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Rangers vs. Canadiens (Game 4): Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. MONTREAL CANADIENS
Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2017, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
 
Rangers: 1-2
Canadiens: 2-1
 
TONIGHT'S GAME
The Rangers play Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens tonight, Apr. 18, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Blueshirts trail the best-of-seven series, two games to one, following Montreal's 3-1 win in Game 3 at MSG.

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).
  • 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 Team USA 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 - 9 GP, 5-3, 2.15 GAA, .930 SV%, 2 SO - In his last four playoff appearances against Montreal, Lundqvist has posted a 2-2 record, along with a 1.65 GAA, a .949 SV% (129 saves on 136 shots), and 2 SO.
  • Ryan McDonagh - 9 GP, 2-8-10 - McDonagh has tallied a point in five of nine 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.
  • Mika Zibanejad - 14 GP, 2-7-9 - Zibanejad has played 14 of his 19 career NHL playoff games against Montreal. He has tallied three assists/points in his last five playoff games against the Canadiens.
  • Derek Stepan - 8 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. 

DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
The Rangers have won five of the last seven playoff games they have played when trailing in a series, dating back to Game 5 of the Second Round against Washington in 2015.
 
CORE FOUR

The Blueshirts have won Game 4 in four of their last six playoff series, dating back to the Eastern Conference Final against Montreal in 2014. In addition, the Rangers have posted a 9-3 record in Game 4 of a playoff series at home since the start of the 2007 Playoffs.
 
FINISHING STRONG
Since the start of the 2013 Playoffs, the Rangers have posted a 19-12 record in Games 4-7 of a playoff series, including a 12-4 record in Games 4-7 of a playoff series at home.
 
WINNING HAB-IT
New York has won nine of its last 13 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. In addition, the Rangers did not have a losing streak or a winless streak longer than three games in length 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 (160).
 
PLAYOFF PERFORMERS
The Rangers lead the NHL in playoff games played since the start of the 2012 Playoffs (84). 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 - 113), Marc Staal (second - 95), Derek Stepan (fourth - 88), Ryan McDonagh (fifth - 87). In addition, Henrik Lundqvist leads all players (skaters or goaltenders) in career playoff appearances with the Rangers (119).
 
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 (119) and career playoff shutouts (10), and he is tied for first among active NHL goaltenders in career playoff wins (56). In addition, he is the Rangers' all-time leader in playoff appearances, wins, and shutouts. Lundqvist has started 118 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). With his next appearance, he will pass Dominik Hasek and Tom Barrasso for sole possession of 10th place on the NHL's all-time appearances list.
 
UP FOR GRABS
Michael Grabner has registered a goal/point in two of the Rangers' first three playoff games this year, and he is tied for second in the NHL in goals in the playoffs in 2017. He has recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) and a plus-five rating in his last nine 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 11 games (dating back to the regular season), tallying six goals over the span. He leads the Rangers in shots on goal in the playoffs this year (10).
 
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. He leads the Rangers in average ice time in the playoffs this year (26:40).
 
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 ninth in the NHL in playoff goals since the start of the 2012 Playoffs.
 
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei tallied his first career NHL playoff goal in Game 3 vs. Montreal. He leads the Rangers in hits (17) and is tied for the team lead in plus/minus rating (plus-two) in the 2017 Playoffs. 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 3 vs. 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 1-for-3 (5:07) in Game 3 vs. Montreal.
  • Dating back to the regular season, New York has not allowed a power play goal against in six of its last eight games (19-for-22; 86.4%).
  • 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
  • Apr. 16 - Recalled Magnus Hellberg from Hartford (AHL) 

THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Apr. 17, 1993 - The Rangers hired Mike Keenan as Head Coach.
  • Apr. 17, 1994 - The Rangers began the 1994 Playoffs with a 6-0 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Islanders at MSG.
  • Apr. 17, 2007 - Michael Nylander tallied a hat trick and Henrik Lundqvist earned his first career NHL playoff shutout as the Rangers defeated the Atlanta Thrashers, 7-0, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at MSG.
  • Apr. 18, 1950 - Don Raleigh registered the game-winning goal at 8:34 of overtime as the Rangers defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 4-3, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
  • Apr. 18, 1971 - Pete Stemkowski recorded the game-winning goal at 1:37 of overtime as the Rangers defeated the Chicago Black Hawks, 2-1, in Game 1 of the Semifinals in Chicago. The goal was the first of two overtime goals Stemkowski tallied in the series.
  • Apr. 18, 1994 - Mike Richter posted his second shutout in as many days, as the Rangers defeated the Islanders, 6-0, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at MSG.
  • Apr. 18, 1995 - Brian Leetch tied a single-game franchise record with five assists, and established single-game franchise records for defensemen with five assists and five points as the Rangers faced the Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • Apr. 18, 1999 - Wayne Gretzky skated in his final NHL game as the Rangers faced the Pittsburgh Penguins at MSG.
  • Apr. 18, 2007 - The Rangers completed a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Thrashers by earning a 4-2 win in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at MSG.
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