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Rangers vs. Senators (Game 4): Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / New York Rangers

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. OTTAWA SENATORS
Thursday, May 4, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
 
Rangers: 5-4 (1-2)*
Senators: 6-3 (2-1)*
 
* 2017 Playoffs Record (Second Round Series Record)
 
TONIGHT'S GAME
The Rangers play Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Ottawa Senators tonight, May 4, at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET - TV: NBCSN; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Blueshirts trail the best-of-seven series, two games to one, following their 4-1 win in Game 3 of the series at MSG on May 2.

RANGERS VS. SENATORS - PLAYOFF HISTORY
The Rangers are facing the Senators in a playoff series for the second time in franchise history*. The two teams played against each other in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 2012, and New York defeated Ottawa, four games to three. The Rangers rallied from a three-games-to-two deficit in the series to win Game 6 in Ottawa and close out the series with a 2-1 win in Game 7 at MSG, which was the Rangers' first win in a Game 7 since the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals against Vancouver. Six players currently on the Rangers roster were also on the roster when the team faced Ottawa in 2012: Dan Girardi, Chris Kreider, Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, and Derek Stepan. Lundqvist posted a 4-3 record, along with a 1.70 GAA, a .945 SV%, and 1 SO against Ottawa during the 2012 Playoffs. He stopped 205 of 217 shots in the series, including 26 of 27 shots he faced in Game 7, and allowed two goals or fewer in five of the seven contests. Staal and Girardi each tallied a goal in Game 7 of the series, and Girardi registered the game-winning goal in the contest. Girardi recorded four points (one goal, three assists) in the seven-game series. Kreider made his NHL debut in Game 3 of the series in Ottawa on Apr. 16, 2012, which was less than a week after he signed an entry-level contract with the Rangers on Apr. 10, 2012. Kreider tallied his first goal/point in the NHL in Game 6 of the series, and the goal was the game-winning goal in the contest.
 
* The Rangers played the defunct Ottawa Senators in the playoffs in 1930 (the 'original' Senators played in the NHL from 1917-18 - 1933-34). New York won a two-game, total-goals Quarterfinals series, 6-3.
 
RANGERS-SENATORS CONNECTIONS

  • Alain Vigneault's first coaching staff position in the NHL was as an Assistant Coach with the Senators. Vigneault joined the Senators for their first NHL season in 1992-93 and was a member of Ottawa's coaching staff for parts of four seasons (1992-93 - 1995-96).
  • Mika Zibanejad played parts of five seasons with the Senators (2011-12 - 2015-16). He established career-highs in games played (81), goals (21), assists (30), and points (51) during his final season with Ottawa in 2015-16.
  • Matt Puempel played parts of three seasons with Ottawa (2014-15 - 2016-17), and he was selected by the Senators in the first round (24th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The Rangers claimed Puempel off waivers from Ottawa on Nov. 21, 2016.
  • Derick Brassard played parts of four seasons with the Rangers (2012-13 - 2015-16).
  • Viktor Stalberg played one season with the Rangers (2015-16).
  • Tom Pyatt was selected by the Rangers in the fourth round (107th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Pyatt was traded by the Rangers to Montreal as part of the deal in which the Blueshirts acquired the rights to Ryan McDonagh on June 30, 2009.
  • Ryan McDonagh, Brendan Smith, and Kyle Turris were teammates at the University of Wisconsin for one season (2007-08).
  • Derick Brassard, Rick Nash, and Marc Methot were all teammates with the Blue Jackets for parts of five seasons (2007-08 - 2011-12). All three players were coached by Rangers Associate Coach Scott Arniel, who was the Blue Jackets Head Coach for parts of two seasons (2010-11 and 2011-12).
  • Dan Girardi and Marc Methot were teammates with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for part of one season (2004-05) and helped London win the Memorial Cup.
  • Alexandre Burrows was coached by Alain Vigneault for seven seasons in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks (2006-07 - 2012-13), as well as part of one season in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Manitoba Moose (2005-06).
  • Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion served as an Amateur Scout with the Rangers for two seasons (2005-06 and 2006-07).
  • Tanner Glass and Craig Anderson were teammates with the Panthers for parts of two seasons (2007-08 and 2008-09.
  • Steven Kampfer and Chris Kelly were teammates with the Bruins for parts of two seasons (2010-11 and 2011-12).
  • Michael Grabner and Dion Phaneuf were teammates with the Maple Leafs for part of one season (2015-16).
  • Kevin Klein and Viktor Stalberg were teammates with the Predators for part of one season (2013-14).
  • Marc Staal and Tom Pyatt are both natives of Thunder Bay, Ontario.  

