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Rangers vs. Canadiens (Game 6): Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. MONTREAL CANADIENS
Saturday, Apr. 22, 2017, 8:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
 
Rangers: 3-2
Canadiens: 2-3
 
TONIGHT'S GAME
The Rangers play Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens tonight, Apr. 22, at Madison Square Garden (8:00 p.m. ET - TV: NBC Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Blueshirts lead the best-of-seven series, three games to two, following their 3-2 win in overtime in Game 5 of the series 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 - 11 GP, 7-3, 1.99 GAA, .934 SV%, 2 SO - In his last six playoff appearances against the Canadiens (since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final in 2014), Lundqvist has posted a 4-2 record, along with a 1.54 GAA, a .949 SV%, and 2 SO.
  • Ryan McDonagh - 11 GP, 2-9-11 - McDonagh has tallied a point in six of 11 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 - 16 GP, 3-8-11 - Zibanejad has played 16 of his 21 career NHL playoff games against the Canadiens, and he has recorded five points (one goal, four assists) in his last seven playoff contests against Montreal.
  • Rick Nash - 11 GP, 5-3-8 - Nash has recorded a point in six of 11 career playoff games against Montreal.

HIGH FIVE
Prior to this year, the Rangers won each of their last 14 playoff series in which they earned a win in Game 5, dating back to the Patrick Division Semifinals against Philadelphia in 1986.
 
HOME COOKING
The Rangers have won 14 of their last 17 playoff games at MSG in which they have had a chance to close out a series, dating back to the Patrick Division Finals against Washington in 1986. New York has also won six of seven such contests at MSG since the start of the 2012 Playoffs. 
 
THREE'S COMPANY
The Blueshirts' win in Game 5 against Montreal was the 12th time in franchise history that they won Game 5 to take a three-games-to-two lead in a best-of-seven series. The Rangers posted a 10-1 series record in the previous 11 playoff series in which they earned a win in Game 5 to take a three-games-to-two lead.
 
COMEBACK KIDS
The Rangers have rallied from a two-games-to-one deficit to take a three-games-to-two lead in a best-of-seven series for the eighth time in franchise history (the Rangers also accomplished the feat in the following series: Semifinals vs. Boston in 1940; Stanley Cup Final vs. Detroit in 1950; Semifinals vs. Toronto in 1971; Quarterfinals vs. Montreal in 1974; Patrick Division Finals vs. Washington in 1986; Patrick Division Semifinals vs. New Jersey in 1992; Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. Montreal in 1996). The Blueshirts posted a 6-1 series record in those previous seven series in which they rallied from a two-games-to-one deficit to take a three-games-to-two lead.
 
FINISHING STRONG
The Rangers have posted a 12-4 record in the last 16 contests which were either Game 6 or Game 7 of a playoff series, dating back to the start of the 2012 Playoffs. In addition, the Blueshirts have posted a 7-1 record in the last eight contests which were either Game 6 or Game 7 of a playoff series, dating back to Game 7 of the First Round against Philadelphia in 2014.
 
WINNING HAB-IT
New York has won 11 of its last 15 playoff games against Montreal, dating back to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 1996.
 
PLAYOFF PERFORMERS
The Rangers lead the NHL in playoff games played since the start of the 2012 Playoffs (86). In addition, the Blueshirts lead all Eastern Conference teams in playoff wins (43) and playoff series wins (eight) over the span. Prior to this year, New York had won at least one playoff series in four of the previous five years.
 
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 (252).
 
WORKING OVERTIME
The Rangers have earned at least one win in overtime in six of their last 10 playoff series, dating back to the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Boston in 2013. The Blueshirts have played at least two overtime games in 10 of their last 15 playoff series, dating back to the start of the 2011 Playoffs.
 
SHUTTING THE DOOR
New York has allowed two goals or fewer in 26 of its 28 playoff wins since the start of the 2014 Playoffs.
 
