We’re planning a Live ECF Chat Friday at noon. Make plans to be here. Skip work if you must. I will provide notes for your bosses.
Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. MONTREAL CANADIENS
Thursday, May 22, 8:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 10-6 (2-0)*
Canadiens: 8-5 (0-2)*
* Record in the playoffs (record in the series)
The Rangers will face off against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden (8:00 p.m. ET — TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Finals matchup. The Blueshirts lead the best-of-seven series, 2-0, following their 3-1 victory in Game 2 on Monday at Bell Centre. New York enters the contest with a 223-239-8 record all-time in 470 playoff contests (124-92-2 at home; 99-147-6 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 27-34-2 in 63 playoff contests against the Canadiens following Game 2. 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 20-17-4 at home during the regular season (4-3 in the playoffs); Montreal was 23-15-3 on the road (4-2 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 1-3 (3:08) in Game 2 at Montreal. The Blueshirts are ninth in the NHL overall (10-65, 15.4%), and are 12th at home (3-29, 10.3%) in the playoffs. They have allowed two shorthanded goals in the playoffs: 5/7 vs. PIT (Sutter); 5/17 at MTL (Eller). The Rangers have tallied a PPG in four of their last five games (7-21; 33.3% over the span). New York ranked 15th in the NHL overall (48-264, 18.2%), and 24th at home (20-132, 15.2%) during the regular season.
• Penalty Killing: The Rangers were 4-4 (6:34) in Game 2 at Montreal. The Blueshirts are fourth in the NHL overall (41-48, 85.4%), and are eighth at home (16-19, 84.2%) in the playoffs. The Rangers have not allowed a PPG in the last seven games (20 times shorthanded), and are 28-29 (96.6%) in their last 10 games. The last time the Blueshirts didn’t allow a power play goal in at least seven consecutive playoff games was a 10-game stretch in 1940. New York ranked third in the NHL overall (198-232, 85.3%), and sixth at home (89-105, 84.8%) in the regular season.
• Four-on-Four: New York did not yield/tally a goal in three four-on-four situations (4:18) in Game 2 at Montreal. The Blueshirts are -1 in 19 four-on-four situations in the playoffs (24:26), 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.
TWICE AS NICE
The Rangers have posted a 10-2 all-time playoff series record when winning the first two games of a seven-game playoff series, and a 4-1 series record when winning the first two games of a seven-game playoff series on the road.
The Blueshirts have won five straight playoff games, including four straight playoff games on the road, dating back to Game 5 of the Metropolitan Division Finals on May 9 at Pittsburgh. The Blueshirts have won at least five straight playoff games for the first time since they won seven straight from Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 17, 1994 vs. NY Islanders to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 5, 1994 at Washington.
SHUTTING THE DOOR
New York has allowed two goals or fewer in 12 out of 16 playoff games this year, including five consecutive playoff games. The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in at least five straight playoff games for the first time since a seven-game stretch from Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 23, 1997 vs. Florida to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 11, 1997 at New Jersey. The Blueshirts are first in the NHL in goals against per game (2.06) in the playoffs this year.
The Rangers have won six straight playoff games against the Canadiens, including five consecutive road games at Montreal, dating back to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 21, 1996. The Rangers are the second team in NHL history to win five straight playoff games in Montreal, and are one of four teams to win six straight playoff contests against the Canadiens.
Ryan McDonagh leads all players with six points (two goals, four assists) in the Eastern Conference Finals. He is the first Rangers defenseman to tally six points in a two-game span in the playoffs since Brian Leetch in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Quebec in 1995, and the first Ranger to record six points in the first two games of a playoff series since Bernie Nicholls in the Patrick Division Finals in 1990 against Washington. McDonagh registered four points (one goal, three assists) in Game 1 on Saturday, tying a team-record for the most points by a defenseman in a playoff game. It was the fifth time a Blueshirts defenseman had recorded four points in a playoff game (Leetch – twice, Brad Park, and Dave Maloney).
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 goalie set an NHL record with his fifth consecutive win in a Game 7 on May 13 against Pittsburgh. Lundqvist has posted a 0.80 GAA, a .973 SV%, and one shutout in his last five Game 7s. Lundqvist is also 5-0 with a 1.20 GAA and a .964 SV% in his last five games. The Rangers goalie won his 40th career playoff game on Monday, becoming the ninth goalie in NHL history to win at least 300 regular season games and 40 playoff games with one team. Lundqvist has started a franchise-record, 82 consecutive playoff games, dating back to Apr. 26, 2006 vs. New Jersey. He is the third goalie in NHL history to start 80 consecutive playoff games with one team (Martin Brodeur – New Jersey, Patrick Roy – Colorado). Lundqvist leads the NHL in wins (10) and SV% (.934) and ranks second in GAA (1.93) in the playoffs.
NYR GOALIES ALL-TIME PLAYOFF WINS
1. Mike Richter – 41
2. Henrik Lundqvist – 40
3. Ed Giacomin – 29
The Rangers tallied seven goals in Game 1 against Montreal on Saturday, as seven different players recorded a goal. It was the first time the Blueshirts tallied seven goals in a playoff game since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 17, 2007 vs. Atlanta, and the first time they tallied at least seven goals in a playoff game on the road since they recorded eight in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on May 8, 1995 at Quebec. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time seven different Rangers tallied a goal in a playoff game since Game 3 of the Patrick Division Semifinals vs. Philadelphia on Apr. 9, 1983.
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 Rangers have advanced to the third round of the playoffs twice in a three-year span (1979-1981 – reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 1979 and the Semifinals in 1981).
INJURIES (11 Man-Game Lost – Playoffs):
• Derick Brassard – (Injury on 5/17) – 1
Photos by Getty Images.