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Rangers vs. Canadiens (Game 3): Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. MONTREAL CANADIENS
Sunday, Apr. 16, 2017, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
 
Rangers: 1-1
Canadiens: 1-1
 
TONIGHT'S GAME
The Rangers play Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow, Apr. 16, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The best-of-seven series is tied at one game apiece, following Montreal's 4-3 win in overtime in Game 2 at Bell Centre.

RANGERS VS. CANADIENS - PLAYOFF HISTORY
The Rangers are facing the Canadiens in a playoff series for the 16th time in franchise history. New York has won eight of 15 all-time playoff series against Montreal. The Blueshirts have played more playoff series and have won more playoff series against Montreal than against any other NHL opponent in franchise history. The two teams are meeting in a playoff series for the first time since the Eastern Conference Final in 2014, when the Rangers defeated the Canadiens, four games to two.
 
RANGERS-CANADIENS CONNECTIONS

  • Ryan McDonagh was selected by Montreal in the first round (12th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Alain Vigneault began his NHL head coaching career with the Canadiens in 1997-98. Vigneault served as Montreal's Head Coach for parts of four seasons (1997-98 - 2000-01).
  • Benoit Allaire served as Goaltending Coach with the Canadiens for one season (1996-97).
  • Mats Zuccarello and Andreas Martinsen are the only two Norwegian-born players who are currently in the NHL. Zuccarello and Martinsen have been teammates with Team Norway in several international tournaments.
  • J.T. Miller, Jimmy Vesey, and Alex Galchenyuk helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Al Montoya was selected by the Rangers in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Max Pacioretty is a native of New Canaan, Connecticut, and he was a Rangers fan growing up.

 
INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. CANADIENS (Statistics are only from playoff games)

  • Henrik Lundqvist - 8 GP, 5-2, 2.03 GAA, .934 SV%, 2 SO - In his last three playoff appearances against Montreal, Lundqvist has posted a 2-1 record, along with a 1.21 GAA, a .963 SV% (103 saves on 107 shots), and 2 SO.
  • Ryan McDonagh - 8 GP, 2-8-10 - McDonagh has tallied a point in five of eight career playoff games against Montreal. McDonagh registered 10 points against Montreal in the Eastern Conference Final in 2014, becoming the first Rangers defenseman to register at least 10 points in one playoff series since Brian Leetch in the Stanley Cup Final against Vancouver in 1994.
  • Derek Stepan - 7 GP, 3-5-8 - Stepan has tallied a point in five of eight career playoff games against the Canadiens and has posted three multi-point games over the span.
  • Rick Nash - 8 GP, 4-2-6 - Nash has recorded a goal/point in four of eight career playoff contests against Montreal. 

SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE
The Rangers have split the first two games of a playoff series in each of their last five playoff series, dating back to the start of the 2015 Playoffs. In addition, the Blueshirts have split the first two games in 10 of their 14 playoff series since the start of the 2012 Playoffs. Entering the 2017 Playoffs, the Rangers posted a 6-3 series record in the last nine series in which they split the first two games.
 
WINNING HAB-IT
New York has won nine of its last 12 playoff games against Montreal, dating back to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 1996.
 
BOUNCE BACK
The Rangers posted a 23-7-4 record in games following a loss during the regular season in 2016-17.
 
HITTING MACHINE
The Blueshirts were credited with 74 hits in Game 2 at Montreal. The Rangers' 74 hits were the most the team has recorded in a playoff game since hits were tracked by the NHL in 1997-98. The Rangers lead the NHL in hits in the playoffs this year (119).
 
PLAYOFF PERFORMERS
The Rangers lead the NHL in playoff games played since the start of the 2012 Playoffs (83). In addition, the Blueshirts lead all Eastern Conference teams in playoff wins (41) and playoff series wins (eight) over the span. New York has won at least one playoff series in four of the last five years.
 
PLAYOFF BOUND
The Blueshirts are one of three NHL teams that have made the playoffs in every season since 2010-11 (Chicago and Pittsburgh) and are one of four NHL teams that have made the playoffs 11 times in 12 seasons since 2005-06 (Detroit, Pittsburgh, and San Jose).
 
GOALS GALORE
The Blueshirts ranked fourth in the NHL in goals per game in 2016-17 (3.09). The Rangers tallied 256 goals this season, recording at least 256 goals in one season for the first time since 2005-06 (257).
 
PLAYING THE GAME
Four players currently on the Rangers roster rank among the top five players in franchise history in career playoff games played (among skaters): Dan Girardi (first - 112), Marc Staal (second - 94), Derek Stepan (fourth - 87), Ryan McDonagh (fifth - 86). In addition, Henrik Lundqvist leads all players (skaters or goaltenders) in career playoff appearances with the Rangers (118).
 
