Game Preview: New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 1)
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Thursday, Apr. 16, 2015, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Penguins: 43-27-12 (98 pts)*
Rangers: 53-22-7 (113 pts)*
*Regular Season records
The Rangers face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow, Apr. 16, in Game 1 of the Metropolitan Division Semifinals at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The 2014-15 Regular Season Champions earned at least one point in 26 of their final 32 regular season games (23-6-3), including 16 of their final 21 games (15-5-1). The Blueshirts won 23 of their final 31 contests (23-6-2), including 19 of the final 26 games (19-6-1). The Rangers also recorded at least one point in 29 of their final 36 games (26-7-3). The Blueshirts won 46 of their final 64 games (46-15-3), including 44 of their final 61 games (44-14-3) and 42 of their final 57 contests (42-12-3). The Rangers earned at least one point in 59 of their final 78 games (52-19-7), including 52 of their final 68 games (47-16-5).
RANGERS PRACTICE SCHEDULE
Prior to tomorrow’s game, the Rangers will have a morning skate at 10:30 a.m. at Madison Square Garden. Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault will be available to the media following the morning skate.
*Schedule and availability subject to change
RANGERS VS. PENGUINS - 2014-15 IN REVIEW
The Rangers posted a 3-0-1 record against the Penguins in 2014-15. Henrik Lundqvist appeared in all four games of the season series, posting a 3-0-1 record, along with a 1.69 GAA and a .950 SV%. Twelve different Rangers tallied at least two points in the season series. Rick Nash led all skaters with four goals, seven points, and a plus-five rating, and tied for first among all skaters with three assists. Derick Brassard and Martin St. Louis each tallied five points (two goals, three assists) in the season series, as both players recorded a point in each of the four contests.
RANGERS VS. PENGUINS - PLAYOFF HISTORY
The Rangers and Penguins are playing against each other in a playoff series for the second consecutive season, and for the sixth time overall. The Rangers have posted a 1-4 playoff series record against Pittsburgh, and defeated the Penguins, four games to three, in the Metropolitan Division Finals last season. New York is facing Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs for the first time since the Patrick Division Semifinals in 1989.
Tanner Glass (2012-13 - 2013-14) and Dominic Moore (2006-07) both played for the Penguins.
Moore and Craig Adams both played college hockey at Harvard.
Derek Stepan and Sidney Crosby both attended Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota.
Kevin Klein and Patric Hornqvist were teammates with Nashville for parts of six seasons (2008-09 - 2013-14). Klein was also teammates with Nick Spaling for parts of five seasons (2009-10 - 2013-14).
INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. PENGUINS (Regular Season)
Martin St. Louis - 54 GP, 19-33-52 - St. Louis tallied a point in all four regular season games against Pittsburgh in 2014-15 (two goals, three assists) and has recorded a point in eight of his last nine regular season games against the Penguins (two goals, nine assists).
Derick Brassard - 14 GP, 5-11-16 - Brassard has registered a point in eight consecutive regular season games against Pittsburgh and nine of 10 regular season games against the Penguins since he made his debut with the Rangers against Pittsburgh on Apr. 3, 2013 (five goals, eight assists in the 10 contests).
Mats Zuccarello - 14 GP, 3-9-12 - Zuccarello has notched a point in seven of his last eight regular season games against the Penguins (three goals, six assists).
New York posted a 17-1-1 record when outscoring its opponent on special teams in 2014-15
The Rangers were 1-for-4 (7:46) on the power play on Apr. 11 at Washington
The Rangers were 0-for-1 (0:55) on the penalty kill on Apr. 11 at Washington
The Blueshirts ranked sixth in the NHL on the penalty kill during the regular season (84.3%; 198-for-235)
The Rangers did not allow a power play goal in nine of their last 12 regular season games (27-for-30; 90.0%) and in 12 of their final 16 games (36-for-40; 90.0%). The Blueshirts were 46-for-51 (90.2%) on the penalty kill over the final 19 games and were 53-for-59 (89.8%) on the penalty kill over the final 22 contests. The Blueshirts did not allow a power play goal in 22 of the final 30 games (72-for-81; 88.9%) and they were 134-for-155 (86.5%) on the penalty kill over the final 58 games.
New York tied for third in the NHL in SHG (nine) during the regular season. Over the last two seasons (including playoffs) the Rangers have tallied more shorthanded goals (22) than any other NHL team.
The Rangers have home-ice advantage in a playoff series for the fifth time in the last four seasons. The Rangers have won eight of the last nine playoff series in which they have had home-ice advantage, dating back to the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 1994. The Blueshirts have posted a 28-11-1 record in Game 1s which they have played at home in franchise history, and the Rangers have posted a 22-6 playoff series record when they have won Game 1 of a series at home. New York has won at least one home game in 15 consecutive playoff series, dating back to the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 2007.
