied for second in the NHL in GWG and leads the Rangers in goals (26) this season.
Mats Zuccarello enters the contest with a six-game point streak (four goals, five assists over the span), and has 24 points (six goals, 18 assists) in his last 24 games. Since Oct. 26, Zuccarello has recorded a point in 42 of 69 games, tallying 59 points (19 goals, 40 assists) during the stretch. The Rangers are 31-8-3 when Zuccarello records a point this season. Zuccarello’s 59 points are the most a Norwegian-born player has had in one season in NHL history. The record was previously held by Espen Knutsen, who had 53 points with Columbus during the 2000-01 season. Zuccarello received the 2013-14 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, as voted on by the fans for the player that goes above and beyond the call of duty, prior to the contest on Apr. 8.
The Rangers established a franchise record for road wins in one season with their 25th of the year on Apr. 1 at Vancouver. The Blueshirts have posted an 83-54-9 road record dating back to the start of the 2010-11 season, and are the only team to win at least 24 road games in three of the last four seasons. The Rangers lead the league in road wins, and have won six of last eight road games, tallying at least one point in seven of those contests (6-1-1). New York has posted two separate six-game road winning streaks this season for the first time in franchise history. The Rangers’ 51 road points this season rank second in franchise history (2011-12 – 53).
THE HOT LIST
• Henrik Lundqvist – 8-2-1 in his last 11 games (1.89 GAA, .935 Sv%, 1 SO) and 11-4-1 in his last 16 (1.81 GAA, .939 Sv%, 2 SO)
• Derek Stepan – 22 points (7 G, 15 A) in the last 22 games
• Mats Zuccarello – 6-game point streak (4 G, 5 A); 24 points (6 G, 18 A) in his last 24 games
• Benoit Pouliot – 7-game point streak (3 G, 4 A); 9 points (3 G, 6 A) in the last 9 games
• Derick Brassard – 9 points (5 G, 4 A) in the last 12 games
• Carl Hagelin – 5 points from 100th NHL career
INJURIES (120 Man-Games Lost):
• Chris Kreider (hand injury on 3/21) – 8
• Ryan McDonagh (upper-body injury on 4/1; day-to-day) – 4
• Apr. 7 – Recalled Jesper Fast from Hartford (AHL)
Photo by Getty Images.