Official NYR/CAPS Game 7 Postgame News & Notes

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BANNER Team notes

–        SEVENTH HEAVEN – The Rangers have now posted a 9-5 record in Game 7s in franchise history, including a 7-0 record in all-time Game 7s at MSG. The Blueshirts are the only NHL team who has played at least four Game 7s at home and has won each contest. The Rangers have won each of the last six Game 7s they have played, dating back to the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 2012 against Ottawa. The Blueshirts’ six consecutive Game 7 victories are tied for the NHL record (Detroit – 1949-1964; Boston – 1983-1994). New York has also won nine of its last 10 Game 7s, dating back to the Patrick Division Semifinals in 1992 against New Jersey. Five of the Rangers’ last six Game 7s, including each of the last three, have been 2-1 victories for the Blueshirts. The Rangers’ nine all-time wins in Game 7 of a playoff series are tied for fifth among all NHL teams, and their seven all-time wins in Game 7 of a playoff series at home are tied for fourth among all NHL teams.

–        COMEBACK KIDS – New York became the first team to rally from a three-games-to-one-deficit and win a playoff series in back-to-back years in NHL history (also did so in the Metropolitan Division Finals against Pittsburgh in 2014). The Rangers have won a playoff series after trailing the series three games to one for the second time in franchise history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Blueshirts are the second team in NHL history who has won two playoff series when trailing three games to one over a two-year span (Minnesota rallied from a three-games-to-one deficit in two consecutive series during the 2003 Playoffs).

–        BACK AGAIN – The Blueshirts have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second consecutive season, and for the third time in the last four years (2012, 2014, and 2015). The Rangers have advanced to the third round of the playoffs in back-to-back seasons and three times in a four-season span for the first time since the NHL adopted a four-round playoff format in 1974-75. The Blueshirts are the first Eastern Conference team to reach the Conference Finals three times in four seasons since New Jersey did so between 1999-00 and 2002-03.

–        ROUND ’EM UP – The Rangers are tied with Chicago for second in the NHL in playoff rounds won (eight) since the start of the 2012 Playoffs. The Blueshirts’ eight playoff series wins in a four-year span are tied for the most in any four-year span in franchise history (the Rangers won eight playoff series between 1994 and 1997).

–        STAYIN’ ALIVE – The Rangers have won each of their last 10 playoff games when facing elimination at Madison Square Garden, dating back to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2008 against Pittsburgh. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, New York’s 10-game winning streak when facing elimination at home is an NHL record. The Blueshirts have won 14 of the last 17 playoff games in which they have faced elimination, dating back to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 2012 against Ottawa. New York has also won eight of nine playoff games when facing elimination since the start of the 2014 Playoffs.

–        LUCKY 13 – New York has won Game 7 of a playoff series on May 13 in three consecutive years (2013 Eastern Conference Finals at Washington, 2014 Metropolitan Division Finals at Pittsburgh, 2015 Second Round vs. Washington).

–        WORKING OVERTIME – The Rangers played a Game 7 which was decided in overtime for the fourth time in franchise history (the others were: 1939 Semifinals at Boston – lost 2-1 in the third overtime; 1950 Stanley Cup Finals at Detroit – lost 4-3 in the second overtime; 1994 Eastern Conference Finals vs. New Jersey – won 2-1 in the second overtime). New York earned its fourth overtime win in the 2015 Playoffs, establishing a franchise record for the most overtime wins in the playoffs in one year. The Blueshirts recorded an overtime goal to win a playoff series in two consecutive series for the first time since 1997 (Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Florida and Eastern Conference Semifinals against New Jersey).

–        SHUTTING THE DOOR – The Blueshirts have allowed two goals or fewer in 10 of 12 playoff games this year, including nine of the last 10 games. New York leads the NHL in goals against per game (1.67) in the playoffs this year.

–        CLOSE CALL – Each of the Rangers’ last 14 playoff games, including each of their 12 playoff games in 2015 and all seven games in their second round series, has been decided by one goal. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, New York’s streak of one-goal games in the playoffs is the longest streak in the NHL’s modern era. In the playoffs, 17 of the Rangers’ last 18 games, 19 of their last 21 games, and 20 of their last 24 games have been decided by one goal. Also according to the Elias Sports Bureau, this year’s Rangers-Capitals series is the second seven-game series in which all seven games were decided by one goal (the other was the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between Washington and Boston in 2012).

–        CAP-SIZED – New York has defeated Washington in a playoff series in three of the last four years (2012, 2013, and 2015). Each of the three series was seven games in length, and four of the last five playoff series between the Rangers and Capitals have been seven-game series (2009, 2012, 2013, and 2015). The Blueshirts have won five of nine all-time playoff series against the Capitals.