RANGERS VS. SENATORS NOTES
Five of the six meetings between the Rangers and Senators in 2016-17 have been decided by two or fewer goals.
The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in seven of their last 12 meetings against the Senators (regular season and playoffs), dating back to the start of the 2014-15 season.
 
INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. SENATORS (Statistics are only from playoff games)

  • Henrik Lundqvist - 10 GP, 5-5, 2.02 GAA, .935 SV%, 1 SO - In five career playoff home games against Ottawa, Lundqvist has posted a 3-2 record, along with a 1.60 GAA and a .946 SV%.
  • Derek Stepan - 10 GP, 2-4-6 - Stepan has recorded four points (three goals, one assist) in five games against the Senators in 2016-17 (regular season and playoffs).
  • Ryan McDonagh - 10 GP, 1-2-3 - McDonagh has notched six points (one goal, five assists) in his last four games against Ottawa (regular season and playoffs), as well as nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his last eight contests against Ottawa.

LEADING THE WAY
Over 202:54 of game time through the first three contests of the Second Round, the Rangers have led for 104:00, have been tied for 94:43, and have trailed for 4:11.
 
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
The Rangers have won seven of the last 10 playoff games they have played when trailing in a series, dating back to Game 5 of the Second Round against Washington in 2015.
 
FINISHING STRONG
Since the start of the 2013 Playoffs, the Rangers have posted a 22-12 record in Games 4-7 of a playoff series, including a 14-4 record in Games 4-7 of a playoff series at home. New York has posted a 3-0 record in Game 4 or later in the 2017 Playoffs.
 
CORE FOUR
The Blueshirts have won Game 4 in five of their last seven playoff series, dating back to the Eastern Conference Final against Montreal in 2014. In addition, the Rangers have posted a 10-3 record in Game 4 of a playoff series at home since the start of the 2007 Playoffs.
 
WINNING WAYS
The Rangers have earned at least one win in each of their last 21 playoff series (dating back to the start of the 2007 Playoffs), which is the longest streak in franchise history (the longest streak was previously 20 consecutive playoff series with at least one win from the Quarterfinals against Boston in 1970 to the Quarterfinals against St. Louis in 1981).
 
HOME COOKING
New York has won three of four games at MSG during the 2017 Playoffs, including each of the last three playoff contests at home. The Rangers have earned at least one win at home in 20 of their last 21 playoff series, dating back to the start of the 2007 Playoffs.
 
HIGH FIVE
The Rangers are the only NHL team that has won at least one playoff series in five different seasons over the last six seasons (since 2011-12). In addition, the Rangers have earned at least one playoff series win in a best-of-seven series in five years over a six-year span for the second time in franchise history (the Blueshirts also accomplished the feat from 1992 - 1997).
 
PLAYOFF PERFORMERS
The Rangers lead the NHL in playoff games played since the start of the 2012 Playoffs (90), and the Blueshirts also lead all Eastern Conference teams in playoff wins (45) and playoff series wins (nine) over the span. The only NHL team that has earned more playoff wins than the Rangers have over the span is Chicago (48), and the only NHL teams that have won more playoff series than the Rangers have over the span are Chicago and Los Angeles (the Blackhawks and Kings have each won 10 playoff series since the start of the 2012 Playoffs).
 
TWO GOOD
The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in five of the last six games and in six of nine playoff games in 2017. New York has allowed two goals or fewer in each of its five playoff wins in 2017 and in 28 of its 30 playoff wins since the start of the 2014 Playoffs.
 
SECOND HELPING
Through nine playoff games in 2017, the Rangers have outscored their opponents, 12-4, in the second period.
 
PLAYING THE GAME
Four players currently on the Rangers roster rank among the top five skaters in franchise history in career playoff games played: Dan Girardi (first - 119), Marc Staal (second - 101), Derek Stepan (third - 94), Ryan McDonagh (tied for fourth - 93). In addition, Henrik Lundqvist leads all players (skaters or goaltenders) in career playoff appearances with the Rangers (125).
 
O, CANADA
New York is facing two Canadian-based teams in the same playoff year for the first time since 1937. The Rangers have won each of their last six playoff series against a Canadian-based team, dating back to the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals against Vancouver.
 