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
Since the start of the 2012 Playoffs, Henrik Lundqvist has posted an 8-3 record, along with a 1.58 GAA, a .945 SV%, and 2 SO in 12 appearances in which the Rangers have had a chance to close out a playoff series.
Lundqvist has also posted a 6-1 record, along with a 0.96 GAA, a .964 SV%, and 1 SO in seven appearances at MSG in which the Rangers have had a chance to close out a playoff series since the start of the 2012 Playoffs.
In addition, Lundqvist has posted a 7-2 record, along with a 1.56 GAA, a .942 SV%, and 1 SO in nine career appearances at MSG in which the Blueshirts have had a chance to close out a playoff series.
 
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 has posted a 3-2 record, along with a 1.83 GAA, a .944 SV%, and 1 SO thus far in the playoffs this year. He ranks second in the NHL in saves (168) and ranks third in the NHL in SV% in the 2017 Playoffs. Lundqvist leads all active NHL goaltenders in career playoff appearances (121), career playoff wins (58), and career playoff shutouts (10). In addition, he is the Rangers' all-time leader in playoff appearances, wins, and shutouts. Lundqvist has started 120 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' 28 playoff wins since the start of the 2014 Playoffs, Lundqvist has posted a 1.28 GAA, a .957 SV%, and 2 SO.
 
RICK ROLLING
Rick Nash has tallied a goal in seven of his last 13 games (dating back to the regular season), tallying eight points (seven goals, one assist) over the span. He has registered 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his last 14 playoff games, dating back to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay in 2015. Nash leads the Rangers in shots on goal (20), and he is tied for the team lead in goals (two) and points (three) in the playoffs this year.
 
MIKA MAGIC
Mika Zibanejad tallied the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 5 at Montreal. Zibanejad's goal in Game 5 was his first career NHL playoff overtime goal, as well as his career NHL playoff game-winning goal. He is tied for the team lead in assists (two) and points (three) in the 2017 Playoffs.
 
FAST FACTS
Jesper Fast leads the Rangers in hits (23), and he is tied for the team lead in goals (two), points (three) and plus/minus rating (plus-four) in the playoffs this year. He has recorded a goal/point in each of the last two games, and he has also notched a point in each of the Rangers' three wins thus far in the 2017 Playoffs.
 
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). The Rangers captain 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. McDonagh ranks fourth among defensemen in career playoff assists in franchise history (27), and the only Rangers defensemen who have tallied more career playoff assists than McDonagh are Brian Leetch, Brad Park, and Ron Greschner.
 
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei has registered two goals in the 2017 Playoffs, and he is the first Rangers defenseman who has tallied at least two playoff goals in his rookie year since Brian Leetch in 1989. Skjei is tied for first among NHL defensemen in goals in the playoffs this year, and he is also tied for the team lead in playoff goals in 2017. He 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 also 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-2 (4:00) in Game 5 at Montreal.
  • The Blueshirts 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 3-for-4 (7:51) and registered a shorthanded goal in Game 5 at Montreal.
  • Dating back to the regular season, New York has not allowed a power play goal against in seven of its last 10 games (25-for-29; 86.2%).
  • The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL in SHG in the 2017 Playoffs (one).
  • 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. 21 - Agreed to terms with free agent defenseman Alexei Bereglazov
  • Apr. 16 - Recalled Magnus Hellberg from Hartford (AHL) 

THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Apr. 21, 1992 - Mark Messier tied a single-game playoff franchise record by registering two shorthanded goals in Game 2 of the Patrick Division Semifinals against the New Jersey Devils at MSG.
  • Apr. 21, 1994 - Brian Leetch tied a single-game playoff franchise record for defensemen by tallying four points (one goal, three assists) as the Rangers defeated the New York Islanders, 5-1, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
  • Apr. 22, 1971 - Jean Ratelle became the first Ranger to tally four assists in a playoff game, and Vic Hadfield registered a hat trick as the Rangers defeated the Chicago Black Hawks, 4-1, in Game 3 of the Semifinals at MSG.
  • Apr. 22, 1979 - John Davidson recorded his only career NHL playoff shutout, as the Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 6-0, in Game 4 of the Quarterfinals at MSG.
  • Apr. 22, 1997 - Esa Tikkanen registered the game-winning goal in overtime as the Rangers defeated the Florida Panthers, 4-3, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at MSG.
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