ON POINT
Rangers defensemen recorded 54 points (16 goals, 38 assists) in the final 28 games of the regular season, and a Rangers defenseman tallied a goal in 14 of the 28 contests over the span. Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei ranked first and second among team defensemen, respectively, in points this season (McDonagh - 42; Skjei - 39). In 2016-17, two Rangers defensemen tallied at least 39 points in the same season for the first time since 1993-94 (Brian Leetch and Sergei Zubov).
 
AV SQUAD
Alain Vigneault is one of three head coaches in Rangers history who have guided the team to the playoffs in at least four consecutive seasons (Lester Patrick and Emile Francis). Entering this season, Vigneault was tied for second among NHL head coaches in playoff series coached (20) and playoff games coached (117) since 2007. The only NHL head coaches who have coached in as many playoff series and games over the span are Joel Quenneville and Mike Babcock.
 
KING HENRIK
Henrik Lundqvist established a single-game playoff career-high with 54 saves in Game 2 at Montreal. Lundqvist's 54 saves were also the most he has made in any game of his NHL career (regular season or playoffs), and according to the Elias Sports Bureau, his 54 saves were the most a Rangers goaltender has made in a playoff game since expansion (1967-68). Lundqvist leads all active NHL goaltenders in career playoff appearances (118), career playoff wins (56), and career playoff shutouts (10), and he is also the Rangers' all-time leader in playoff appearances, wins, and shutouts. Lundqvist has started 117 consecutive playoff games, dating back to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against New Jersey in 2006. Lundqvist is one of three goaltenders in NHL history who have started at least 100 consecutive playoff games with one franchise (Brodeur - New Jersey; Roy - Colorado). In the Rangers' 26 playoff wins since the start of the 2014 Playoffs, Lundqvist has posted a 1.27 GAA, a .958 SV%, and 2 SO, and he has allowed one goal or fewer in 18 of the 26 wins. Since the start of the 2012 Playoffs, Lundqvist has posted a 22-14 record, along with a 2.12 GAA, a .928 SV%, and 4 SO in 36 playoff appearances which have followed a Rangers loss.
 
UP FOR GRABS
Michael Grabner has registered a goal/point in each of the Rangers' first two playoff games this year, and he is tied for the NHL lead in goals in the playoffs this year. He has recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) and a plus-five rating in his last eight playoff games. Grabner was one of three NHL players who registered at least 27 goals and a plus-22 rating during the regular season in 2016-17 (along with Connor McDavid and T.J. Oshie).
 
RICK ROLLING
Rick Nash has tallied a goal/point in six of his last 10 games (dating back to the regular season), tallying six goals over the span.
 
CAPTAIN MAC
Ryan McDonagh was selected as the Rangers' MVP this season, becoming the third defenseman to win the award at least twice (Brian Leetch and Barry Beck). McDonagh established a career-high in assists this season (36), and he was one of six NHL defensemen who recorded at least 40 points and a plus-20 rating in 2016-17.
 
WELCOME MATS
Mats Zuccarello led the Rangers in several categories during the 2016-17 season, including assists (44) and points (59). Zuccarello received the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award in 2016-17, becoming the third Rangers player to win the award at least three times since it was first presented in 1987-88.
 
KREID-ING HIGH
Chris Kreider established career-highs in goals (28) and points (53), and he tied his career-high in assists (25) this season. He also led the Rangers in goals and games with a goal (24) in 2016-17. Kreider ranks 10th on the Rangers' all-time playoff goals list (20), and he is tied for eighth in the NHL in playoff goals since the start of the 2012 Playoffs.
  
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei recorded 39 points this season, and his 39 points were the most a Rangers defenseman tallied in his rookie season since Brian Leetch in 1988-89. Skjei led NHL rookies in even strength assists in 2016-17 (27). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Skjei became the first NHL defenseman to record at least 27 even strength assists in his rookie season since Larry Murphy in 1980-81.
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
 
Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 0-for-3 (6:00) in Game 2 at Montreal.
  • Entering the playoffs, the Blueshirts had tallied a power play goal in four of their final six regular season games and in 10 of their final 15 regular season games. The Rangers were 13-for-38 (34.2%) on the power play over the final 15 regular season games (from Mar. 9 until the end of the regular season) and led the NHL in power play efficiency over the span.

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 4-for-4 (8:00) in Game 2 at Montreal.
  • Dating back to the regular season, New York has not allowed a power play goal against in six of its last seven games (18-for-19; 94.7%).
  • The Blueshirts tied for sixth in the NHL in SHG in the regular season in 2016-17 (nine).

INJURIES (0 Man-Games Lost to Injury in Playoffs)
None
 
RECENT TRANSACTIONS
Apr. 14 - Agreed to terms with Steven Kampfer on a new contract
 
THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Apr. 15, 1971 - Bob Nevin tallied an overtime goal to give the Rangers a 2-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 of the Quarterfinals. The goal ended the series, which the Rangers won, four games to two.
  • Apr. 16, 1992 - Brian Leetch tallied four points (one goal, three assists), including his 100th point of the 1991-92 season, to become the fifth defenseman in NHL history to tally at least 100 points in a season. The Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 7-1, at MSG.
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