TOP OF THE HEAP
The Rangers posted a 53-22-7 record this season and earned the Presidents’ Trophy as the 2014-15 Regular Season Champions. In the process, the Blueshirts established single-season franchise records in wins (53) and points (113), eclipsing the previous records established in 1993-94 (52 wins and 112 points). 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 four times 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.
TAKING THE METRO
This season, the Rangers captured their second division title in four years. The Blueshirts have now won a division title eight times in franchise history, and 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.
The Blueshirts were the only team to finish third or higher in the NHL in both goals per game (third - 3.02) and goals against per game (third - 2.28) this season. It is the first time the Rangers finished in the top three in the NHL in both categories since the 1972-73 season.
In 2014-15, five different Rangers defensemen - Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Klein, Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, and Marc Staal - each tallied 20 points in one season for the first time since 1984-85. Boyle has tallied at least 20 points in 14 consecutive seasons (dating back to 2000-01), and he is the only defenseman who has done so over the span.
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, who established career-highs in goals, plus/minus rating, and even strength goals this season, led the NHL in even strength goals (32), ranked second in goals per game (0.53), games with a goal (35), and shots on goal (304), tied for second in shorthanded goals (four) and shorthanded points (five), ranked third in goals (42), tied for third in game-winning goals (eight), and ranked sixth in plus/minus rating (plus-29) and takeaways (74). He was the only player to rank sixth or higher in the NHL in all of those categories.
Henrik Lundqvist earned his 30th win of the 2014-15 season in the Rangers' final game of the regular season on Apr. 11 at Washington. The Rangers' all-time wins and shutouts leader is the only goaltenders in NHL history who has recorded at least 30 wins in nine of his first 10 seasons in the league, and he is also the only NHL goaltender who has won at least 30 games in nine of the last 10 seasons. Lundqvist is one of two goalies in NHL history who have posted a 2.50 GAA or better in each of his first 10 seasons in the NHL. In his last six regular season appearances, Lundqvist posted a 5-1-0 record, along with a 1.99 GAA and a .933 SV%.
Entering the playoffs this year, Lundqvist has appeared in 92 playoff games with the Rangers in his career. When he makes his next appearance, Lundqvist will tie Walt Tkaczuk for the most playoff appearances - skaters and goaltenders included - in franchise history.
ALL-TIME PLAYOFF APPEARANCES IN RANGERS HISTORY (SKATERS AND GOALTENDERS)
1. Walt Tkaczuk - 93
2. Henrik Lundqvist - 92
3. Dan Girardi - 89
DAN'S THE MAN
Dan Girardi skated in all 82 games for the fifth time in his NHL career this season. The Rangers alternate captain is now tied with Brian Leetch for the most seasons in which a Ranger has played all 82 games since the NHL adopted an 82-game schedule in 1995-96. Girardi leads all NHL players in games played (regular season and playoffs) since he made his NHL debut on Jan. 27, 2007 (740). He ranks second on the Rangers’ all-time playoff games played list, and has appeared in the third-most playoff games of any Rangers player (skaters and goaltenders) in franchise history (89).
Derick Brassard tallied his 100th career NHL goal on Apr. 11 at Washington. He established career-highs in goals (19), assists (41), points (60), and PPA (12) this season. Brassard is tied for sixth among NHL centers - and leads the Rangers - in playoff points (24) since the 2013 playoffs.
Chris Kreider was the only player in the NHL who registered at least 20 goals, 40 points, a plus-20 rating, and 80 penalty minutes.Kreider established career-highs in several categories this season, including games played (80), goals (21), assists (25), points (46), power play goals (seven), game-winning goals (five), and plus/minus rating (plus-24). He led the Rangers in power play goals, ranked second in game-winning goals, tied for second in goals, and ranked third in hits (162) and shots on goal (180) in 2014-15.
HEY HEY HAYES
Kevin Hayes tallied six points (two goals, four assists) in his final four regular season games, 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in his final 13 regular season games, 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in his final 25 regular season games, and 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in his final 36 regular season games. He ranked third on the Rangers in goals since Dec. 1 (15), and led the team in points since the All-Star Break with 29. Hayes led all NHL rookies in primary assists (25), ranked second in shooting percentage (15.3%), tied for third in plus/minus rating (plus-15), ranked fifth in points (45), tied for fifth in assists (28), and ranked sixth in goals (17) in 2014-15.
INJURIES (126 Man-Games Lost to Injury - Regular Season):
Kevin Klein – day-to-day
Apr. 12 - Reassigned Ryan Bourque to Hartford (AHL)
THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY
· Apr. 15, 1986 – The Rangers completed an upset of the Philadelphia Flyers in the Patrick Division Semifinals, defeating the Flyers, 5-2, in Game 5 at Philadelphia to win the series, three games to two.
· Apr. 16, 1992 – Brian Leetch became the fifth defenseman in NHL history to earn 100 points in one season. Leetch tallied four points (one goal, three assists) as the Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 7-1, at MSG.