Pre-game notes courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Wednesday, May 7, 7:30 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 5-5 (1-2)*
Penguins: 6-3 (2-1)*
* Record in the playoffs (record in the series)
The Rangers will face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET — TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in Game 4 of their Metropolitan Division Finals matchup. The Penguins lead the best-of-seven series, two games to one, following their 2-0 victory in Game 3 of the series on Monday at MSG. New York enters tomorrow’s contest with a 218-238-8 record all-time in 464 playoff contests (123-91-2 at home; 95-147-6 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. The Rangers’ victory on May 2 was the first time they defeated Pittsburgh in Game 1 of a playoff series.
RANGERS vs. PENGUINS (Regular Season):
• All-Time: 120-105-23-10 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 20-17-4 at home during the regular season (3-2 in the playoffs); Pittsburgh was 23-15-3 on the road (3-1 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 0-5 (9:58) in Game 3 vs. Pittsburgh. The Blueshirts are 15th in the NHL overall (3-42, 7.1%), and are 11th at home (3-21, 14.3%) in the playoffs. New York ranked 15th in the NHL overall (48-264, 18.2%), and 24th at home (20-132, 15.2%) 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 1-1 (2:00) in Game 3 vs. Pittsburgh. The Blueshirts are 13th in the NHL overall (22-29, 75.9%), and are 14th at home (9-12, 75.0%) in the playoffs. New York ranked third in the NHL overall (198-232, 85.3%), and sixth at home (89-105, 84.8%) 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 3 vs. Pittsburgh. The Blueshirts are -1 in 10 four-on-four situations in the playoffs (12:42), allowing a goal in Game 3 at PHI on 4/22 (Streit). 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).
NHL LEADERS – PLAYOFFS
The Rangers rank:
• 1st in blocked shots (176)
• 2nd in shots against per game (26.5)
• 3rd in goals against per game (2.30)
• 3rd in hits (311)
• Rick Nash is 1st in shots on goal (41)
• Brad Richards is 2nd in shots on goal (38)
• Dan Girardi is 2nd in blocked shots (27) and tied for 5th in hits (35)
• Henrik Lundqvist is tied for 4th in wins (five), ranks 4th in GAA (2.08), and 5th in SV% (.922)
• Brian Boyle is tied for 5th in hits (35)
The Rangers have won 12 out of their last 18 playoff games at home, including seven of their last 10 contests, dating back to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 26, 2012 vs. Ottawa. The Blueshirts have allowed two goals or fewer in 12 of their last 19 playoff contests at home, giving up 39 goals over the stretch (2.05 goals against per game).
SHUTTING THE DOOR
The Blueshirts allowed 15 shots on goal in Game 3 on Monday, including one shot on goal in the third period. It was the second time in this year’s playoffs that the Rangers allowed 15 shots on goal in a game and one shot on goal in period (Game 1 vs. Philadelphia on Apr. 17). Prior to this postseason, the last time the Rangers allowed 15 shots on goal in a playoff game was Game 3 of the Semifinals on Apr. 25, 1974 at Philadelphia. The last time New York allowed one shot on goal or less in a period was Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 7, 1994 at Washington (zero shots on goal allowed in the third period). The Rangers rank second in the NHL in shots against per game (26.5) in the playoffs.
WHAT A LINE
Derick Brassard, Benoit Pouliot, and Mats Zuccarello have a total of 17 points (8 G, 9 A) in seven regular season and playoff games against Pittsburgh this season. The trio combined for three points in Game 1 on May 2, as Brassard (1 G), tallied his first career playoff OT goal, while Pouliot (1 G, 1 A) posted his first career multi-point game in postseason play. Brassard has tallied a point in five of seven regular season and playoff games against Pittsburgh (3 G, 2 A), while Pouliot (3 G, 3 A) and Zuccarello (2 G, 4 A) have recorded a point in four of the seven meetings.
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. The Rangers goaltender has allowed two goals or fewer in eight of 10 playoff contests this year, and ranks fourth among goalies in GAA (2.08) and fifth in SV% (.922) in the playoffs. Lundqvist has started a franchise-record, 76 consecutive playoff games, dating back to 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 one team. Lundqvist passed Mike Richter for first on the team’s all-time playoff appearances list in Game 3 vs. PIT on Monday.
The Rangers have reached the second round of the playoffs for the third straight 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.
The Rangers improved to 7-5 in 12 Game 7s in franchise history with their 2-1 victory against the Flyers on Apr. 30, and they have won all six Game 7s they have played at MSG 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).
DAN’S THE MAN
Dan Girardi is tied for eighth among NHL defensemen in assists (four) and 10th in points (five) in the playoffs. Girardi skated in his 71st career playoff game on Apr. 30, passing Mark Messier and Jeff Beukeboom for sixth place on the Rangers’ all-time playoff games played list.
INJURIES (10 Man-Game Lost – Playoffs):
• Chris Kreider (hand injury on 3/21) – 19 (10 in Playoffs)
Photo by Getty Images.