AV SQUAD
Alain Vigneault earned his sixth playoff series win as the Rangers' Head Coach in the First Round against Montreal, and he passed Emile Francis for sole possession of second place among Rangers head coaches in career playoff series wins. In addition, Vigneault has earned more series wins in best-of-seven series than any other head coach in franchise history. Vigneault is coaching in his 22nd playoff series since the start of the 2007 Playoffs, and he has coached 126 playoff games over the span. The only NHL head coach who has coached more playoff series and more playoff games than Vigneault has since 2006-07 is Joel Quenneville (24 playoff series; 138 playoff games). Vigneault has earned 30 career playoff wins as the Rangers' Head Coach, trailing only Francis (34) and Lester Patrick (32) in career playoff wins among head coaches in franchise history.
 
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei posted his first career NHL multi-goal game (regular season or playoffs) by tallying two goals in Game 2 at Ottawa. He became the first Rangers defenseman to register at least two goals in a playoff game since Brian Leetch in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Philadelphia in 1995. Skjei also became the first Rangers rookie defenseman to tally at least two goals in a playoff game since Leetch in Game 4 of the Patrick Division Semifinals against Pittsburgh in 1989. Skjei is tied for fifth in the NHL - and is tied for first among NHL defensemen - in goals in the playoffs this year (four). Skjei's four goals are also tied for the most a Rangers rookie defenseman has tallied in one year in the playoffs in franchise history (Reijo Ruotsalainen - 1982). In addition, only two NHL rookie defenseman have recorded more playoff goals in one year than Skjei has in 2017 (Glen Wesley - six in 1988 with Boston; Andy Delmore - five in 2000 with Philadelphia).
 
KING HENRIK
Henrik Lundqvist leads the NHL in saves (290), is tied for third in SV% (.935), and ranks fourth in GAA (2.04) in the 2017 Playoffs. Lundqvist leads all active NHL goaltenders in career playoff appearances (125), career playoff wins (60), and career playoff shutouts (10), and he is also the Rangers' leader in each category. He earned his 60th career NHL playoff win in Game 3 vs. Ottawa, becoming the 15th goaltender in league history to accomplish the feat.
 
WELCOME MATS
Mats Zuccarello has tallied five points (three goals, two assists) in the last four games, including four points (three goals, one assist) in the last two contests at MSG. He is tied for fifth in the NHL - and is tied for the team lead - in goals in the playoffs this year (four).
 
MIKA MAGIC
Mika Zibanejad leads the Rangers in assists (six) and points (seven) in the playoffs this year, and he is also tied for fifth in the NHL in assists in the 2017 Playoffs. Zibanejad has recorded an assist/point in four of the last five games (one goal, five assists).
 
CAPTAIN MAC
Ryan McDonagh has notched five points (one goal, four assists) in the last six games, including four points (one goal, three assists) in the last four contests. He ranks second on the Rangers in assists in the playoffs this year (four), and he also leads team defensemen in assists and points (five). McDonagh ranks seventh in the NHL in average ice time in the playoffs this year (27:33). McDonagh notched his 30th career playoff assist with the Rangers in Game 2 at Ottawa, becoming the ninth player - and fourth defenseman - in franchise history to register 30 career playoff assists with the Rangers. The only three defensemen besides McDonagh who have tallied at least 30 career playoff assists with the Blueshirts are Brian Leetch, Brad Park, and Ron Greschner.
 
RICK ROLLING
Rick Nash has tallied 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in his last 18 playoff games, dating back to the Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay in 2015.
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
 
Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 0-for-3 (3:51) in Game 3 vs. Ottawa.
  • New York has recorded a power play goal in two of the last four games.

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 3-for-3 (3:51) in Game 3 vs. Ottawa.
  • Dating back to the regular season, New York has not allowed a power play goal in 10 of its last 14 games (38-for-43; 88.4%).
  • The Rangers lead the NHL in SHG in the 2017 Playoffs (three). 

INJURIES (0 Man-Games Lost to Injury in Playoffs)

  • None

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

  • May 1 - Agreed to terms with free agent defenseman Neal Pionk 

THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • May 3, 1994 - Adam Graves and Stephane Matteau tallied goals in a span of 19 seconds as the Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals, 5-2, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at MSG.
  • May 4, 1997 - Mark Messier skated in his 228th career NHL playoff game, passing Larry Robinson to become the NHL's all-time leader in playoff games played. Mike Richter stopped all 32 shots he faced as the Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils, 2-0, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The shutout was the eighth of Richter's career in the playoffs, and he passed Dave Kerr to become the franchise's all-time leader in playoff shutouts.
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