Game Preview: New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
NEW YORK RANGERS at WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Saturday, Apr. 11, 2015, 12:30 p.m. ET
Verizon Center – Washington, DC
Rangers: 52-22-7 (111 pts)
Capitals: 45-25-11 (101 pts)
The Rangers play their final regular season game of the 2014-15 season tomorrow, Apr. 11, against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center (12:30 p.m. ET — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The 2014-15 Regular Season Champions have earned at least one point in 25 of their last 31 games (22-6-3), including 15 of their last 20 games (14-5-1). The Blueshirts have won 22 of their last 30 contests (22-6-2), including 18 of the last 25 games (18-6-1). The Rangers have also recorded at least one point in 28 of their last 35 games (25-7-3). The Blueshirts have won 45 of their last 63 games (45-15-3), including 43 of their last 60 games (43-14-3) and 41 of their last 56 contests (41-12-3). The Rangers have earned at least one point in 58 of their last 77 games (51-19-7), including 51 of their last 67 games (46-16-5). The Rangers have posted a 52-22-7 record this season (111 pts), following a 3-0 loss against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, Apr. 9 at Madison Square Garden. The Capitals enter the contest with a 45-25-11 record this season (101 pts), following a 3-0 win against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, Apr. 8 in Washington.
RANGERS AVAILABILITY SCHEDULE
Prior to tomorrow’s game, Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault will be available to the media at 10:30 a.m.
*Availability subject to change
RANGERS VS. CAPITALS
All-Time: 91-89-18-6 record (50-40-9-3 at home, 41-49-9-3 on the road)
2014-15: Tomorrow’s game is the fourth and final meeting between the Rangers and Capitals this season, and the second/final meeting between the two teams in Washington. The Rangers have posted a 2-1-0 record (1-1-0 at home, 1-0-0 on the road) against the Capitals, following a 5-2 loss on Mar. 29 at MSG. Derick Brassard is tied for first among all skaters with three assists and four points, and Rick Nash has tallied three goals in three games.
New York has posted an 11-5-1 record in its last 17 regular season games against Washington, dating back to Dec. 12, 2010.
Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Ryan Bourque, and John Carlson were teammates on Team USA's gold medal-winning team at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Rangers Assistant General Manager Jim Schoenfeld was the Capitals' head coach for parts of four seasons (1993-94 - 1996-97). He ranks fifth among Capitals Head Coaches in wins (113) and games coached (249) in franchise history.
J.T. Miller and Tom Wilson were teammates in juniors with the Plymouth Whalers (OHL) for one season (2011-12).
Derick Brassard and Jason Chimera were teammates with the Blue Jackets for parts of three seasons (2007-08 - 2009-10).
INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. CAPITALS
Martin St. Louis - 76 GP, 31-51-82 - St. Louis has tallied a point in each of his last 10 games against the Capitals, as well as in 12 of his last 13 games against Washington (nine goals, 11 assists in his last 13 games).
Rick Nash - 18 GP, 12-8-20 - Nash has registered five goals/points in his last four games against Washington and he has tallied 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) in his last 14 regular season games against the Capitals.
Keith Yandle - 10 GP, 0-7-7 - Yandle has tallied five assists/points in his last six games against the Capitals.
New York has posted a 17-1-1 record when outscoring its opponent on special teams in 2014-15
The Rangers were 0-for-2 (4:00) on the power play on Apr. 9 vs. Ottawa
The Rangers were 2-for-2 (4:00) on the penalty kill on Apr. 9 vs. Ottawa
The Blueshirts are tied for fifth in the NHL on the penalty kill this season (84.6%; 198-for-234)
The Rangers have not allowed a power play goal in nine of their last 11 games (27-for-29; 93.1%) and in 12 of their last 15 games (36-for-39; 92.3%). The Blueshirts are 46-for-50 (92.0%) on the penalty kill over the last 18 games and are 53-for-58 (91.4%) on the penalty kill over the last 21 contests. The Blueshirts have not allowed a power play goal in 22 of the last 29 games (72-for-80; 90.0%) and they are 134-for-154 (87.0%) on the penalty kill over the last 57 games.
New York is tied for second in the NHL in SHG (nine) this season and is tied for the NHL lead in SHG (19) since 2013-14.
Derick Brassard - 1 goal away from 100 in his NHL career
Marc Staal - 1 assist away from 100 in his NHL career
Dan Girardi - 2 points away from 200 in his NHL career
Rick Nash - 3 points away from 700 in his NHL career
Mats Zuccarello - 3 assists away from 100 in his NHL career
TOP OF THE HEAP
As a result of their victory over New Jersey on Apr. 7, the Rangers earned the Presidents’ Trophy as the 2014-15 Regular Season Champions. The Rangers have now won the Presidents’ Trophy three times in franchise history (1991-92, 1993-94, 2014-15) and have finished the season with the league’s top record for the fourth time in franchise history (1941-42, 1991-92, 1993-94, 2014-15). New York is the second NHL team to have won the Presidents’ Trophy at least three times since it was first awarded in 1985-86 (Detroit - six), and is the only Wales/Eastern Conference team to have won the Presidents’ Trophy three times.
