ICYMI overnight, here’s the complete schedule for the conference finals:
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Game 1: Saturday, 1 at Montreal.
Game 2: Monday, 8 at Montreal.
Game 3: Thursday, 8 at MSG.
Game 4: Sunday, 8 at MSG.
Game 5: Tuesday 5/27, 8 at Montreal.
Game 6: Thursday, 5/29, 8 at MSG.
Game 7: Saturday, 5/31, 8 at Montreal.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Game 1: Sunday, 3 at Chicago.
Game 2: Wednesday, 8 at Chicago.
Game 3: Saturday, 8 at LA.
Game 4: Monday, 9 at LA.
Game 5: Wednesday 5/28, 8 at Chicago.
Game 6: Friday 5/30, 9 at LA.
Game 7: Sunday 6/1, 8 at LA.
Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at MONTREAL CANADIENS
Saturday, May 17, 1:00 p.m. ET
Bell Centre – Montreal, QC
* Record in the playoffs
The Rangers will face off against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre (1:00 p.m. ET — TV: NBC Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Finals matchup. The Blueshirts defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1, in Game 7 of the Metropolitan Division Finals on Tuesday to win the series, four games to three. New York enters tomorrow’s contest with a 221-239-8 record all-time in 468 playoff contests (124-92-2 at home; 97-147-6 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. CANADIENS
The Rangers and Canadiens are meeting in the playoffs for the 15th time, and the first time since the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 1996. The Rangers have posted a 7-7 playoff series record against Montreal, and are 25-34-2 in 61 playoff contests against the Canadiens. New York has faced off in more playoff series against Montreal than any NHL opponent, and has now faced the Canadiens in at least one playoff series in seven out of the last nine decades.
RANGERS vs. CANADIENS (Regular Season):
• All-Time: 192-324-94-4 overall (127-124-54-1 at home; 65-200-40-3 on the road)
• 2013-14: New York was 1-1-1 overall (0-1-0 at home; 1-0-1 on the road). All three contests were separated by two goals or fewer, and two games were separated by one goal. The Rangers allowed two goals or fewer in every contest, giving up a total of three goals in the three games. Cam Talbot posted his first career NHL shutout against Montreal on Nov. 16, while Brad Richards and Derek Stepan each tallied an assist against the Canadiens during the season. The Blueshirts’ penalty kill was 10-11 (90.9%) in the three contests.
• New York was 25-14-2 on the road during the regular season (4-3 in the playoffs); Montreal was 23-13-5 at home (4-1 in the playoffs)
• New York lists three former Canadiens on its roster: Dominic Moore (2009-10); Benoit Pouliot (2009-10 – 2010-11); Raphael Diaz (2011-12 – 2013-14)
• Montreal lists two former Rangers on its 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 (Regular Season):
• Henrik Lundqvist – 27 GP, 13-11-2, 2.84 GAA, 1 SO
• Martin St. Louis – 49 GP, 18-22—40
• Brad Richards – 40 GP, 9-14—23
• Dominic Moore – 28 GP, 4-13—17
• Dan Girardi – 28 GP, 3-6 —9
• Power Play: The Rangers were 1-2 (2:01) in Game 7 at Pittsburgh. The Blueshirts are 13th in the NHL overall (6-55, 10.9%), and are ninth on the road (3-26, 11.5%) in the playoffs. They have allowed one shorthanded goal in the playoffs: 5/7 vs. PIT (Sutter). 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 1-1 (0:50) in Game 7 at Pittsburgh. The Blueshirts are ninth in the NHL overall (34-41, 82.9%), and are seventh on the road (18-22, 81.8%) in the playoffs. New York ranked third in the NHL overall (198-232, 85.3%), and third on the road (109-127, 85.8%) in 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 yield/tally a goal in two four-on-four situations (3:12) in Game 7 at Pittsburgh. The Blueshirts are -1 in 16 four-on-four situations in the playoffs (20:08), 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 goals against per game (2.14)
• 1st in blocked shots (245)
• 3rd in shots against per game (28.4)
• Henrik Lundqvist is tied for 1st in wins (eight), is 2nd in GAA (1.99) and is tied for 1st in SV% (.931)
• Rick Nash is 1st in shots on goal (52)
• Kevin Klein and Anton Stralman are tied for 1st in plus/minus rating (plus-seven)
• Dan Girardi is tied for 4th in blocked shots (35)
The Rangers have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in the last three seasons. Since the NHL expanded to a four-round playoff format prior to the 1974-75 season, this is the second time that the Blueshirts have advanced to the third round of the playoffs twice in a three-year span (1979-1981 – reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 1979, reached the Semifinals in 1981).
The Rangers’ victory in Game 7 against Pittsburgh on Tuesday was their second victory in a Game 7 in the playoffs this year. New York has posted an 8-5 record in 13 Game 7s in franchise history, and has won eight of its last nine Game 7s, dating back to the Patrick Division Semifinals vs. New Jersey in 1992. The Blueshirts have played in a Game 7 in six of their last nine playoff series, including five of their last seven series.
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 set an NHL record with his fifth consecutive victory in a Game 7 on Tuesday against Pittsburgh. He has posted a 10-2 record, with a 1.32 GAA, a .957 SV%, and 2 SO in his last 12 games when the Rangers have faced elimination, and is 5-0 with a 0.80 GAA, a .973 SV%, and 1 SO in his last five Game 7s. The Rangers goaltender has started a franchise-record, 80 consecutive playoff games, dating back to Apr. 26, 2006 vs. New Jersey. Lundqvist is the third goalie in NHL history to start 80 consecutive playoff games with one team (Martin Brodeur – New Jersey, Patrick Roy – Colorado).
FAST START/STRONG FINISH
The Rangers have posted a 7-2 record when scoring the first goal of the game in the playoffs. Including the regular season, New York has won 38 of 47 games when tallying the first goal this year. The Blueshirts are 6-0 when leading after the second period in the playoffs. The Rangers have won 34 out of 37 regular season and playoff games when leading after two periods this year.
Derick Brassard tied for the series-high with four goals and led the team with five points in the Metropolitan Division Finals. The Rangers forward tallied two game-winning goals in the series, including his first career playoff overtime goal in Game 1. Both of Brassard’s game-winning tallies were on the road. He is the first Ranger to record two GWG on the road in one playoff series since Adam Graves in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 1996 against Montreal. Brassard is tied for the team lead in goals (four) and is tied for fifth on the team in points (seven) in the playoffs.
DOING IT ALL
Mats Zuccarello ranks among the top five on the team in the following categories in the playoffs:
• 1st in takeaways (11)
• T-1st in assists (five)
• T-2nd in points (eight)
• T-2nd in PPA (two)
• T-3rd in PPP (two)
• T-3rd in hits (31)
• 4th in plus/minus rating (plus-five)
• T-4th in goals (three)
• 5th in blocked shots (19)
DAN’S THE MAN
Dan Girardi is two games shy of passing Rod Gilbert for sole possession of fifth place on the Rangers’ all-time playoff games played list.
NYR ALL-TIME PLAYOFF GAMES PLAYED LIST
2. Don Maloney – 85
3. Ron Greschner – 84
4. Brian Leetch – 82
5. Rod Gilbert – 79
6. Dan Girardi – 78
INJURIES (10 Man-Game Lost – Playoffs):
Photo by Getty Images (Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle, Henri Richard, 1967).