Yesterday Derek Stepan arrived in Finland and took part in his first practice for KarPa.

He spoke with the Finnish press and said that he hoped to play tonight when KarPa plays the Pelicans.

Stepan said that the process of moving to play in Finland worked fast and once he found out that the team was interested in him, he became interested because of the quality of play in the league.

Stepan said that with the exception of a connection he once made in Helsinki, yesterday was the first time he was ever in Finland. He added that it's a new and unfamiliar scene to him but one he is trying to make the best of,"I didn't know anything or any players, I am trying to fit in as fast as I can and help out any way I can."

10:42AM: According to Matias Strozyck, Stepan will start on the top line for KalPa

Tags: Derek Stepan KalPa, Adam Rotter

Apr 4, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; The Ottawa Senators celebrate a goal by defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Apr 4, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; The Ottawa Senators celebrate a goal by defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Alain Vigneault spoke on Tuesday about how, in his mind, the Senators could have challenged for first in the Eastern Conference if not for the injuries and adversity they went through this past season.

He said that the Senators style of play is nothing that the Rangers haven't seen before and Mika Zibanejad said that Ottawa clogs up the neutral zone and are good at frustrating the other team. (NYR)

Craig Custance of ESPN spoke with multiple people about how the Rangers can beat Ottawa's trap and the key for the Rangers will be to play fast in transition and not let Ottawa set up defensively. (ESPN)

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Pierre McGuire was on TSN 1200 this morning and said the following about tonight's Game 1 between Ottawa and the Rangers:

  • On Ottawa being the underdogs, "no, I don't think so. I can tell you this, I feel comfortable saying this, I felt they were the ultimate Dark Horse going into the playoffs. I thought they were the team in the East that no one was talking about that could cause problems and they did, they caused a lot of problems for Boston and I think they will cause problems for the Rangers. Do I think the Rangers might have a little better roster with experience, probably so, and the Lundqvist part of it will be interesting to see how Ottawa figures that out because Hank is on a mission and that isn't good news for anyone. That said, I still think that Ottawa is a very lethal opponent and if they are an underdog it's not by much and I personally don't consider them to be an underdog."
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11:40AM: The Rangers have their extra players skating this morning, including Tanner Glass, Kevin Klein, Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel, Adam Clendening, Steve Kampfer, Antti Raanta and Magnus Hellberg. (NYR)

Rangers President Glen Sather, along with Jim Schoenfeld, Benoit Allaire and Darryl Williams were all watching Ottawa's morning skate. (Zipay)

Bruce Garrioch notes that the Senators used the following lines and D pairs today:

  • Dzingel Turris-Burrows
  • Hoffman-Stone-Pageau
  • MacArthur-Brassard-Ryan
  • Stalberg-Smith-Wingels
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Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) celebrates an empty net goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)
Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) celebrates an empty net goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

Craig Custance asked a panel of three NHL coaches, one assist coach and Western Conference scout to predict the second round series between the Rangers and Senators and all 5 picked the Rangers to advance. (ESPN Insider)

The scout said that the Rangers have a "slight edge" with Henrik Lundqvist in net and while one Coach said that Ottawa is an underestimated team that he is going with the Rangers because of "Henrik Lundqvist." (ESPN Insider)

This was a clean sweep for the Rangers, with this group mostly not convinced that the Senators are a real playoff threat, despite their first-round series win over the Bruins. (ESPN Insider)

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GEICO SportsNite: Rangers 00:01:53
Eamon McAnaney visits the Rangers as they prepare for Thursday night's series opener against the Ottawa Senators.

Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) and defenseman Dan Girardi (5) battle for the puck against Montreal Canadiens right wing Alexander Radulov (47) during the second period in game five of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)
Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) and defenseman Dan Girardi (5) battle for the puck against Montreal Canadiens right wing Alexander Radulov (47) during the second period in game five of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

Alain Vigneault said on Wednesday that being physical is a "big part" of playoff hockey but that the Rangers still need to keep their identity as a fast team with and without the puck.

He added "we need that identity to stay even though physicality is part of the playoffs. Our number one thing will be to play a fast and high tempo game."