–        POWER SURGE – The Blueshirts were 1-for-4 (7:48) on the power play in the contest. Including the regular season, New York has tallied a power play goal in each of its last two contests, seven of its last 13 games, eight of its last 15 games, and 10 of its last 19 games. The Blueshirts have posted a 5-0 record when outscoring their opponent on special teams in the playoffs this year.

–        KILL ZONE – The Blueshirts were 3-for-3 (6:00) on the penalty kill in the contest, and finished the series 14-for-15 (93.3%) on the penalty kill. New York has not allowed a power play goal in each of the last six games (13-for-13) and in nine of the last 10 contests (22-for-23; 95.7%).

–        PLAYING THE GAME – Tonight’s contest was the Rangers’ 69th playoff game since the start of the 2012 Playoffs. The Blueshirts have played more playoff games than any other NHL team over the span. The Rangers also rank third in the NHL in playoff games played since the 2005-06 season (105), trailing only Detroit (123) and Pittsburgh (108). New York also leads all Eastern Conference teams in wins (36) since the start of the 2012 Playoffs.

BANNER Three Stars on Broadway

–        Derek Stepan tallied the game-winning goal in overtime and recorded two shots on goal in 23:15 of ice time. Stepan’s goal was his first career playoff overtime goal in the NHL. The Rangers alternate captain extended his point streak to three games (one goal, three assists over the span), and he has tallied six points (two goals, four assists) in his last eight games. Stepan has tallied a point in six of the last seven games in which the Rangers have faced elimination, recording seven points (one goal, six assists) in those contests. He tied for the series lead – and led all Rangers – with five points, and he is tied for first on the Rangers in points (eight) in the 2015 Playoffs.

–        Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves to earn his eighth win of the playoffs and his 51st career NHL playoff win. Lundqvist earned his sixth career win in a Game 7, tying Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy for the most Game 7 victories in NHL history. He also earned his sixth consecutive win in a Game 7 appearance, extending his NHL record. He has posted a 6-0 record, along with a 0.81 GAA, a .973 SV% (179 saves on 184 shots), and 1 SO in his last six Game 7s, and he has allowed one goal or fewer in all six games. In his last 10 games in which the Rangers have faced elimination at MSG, Lundqvist has posted a 10-0 record, along with a 0.96 GAA, a .968 SV% (306 saves on 316 shots), and 2 SO. In the last 17 games in which the Rangers have faced elimination, he has registered a 14-3 record, along with a 1.39 GAA, a .956 SV%, and 2 SO. He is tied for the NHL lead in wins (eight), ranks second in GAA (1.60), and is tied for second in the NHL in SV% (.944) in the 2015 Playoffs.

–        Kevin Hayes tallied a goal in 18:18 of ice time. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Hayes is the second Rangers rookie to score a goal in Game 7 of a playoff series, and the first to do so since Muzz Patrick in the Semifinals against Boston on Apr. 2, 1939.


–        J.T. Miller notched an assist and won six of eight faceoffs (75%) in 14:56 of ice time. Miller has recorded an assist/point in each of the last two games (two assists over the span).

–        Ryan McDonagh recorded an assist, led all skaters with six blocked shots, registered five shots on goal, and was credited with a game-high three takeaways while skating in a team-high 29:02 of ice time. The Rangers captain has tallied a point in two of the last three games (one goal, one assist over the span). McDonagh is tied for third on the team in assists (four) and ranks fourth in points (six) in the 2015 Playoffs.

–        Dan Girardi notched an assist on the game-winning goal, recorded four shots on goal, and was credited with three hits in 25:19 of ice time. The Rangers alternate captain is tied for third on the team in assists (four) in the 2015 Playoffs.

–        Keith Yandle recorded an assist on the game-winning goal, was credited with two blocked shots, and posted a plus-one rating in 18:20 of ice time. He is tied for third on the Blueshirts in assists (four) in the playoffs this year.

–        Martin St. Louis logged 15:01 of ice time while skating in his 100th career NHL playoff game.

–        Marc Staal recorded two takeaways and was credited with two blocked shots in 24:23 of ice time. The Rangers alternate captain skated in his 80th career playoff game with the Blueshirts, passing Rod Gilbert for sole possession of sixth place on the franchise’s all-time playoff games played list. Staal is the fourth defenseman in franchise history who has played at least 80 playoff games (Dan Girardi – 101; Ron Greschner – 84; Brian Leetch – 82).


Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers Head Coach

On the series…

“We were taking it one game at a time.  Game 5 we found a way to win.  Game 6, definitely our goaltender was the difference.  We had a real strong first period but they had a tremendous push.  Tonight it was a hard fought game.  Two teams that aren’t separated by a lot.  Game 7, overtime, we were able to find a way.”

On the team’s play in the series…

“I just think our guys stay in the moment, stay in the present and focus on what needs to be done.  They go out and play and have fun doing it.”

On the lineup in overtime…

“Game 7, you are going into overtime, you are down to five D – sometimes you shorten up the bench.  You’ve got to find a way, and our guys found a way.”

On playing the Capitals…

“There is so little separating both teams.  It was a very competitive series.  Both teams had their top players playing well.  It was a lot of fun.”

On coming back in the series…

“I expect this group to win.  Even though we were behind I thought we were playing good hockey.  It was a matter of staying with the process and that’s what we did.”

On the atmosphere in the series…

“You tell your players to focus on their job and what they need to do and you (coaches) are doing the same thing.  There was a lot of atmosphere, there was obviously a tense moment, but guys just play.  It’s probably more stressful for the fans watching the game than it is for us.  We are just going out and just trying to play.”

  • Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers defenseman/captain

On overtime…

“We spent the majority of the game there. We spent some good quality time in their zone. In overtime there we had to play a few shifts in our end. Ultimately this group found a way, coming back from being down one there early on. It’s a great feeling for sure to come through here on home ice in front of the crowd.”

On playing in close games…

“You have to be smart, we talked about it. [You have] to make sure shifts are short and don’t get overextended out there. We’ve been in situations like that before and we trust each other out there.”

On the pressure in overtime…

“Obviously that’s not ideal but we had some pushes of our own there. It was great that we kept them on the outskirts there. Hank [Henrik Lundqvist] had to make a couple big saves, but in the end we knew we needed to get pucks towards the net. The first one didn’t even hit him [Holtby], it was a deflection but Step [Derek Stepan] finds it there and puts it home.”

  • Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers goaltender

On winning the series…

“It’s hard to describe. You think a lot throughout the game, you try not to be ahead of yourself or anything like that but it’s hard not to. You know everything is on the line. The last five minutes of the third period and overtime you know one mistake and it’s all over or you are moving on. It’s such a great feeling when you see the puck go in. This series was fun. Washington played really well and [Braden] Holtby was outstanding.  For me personally it was a great challenge to try to match that and stay in the game. It’s fun when you feel like you are doing your part and then there are moments where the team steps up and scores the big goals.”

On the closeness of the series…

“I have been thinking like that all series because [Braden] Holtby has been playing that well and it’s been hard for us to sometimes create big chances. I felt like the first two periods were a little more open and then in the third you could see it was two teams that knew that the next goal is going to be huge. So we still created some big chances. It’s just a good feeling being part of this group. We’ve been through so many things over the last few years. You learn from it and you appreciate those moments, even though you have to move on and you can’t keep stopping. But it definitely helps that we’ve been part of so many different things throughout the years and in this situation we are confident in this group and how we play. In the end it all comes down to just one play. It was close a couple times that they got the win [in other games]. But the puck was on our side and it’s just fun to get another chance.”

On coming back to win after being down in the series 3-1…

“I think it’s important that you stay focused on the positives. They [Washington] won three out of the four but it was close games. That’s important to know that you don’t need to change much to win a game. It you feel like you have to do so much more, you might be in a tough spot. But we knew that we were very close, there were a couple things, the puck might need to bounce our way a little bit more and try to solve [Braden] Holtby and we did. It starts with confidence and that you can do it and take one game at a time and we did a great job.”

  • Derek Stepan, New York Rangers forward/alternate captain

On his game-winning goal…

“Well they are a good faceoff team and all series long we’ve talked about faceoffs with all the forwards, involving everybody.  It’s a 50-50 puck and Jesper (Fast) is able to get his stick on it and poke it back to Keith (Yandle) and from there we have a one-timer set up and we get a fortunate bounce.”

On overtime…

“It was pretty much a hard fought series.  Both teams back and forth, momentum swings.  For most of overtime they have the puck and we just find a way to stick with it.  Hank (Lundqvist) made some big saves and we were able to get a fortunate bounce.”

On scoring the series-winning goal…

“It’s a special feeling.  We have a lot of work to do here.  It’s certainly a lot of fun but we have a lot of wotk to do here.  You know that we are only half way.”

On the series…

“You know we just seem to have a group here that just keeps their wits about them and you compete.  We said from Game 5 – let’s just take it one period at a time and you never know what can happen.  We were able to find ourselves in a Game 7 at MSG.”