The Blueshirts tied a single-season franchise record by earning their 52nd win of the season on Apr. 7 at New Jersey. New York has now recorded 52 wins in a season twice in franchise history (1993-94, 2014-15). The Rangers have earned 111 points this season, which is the second most they have earned in one season in franchise history and is one shy of their single-season franchise record (112 in 1993-94).
The Rangers have established single-season franchise records in road wins (27) and road points (56) this season. The Blueshirts are the first NHL team to record 27 road wins in one season since Vancouver did so in 2010-11 (the Canucks’ head coach in 2010-11 was Alain Vigneault). New York is also the first Eastern Conference team to earn at least 27 road wins in one season since New Jersey won 28 in 1998-99. The Rangers have won nine of their last 10 road games (9-1-0) and have earned at least one point in 10 of their last 11 road contests (9-1-1). The Blueshirts have won 14 of their last 17 road games (14-2-1), 16 of their last 21 road contests (16-4-1), 20 of their last 26 road games (20-5-1), and 24 of their last 31 road contests (24-6-1). The Rangers lead the NHL in road wins, road points, and road point percentage (.700) this season.
TAKING THE METRO
The Rangers clinched the 2014-15 Metropolitan Division title with a win on Apr. 2 at Minnesota. The Blueshirts have won a division title for the eighth time in franchise history and for the second time in the last four seasons (2011-12). The Blueshirts have won a division title twice in a four-season span for the first time since they earned two division titles in a three-season span from 1991-92 to 1993-94.
RANK AND FILE
The Rangers are the only team to rank in the top three in the NHL in both goals per game (third - 3.01) and goals against per game (third - 2.28) in 2014-15. The Blueshirts lead the NHL in all of the following categories: wins (52), points (111), goal differential (plus-58), and ROW (48).
CLINCHING A SPOT
By clinching a playoff berth, the Rangers have now reached the playoffs in five straight seasons and in nine of the last 10 seasons. Entering 2014-15, the Rangers were one of four teams to reach the playoffs in at least eight of the previous nine seasons (along with Pittsburgh, Detroit, and San Jose).
Alain Vigneault is the second head coach in NHL history who has earned a Presidents’ Trophy three times in his career (Scotty Bowman – four). Vigneault is also the fourth head coach who has earned a Presidents’ Trophy with two different teams in his career (Vancouver and the Rangers), joining Bowman (Pittsburgh and Detroit), Mike Keenan (Chicago and the NY Rangers), and Joel Quenneville (St. Louis and Chicago). Vigneault leads all NHL head coaches in wins (410) since the start of the 2006-07 season and he leads all Rangers head coaches (min. 100 games coached) in point percentage (.635) in franchise history.
Rick Nash was named the Rangers' MVP and the winner of the Players' Player Award for the 2014-15 season. Nash is the eighth Ranger who has won both awards in the same season since 1958-59, along with John Vanbiesbrouck (1985-86), James Patrick (1987-88), Adam Graves (1992-93), Mark Messier (1995-96), Mike Richter (1999-00), Brian Leetch (2000-01 and 2002-03), and Ryan McDonagh (2013-14). Nash has also established a career-high with 42 goals this season. He enters the game ranked among the top 10 in the NHL in all of the following categories: even strength goals (first - 32), games with a goal (second - 35), SOG (second - 304), goals per game (tied for second - 0.53), SHG (tied for second - four), SHP (tied for second - five), goals (third - 42), GWG (tied for third - eight), takeaways (sixth - 74), and plus/minus rating (sixth - plus-29). He is the only NHL player who ranks among the top 10 in all of those categories.
Henrik Lundqvist is the only goalie in NHL history who has recorded at least 20 wins in each of his first 10 seasons in the league. He is also the only NHL goalie who has won at least 20 games in each of the last 10 seasons (2005-06 - 2014-15). Since entering the NHL in 2005-06, Lundqvist leads all goalies (min. 300 appearances) in appearances (619), wins (338), shutouts (55), and GAA (2.26), and is tied for first in SV% (.921).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Ryan McDonagh is one of five NHL defensemen who ranks first – or is tied for first – among all defensemen on his respective team in assists, points, power play assists, power play points, shorthanded assists, and shorthanded points this season (Duncan Keith – CHI; Drew Doughty – LAK; Ryan Suter – MIN; Roman Josi – NSH).
INJURIES (123 Man-Games Lost to Injury):
Kevin Klein - upper-body
Rick Nash - day-to-day
Marc Staal - day-to-day
Mats Zuccarello - soreness - day-to-day
Apr. 9 - Recalled Ryan Bourque and Chris Summers from Hartford (AHL)