Derek Stepan said that even when the Rangers play their most physical style of hockey they can't lose "the speed aspect of our game." (NY Post)

Stepan, as he noted in the previous series, said that the Rangers need to find the right balance between being physical and playing fast. (NY Post)

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Apr 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault leaves the ice after the first period in game two of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)
Apr 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault leaves the ice after the first period in game two of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)

Alain Vigneault met with the media on Wednesday and said (NYR):

  • "I'm pretty sure that if you were to ask each and every players they would believe that they can win, if you ask each and every one of our players, they believe that they can win. At the end of the day, for a team that has faced adversity that they have with some personal situations and the injuries, 98 points is a lot of points so it's safe to assume they would have gotten over 100 and would have been right here with the top teams in the league as far as points. At the end of the day, whether we are favorites or they are favorites according to the experts, it doesn't matter. What matters is that we need to go out on the ice and we have a plan that we think will be effective and give us a chance to win. I really believe that at the end of the day, we had some guys play well against Montreal but there is another level to find here. Another level of compete and making plays on the ice that we need to find to be able to beat Ottawa. It's that simple."
  • "There is really nothing from Ottawa that we haven't seen before. There is a little, subtle change to how they forecheck in the neutral zone but it's not something we haven't seen in the past or dealt with. We will try and do what we do most of the time which is get out of our own end, get through the neutral zone and play in their end. That is usually where the opportunities are and you score the goals. It's nothing new and they've got a real good team and we are aware of that and ready for the challenge."
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Mar 11, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Ottawa Senators center Derick Brassard (19) in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. The Senators won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
Mar 11, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Ottawa Senators center Derick Brassard (19) in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. The Senators won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

4/26/17 | 2:14PM: Mats Zuccarello was asked about Brassard on Wednesday and said, "Who? I don't know him." (NYR)

4/25/17 | 5:29PM: While speaking about the Senators on Tuesday, Alain Vigneault said that he he was going to remind his team that for the next two weeks they are not friends with former teammate Derick Brassard.

Vigneault said that Brassard has been a very good play and someone that the Rangers will need to play "hard" and play "smart."

Tags: Derick Brassard
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Jan 26, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators head coach Guy Boucher speaks to his team during a timeout in overtime against the Calgary Flames at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Flames defeated the Senators 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Jan 26, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators head coach Guy Boucher speaks to his team during a timeout in overtime against the Calgary Flames at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Flames defeated the Senators 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Ottawa coach Guy Boucher spoke on Wednesday and said the following about the Rangers (Sens):

  • "They have four line depth and we will have to match that."
  • "From what I hear from everybody we don't seem to have much of a chance, we are 10-1 in Vegas against us and everybody seems to think they are going to roll all over us, so I guess they are a pretty good team. They got four line depth, they got speed, quality players on all lines, their defensemen all have good sticks, grezat breakout team because of their defensive core and obviously their goaltender was outstanding in the first round and that is what we are expecting. Like I said yesterday, they are a team that doesn't have many flaws, if they have any and they have been contenders for year. I know they are getting urgency now to win that Cup because they been talking about it for many years now. That is how we consider those guys, Stanley Cup contenders year after year and that is what they are after now and that is what we are up against."
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12:31PM: Rick Nash is on the ice at practice today after Alain Vigneault gave him an extra day off on Tuesday. (Cyrgalis)

Nash has resumed his spot with Derek Stepan and Jimmy Vesey while the other units from yesterday's practice remain the same. (Cyrgalis)

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Feb 10, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; NHL network reporter Pierre McGuire (L) interviews New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault (R) on the bench during a time-out against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Feb 10, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; NHL network reporter Pierre McGuire (L) interviews New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault (R) on the bench during a time-out against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Pierre McGuire was on TSN 1200 this morning and said that following about the Rangers/Senators series:

  • On Chris Kreider, "you talk about his 28 goals, there has been a level of consistency with him, he had 28 goals and 21 and 21 the previous two. He has gone up and I do think he will do better, I think there was a bugaboo in his head because of the collision he had with Carey Price three years ago. I thought it would be a storyline going in, I think it was a story because it really affected Kreider's ability to play. I do believe that there was a tentative nature to his game and I remember doing Game 5 in Montreal and until he got that assist he was kind of on the outside, there wasn't that same willingness to go to the net and I think that is all out the window now. You compound that with that he took a terrible penalty near the tail end of Game 6 and I think that really got him to focus. Knowing Chris like I do, I would say that he is going to be a handful for Ottawa to try and handle, I really do believe that."
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Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) makes a save against New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) as defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (28) defends during an overtime period in game five of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)
Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) makes a save against New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) as defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (28) defends during an overtime period in game five of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

In his first career playoff round, Jimmy Vesey had 2 assists, 7 PIM, a fight, 7 shots on goal, 16 shot attempts, 11 hits and an average of 14:59.

