Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. MONTREAL CANADIENS
Thursday, May 29, 8:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 11-8 (3-2)*
Canadiens: 10-6 (2-3)*
* 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 6 of their Eastern Conference Finals matchup. The Blueshirts lead the best-of-seven series, three games to two, following the Canadiens’ 7-4 victory in Game 5 on Tuesday at Bell Centre. New York enters the contest with a 224-241-8 record all-time in 473 playoff contests (125-93-2 at home; 99-148-6 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 28-36-2 in 66 playoff contests against the Canadiens following Game 5. 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 (5-4 in the playoffs); Montreal was 23-15-3 on the road (5-3 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 1-7 (10:59) in Game 5 at Montreal. The Blueshirts are tied for ninth in the NHL overall (11-77, 14.3%), and are 15th at home (3-34, 8.8%) in the playoffs. They have allowed three shorthanded goals in the playoffs: 5/7 vs. PIT (Sutter); 5/17 at MTL (Eller); 5/27 at MTL (Desharnais – EN). The Rangers have tallied a power play goal in five of their last eight games (8-33; 24.2%), and are 5-22 (22.7%) on the power play in the series. 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 3-4 (8:41) in Game 5 at Montreal. The Blueshirts are third in the NHL overall (53-62, 85.5%), and are seventh at home (25-29, 86.2%) in the playoffs. The Rangers are 40-43 (93.0%) on the penalty kill in the last 13 games, 32-34 (94.1%) in their last 10 games, and are 19-21 (90.5%) in the series. The Blueshirts have recorded one shorthanded goal in the playoffs: 5/25 vs. MTL (Hagelin). 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 two four-on-four situations (1:35) in Game 5 at Montreal. The Blueshirts are -1 in 24 four-on-four situations in the playoffs (28:56), 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.
FINISHING THE JOB
New York has posted a 14-2 playoff series record in 16 all-time best-of-seven playoff series in which they held a three games to two lead following Game 5. The Rangers have won 10 of 16 Game 6s when holding a 3-2 series lead.
Chris Kreider recorded a single-game playoff career-high, four points (one goal, three assists), and led all skaters with a single-game playoff career-high, six shots on goal in Game 5 on Tuesday. Kreider’s three assists were also a single-game playoff career-high. Kreider recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in the second period of the contest. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kreider became the first Ranger to tally three points in one period of a playoff game since Jaromir Jagr registered three points (three assists) in the first period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 17, 2007 vs. Atlanta. The Rangers forward has tallied a point in four of the last five games, and has recorded 10 points (four goals, six assists) in the last eight contests. Since returning to the lineup in Game 4 of the Metropolitan Division Finals on May 7 vs. Pittsburgh, Kreider leads the team in goals (four) and ranks second on the team in points (10).
Ryan McDonagh leads all skaters in assists (seven) and points (nine) in the series. McDonagh is the first Rangers defenseman to register seven assists and nine points in one playoff series since Brian Leetch in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Quebec Nordiques in 1995. McDonagh leads the team in assists (nine) and power play points (six), and ranks third on the team in points (12) in the playoffs. McDonagh recorded four points (one goal, three assists) in Game 1 against Montreal on May 17, tying a team-record for the most points by a defenseman in a playoff game.
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 recorded his 41st career playoff win in Game 4 vs. Montreal on Sunday, tying Mike Richter for first on the team’s all-time playoff wins list. Lundqvist is the ninth goalie in NHL history to win at least 300 regular season games and 40 playoff games with one team. The Rangers goalie has started a franchise-record, 85 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). Lundqvist is tied for first in the NHL in wins (11), and ranks second in the NHL in GAA (2.15) and SV% (.926) in the playoffs.
SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS
Martin St. Louis tallied the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 4 on May 25. The goal was St. Louis’ fourth career overtime goal in the playoffs, and his first since Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals on June 5, 2004 at Calgary, when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Rangers forward tied a playoff career-high with a six-game point streak from Game 6 of the Metropolitan Division Finals vs. Pittsburgh to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. Montreal (four goals, three assists over the span). St. Louis is tied for the team lead in goals (six) and points (13) in the playoffs.
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, reached the Semifinals in 1981).
Derek Stepan posted his first career multi-goal game in postseason play in Game 5 on Tuesday. The Rangers forward has tallied a point in each of his last six games (three goals, six assists) over the span. Stepan is tied for the team lead in goals (three) in the series, and is tied for the team lead in points (13) in the playoffs.
DAN’S THE MAN
Dan Girardi leads the team in hits (61) and blocked shots (49) in the playoffs. He ranks fourth on the team’s all-time playoff games played list.
NYR ALL-TIME PLAYOFF GAMES PLAYED LIST
2. Don Maloney – 85
3. Ron Greschner – 84
4. Dan Girardi – 83
5. Brian Leetch – 82
INJURIES (14 Man-Games Lost – Playoffs):
• J.T. Miller – (upper-body injury on 5/25) – 1
Photo by Getty Images.