Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Friday, May 2, 7:00 p.m. ET
Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA
* Record from the first round of the playoffs
The Rangers will face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center (7:00 p.m. ET — TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in Game 1 of their Metropolitan Division Finals matchup. The Blueshirts defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, in Game 7 of the Metropolitan Division Semifinals to advance to the second round of the playoffs. New York enters tomorrow’s contest with a 217-236-8 record all-time in 461 playoff contests (123-90-2 at home; 94-146-6 on the road).
The Rangers entered the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the second seed in the Metropolitan Division, having posted a 45-31-6 record (20-17-4 at home; 25-14-2 on the road) for 96 points. The Blueshirts are one of four teams, along with Detroit, Pittsburgh, and San Jose, to make the playoffs in eight of the last nine years.
ALL-TIME PLAYOFF RECORDS – RANGERS vs. PENGUINS
The Rangers and Penguins are meeting in the playoffs for the fifth time, and the first time since the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2008. The Rangers have posted a 0-4 playoff series record against Pittsburgh. Four of the Blueshirts’ five playoff matchups against the Penguins have occurred in the second round of the playoffs.
RANGERS vs. PENGUINS (Regular Season):
• All-Time: 120-104-23-10 overall (67-50-9-4 at home; 53-55-14-6 on the road)
• 2013-14: New York was 2-1-1 overall (1-0-1 at home; 1-1-0 on the road). Mats Zuccarello led the team with six points (two goals, four assists), while Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot each tallied two goals and two assists in the four contests. Dan Girardi led all Blueshirts defensemen with three points (one goal, two assists) in the four games. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-1-1 with a 2.88 GAA in the four contests.
• New York was 25-14-2 on the road during the regular season (1-2 in the playoffs); Pittsburgh was 28-9-4 at home (2-1 in the playoffs)
• New York lists one former Penguin on its roster: Dominic Moore (2006-07)
• Pittsburgh lists two former Rangers on its roster: Pascal Dupuis (2006-07); Taylor Pyatt (2012-13 – 2013-14)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. PENGUINS (Regular Season):
• Henrik Lundqvist – 51 GP, 25-19-7, 2.46 GAA, 2 SO
• Martin St. Louis – 50 GP, 17-30—47
• Brad Richards – 42 GP, 9-34—43
• Dan Girardi – 45 GP, 2-15—17
• Rick Nash – 18 GP, 7-5 —12
• Power Play: The Rangers were 0-1 (2:00) in Game 7 vs. Philadelphia. The Blueshirts are tied for 13th in the NHL overall (3-29, 10.3%) in the playoffs. New York ranked 15th in the NHL overall (48-264, 18.2%), and seventh on the road (28-132, 21.2%) during the regular season. The Rangers were 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 Rangers were 2-2 (4:00) in Game 7 vs. Philadelphia. The Blueshirts are tied for 14th in the NHL overall (15-21, 71.4%), and are 13th on the road (7-10, 70.0%) during the playoffs. New York ranked third in the NHL overall (198-232, 85.3%), and third on the road (109-127, 85.8%) during the regular season. The Rangers were 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). The Rangers were tied for third in the NHL in shorthanded goals with 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 skate in a four-on-four situation in Game 7 vs. Philadelphia. The Rangers were -2 in 85 four-on-four situations (131:26), and even in one three-on-three situation (1:03) during the regular 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 (10): 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); 4/12 at MTL (Gionta, PS).
FIRST ROUND RECAP
• Henrik Lundqvist ranked fifth in GAA (2.11) and fourth in SV% (.919) among goaltenders
• The Rangers ranked second in the NHL in goals against per game (2.29)
• Rick Nash led the team and was second in the NHL in shots on goal (30)
• Dan Girardi ranked fourth in the NHL in blocked shots (21), led the team in hits (25), and led defensemen on the team in points (three)
• Marc Staal led the team and tied for third in the NHL in plus/minus rating (plus-six)
The Rangers improved to 7-5 in 12 Game 7s in franchise history with their 2-1 victory against the Flyers on Wednesday, and they have won all six Game 7s they have played at Madison Square Garden in franchise history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Blueshirts are the only NHL team to be undefeated at home in Game 7s in franchise history (minimum of three Game 7s played at home). New York has won seven of the last eight Game 7s they have played, dating back to the 1992 Patrick Division Semifinals. The Rangers have now won a seven-game series in the first round of the playoffs in each of the last three seasons (2012 against Ottawa, 2013 against Washington, 2014 against Philadelphia).
Henrik Lundqvist established two franchise records during the 2013-14 season, 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. Lundqvist won his fourth consecutive Game 7 on Wednesday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers goalie tied Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour and Cam Ward for the NHL record for consecutive Game 7 victories. Lundqvist has posted a 4-1 record in five career Game 7s, along with a 1.00 GAA, a .963 SV%, and one shutout. The Rangers goalie improved to 7-2, with a 1.43 GAA, a .951 SV%, and three shutouts in his last nine games when the Rangers have faced elimination.
Lundqvist has started a franchise-record, 73 consecutive playoff games, dating back to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 26, 2006 vs. New Jersey. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Lundqvist’s streak is only the seventh time in NHL history that a goalie has started at least 70 consecutive playoff games for the same team.
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES WINS SHUTOUTS
1. Mike Richter – 76 1. Mike Richter – 41 1. Mike Richter – 9
2. Henrik Lundqvist – 74 2. Henrik Lundqvist – 34 2. Henrik Lundqvist – 8
3. Ed Giacomin – 65 3. Ed Giacomin – 29 3. Dave Kerr – 7
The Rangers have reached the second round of the playoffs for the third consecutive season. The Blueshirts are one of two teams – and the only Eastern Conference team – to win a playoff series in each of the last three seasons. The last time the Rangers reached the second round of the playoffs in at least three consecutive seasons was a four-year span from 1993-94 – 1996-97.
SHUTTING THE DOOR
The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in 19 of their last 26 regular season and playoff games, giving up 49 goals in the 26 contests (1.88 goals against per game). New York has allowed two goals or fewer in 25 of its last 39 regular season and playoff road games, including 10 of the last 15 road contests, and has given up 83 goals in the 39 contests (2.13 goals against per game).
WHAT A LINE
Derick Brassard, Benoit Pouliot, and Mats Zuccarello combined for 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in four games against the Penguins during the regular season. Brassard and Zuccarello registered a point in all four contests, while Pouliot recorded a point in three of the four games. Zuccarello and Pouliot are tied for the team lead in goals (two) and third in points (four) in the playoffs.
MOVING ON UP
Dan Girardi skated in his 71st career playoff game on Tuesday, passing Mark Messier and Jeff Beukeboom for sixth place on the Rangers’ all-time playoff games played list.
NYR ALL-TIME PLAYOFF
GAMES PLAYED LIST
5. Rod Gilbert – 79
6. Dan Girardi – 71
T-7. Mark Messier – 70
T-7. Jeff Beukeboom – 70
9. Ron Duguay – 69
T-10. Steve Vickers – 68
T-10. Adam Graves – 68
The Rangers posted a 25-14-2 record on the road this season. The Blueshirts established a franchise record for road wins in one season with their 25th of the year on Apr. 1 at Vancouver. The Rangers are the only team to win at least 24 road games in three of the last four seasons. The Blueshirts led the Eastern Conference in road wins, and were only one of three teams to record at least 25 road wins this season. The Rangers posted two separate six-game road winning streaks this season for the first time in franchise history.
INJURIES (7 Man-Game Lost – Playoffs):
• Chris Kreider (hand injury on 3/21) – 16 (7 in Playoffs)
Photo by Getty Images.