  • Dan Girardi, New York Rangers defenseman/alternate captain

On the team’s feeling physically…

“You feel good, there is no feeling tired out there.  Unfortunately Boyler (Boyle) went down so we had five D back there so we had a lot more ice time for the five of us, but we managed to do well.  This time of year, in overtime (of) Game 7, you can’t be tired.”

On the game-winning goal…

“Step (Stepan) won the draw.  Yans (Yandle) made a good play over to me.  I got a good whack on it and honestly I thought it was going in because I didn’t hear anything, didn’t see anything.  It went by everyone.  I think someone came by, maybe it hit their shin pad and it kicked right to Step’s stick.  You knew it was going to end like that somehow, either way.  It was going to be a shot on net, quick play, and I’m glad we are on the good end of that one.”

On Derek Stepan’s line…

“They have gelled really well together, with Jesper (Fast) on there.  Kreids (Kreider), the way he’s playing, giving us a chance to win every night.  They are just clicking right now.”

On the feeling in the locker room going into overtime…

“We were just getting some rest, getting the fluids.  We know what we have to do out there – just stay within our structure and not be too crazy, not grip our sticks, just play our game.  Not much was said – we just went out there and played.”

  • Marc Staal, New York Rangers defenseman/alternate captain

On the series…

“They’re a big, strong team and they play physical.  They don’t give you much and make you work for everything you get.  They run a lot of interference, and it’s a lot of grinding.  Something that they obviously try to do is slow us down and we had to get into that game sometimes.  I thought we did a great job when we had to play that way.”

On winning the series and advancing to the Conference Finals…

“Obviously it’s a huge win to get to the Conference Finals.  We were here last year and we’re a confident team. We take it game by game.  Now our focus shifts to Tampa in Game 1.”

On the Capitals forecheck in overtime…

“You’ve just got to stay with it.  You need a good block, a big stick, a big save in those situations.  You always try not to panic.  We were hemmed in for a few shifts, that’s what good teams do to you.  We were able to find a way to damper that a little bit and create our own chances.”

  • Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals head coach

On the series…

“We asked our guys to do two things today. Obviously in a seven-game series against a good opponent is be relentless as you have been all year and play without a fear in game 7. That’s really what I asked again. I said leave your best game out there and if that’s good enough you’re going to win and if it’s not good enough you can walk out of here with your head held high. We had 14 incredible games in our two series here going seven and they were very hard, very intense and they were that close in game 5 here. We could have closed it out and then in game 6 we got off to a slow start and from there I think you saw what the Washington Capitals are about today. You saw two very good teams go nose to nose just inches with the team winning an inch here, and inch there, and everybody here probably predicted 7 games and you got it.”

More on the series…

“It’s always painful when you look back at those moments in game 5. This is how the series went and I thought Game 5 was one of their weaker chances. It was one of those where it was 3-on-4 and they didn’t really have any play and they throw it towards the net and I think it was off our defensemen’s heel and changes direction and finds its way in. That’s sort of the way it goes sometimes. In Game 6 we gave up the goal early but we saw the character and I think we made giant strides in our group in this series. I kept saying to the guys all year long is that you learn different things from defeat and you learn different things from winning. This is a new group. Our team has changed but we are learning from our history and are looking it right in the eye and we went after this game. There’s no nervousness on our part. We went after the New York Rangers in their own barn and almost pulled it off. I said to them all year defeat is not your undertaker and should be your teacher. We learned a lot, we had some young kids that learned a lot and we got some great veterans. You’re going to see the Washington Capitals back here again.”

  • Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals goaltender

On losing the series after leading 3-1…

“I don’t think that makes it any more frustrating for us.  Obviously, we had an opportunity to close it out, but all the games were close.  It could have been 3-1 the other way at that time and us coming back.  We fought hard and it was a great series, one that could have easily gone our way, but it just didn’t.”

On the series…

“It was good hockey.  Both teams played really well.  We obviously feel we played good enough to win a series, but you look at them, and they played good enough to win the series.  It’s tough to swallow.  This group is special and it’s unfortunate.”

  • Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals forward/alternate captain

On the team…

“We have a great group of guys in the dressing room.  The difference from last year is we play the right way.  It’s something we want to build on, but it’s tough to think about right now.”

On the team’s play in the series…

“The biggest thing for us is everyone played the right way.  Everyone blocked shots, everyone worked hard, and that’s what you need to do.  I think if you compare it to last year, it’s a lot better.  It’s also disappointing, because you want to go further.”

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