Alain Vigneault said during the first round that he had always known Vesey as someone who played with an edge as well as a "big time player" who performed well in big moments.

Jimmy Vesey said that he has been building confidence from one game to the next and that he feels he is at his best when he is "engaged." (NY Post)

Tags: Jimmy Vesey
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GEICO SportsNite: NYR prepares 00:01:22
Alain Vigneault, Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal and Derek Stepan discuss the challenges ahead as they prepare for the Senators.

Apr 5, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault stands on top of the bench against the Washington Capitals in the third period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 2-0, and clinched the Metropolitan Division and the President's Trophy. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)
Apr 5, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault stands on top of the bench against the Washington Capitals in the third period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 2-0, and clinched the Metropolitan Division and the President's Trophy. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)

Alain Vigneault met with the media on Tuesday after practice and said (NYR):

  • On Ottawa, "a tough matchup. If you look at their season there is a team that faced, and their coach made sure he reminded them every chance that they had, that they did face a lot of adversity, personal adversity with Anderson's situation, losing MacArthur for the whole year. They had a tremendous amount of injuries also and they finished the year with 98 and if they wouldn't have had that, in my mind, with the talent on that team, would have challenged for first in the conference. Now they are all fairly healthy and we have a huge challenge in front of us, four lines that can play a high tempo and high skill game and I think they probably have the best offensive skilled defenseman in the NHL. We've got our hands full and are ready and preparing and are looking to forward to start on Thursday."
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Jan 26, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators head coach Guy Boucher speaks to his team during a timeout in overtime against the Calgary Flames at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Flames defeated the Senators 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Jan 26, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators head coach Guy Boucher speaks to his team during a timeout in overtime against the Calgary Flames at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Flames defeated the Senators 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Senators coach Guy Boucher spoke in Ottawa today and said the following about the Rangers (OTT):

  • Grabner and Fast are on the Rangers fourth line and he said "there is no fourth line anymore."
  • "I'm looking at their lineup and wondering who I am going to match? All four lines look pretty similar."
  • "You look at the Rangers and they have been unbelievable on the road all year, might be the best team in the league on the road."
  • "This is a team that has high end depth. When I look at the portrait of the Rangers, there are really no flaws or weaknesses in their game. It's not like you can say their third line or fourth line has holes or they are injured or on the defense, or their goalie is average, everything is really good. They don't have any injuries really so this is going to be an even bigger test."

 

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Brian Compton, Adam Rotter, and Nick Licalzi break down the Rangers' first round series win over the Montreal Canadiens, and preview their second round matchup with the Ottawa Senators. Later, Brian chats with Ian Mendes of TSN to discuss Erik Karlsson, Derick Brassard, Bobby Ryan, and the rest of a tough Sens squad.

Note: Bobby Ryan did not win the Stanley Cup with Anaheim. He joined the Ducks the following season.

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12:21PM: Rick Nash has a maintenance day and is not skating today at Rangers practice. (NYR)

The lines the Rangers are using, without Nash, today are (Cyrgalis)

  • Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich
  • Jimmy Vesey, Derek Stepan, Brandon Pirri/Tanner Glass
  • JT Miller, Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello
  • Michael Grabner, Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast
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Apr 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers center J.T. Miller (10) skates with the puck against Montreal Canadiens during the second period in game two of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)
Apr 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers center J.T. Miller (10) skates with the puck against Montreal Canadiens during the second period in game two of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

4/26/17 | 5:32 PM: On JT, Vigneault said on Wednesday "he is very aware of the plays he needs to make with the puck and plays he needs to make when he doesn't have it. The penalties at this time that we can live with, the penalties that we would rather stay away from. He's a smart young man going through a playoff experience and I believe he will be better in this second round than he was in the first round."

4/25/17 | 10:47AM: In the first round of the playoffs, JT Miller had 1 assist, 13 PIM, 7 shots on goal, 18 hits and 9 blocked shots while averaging 18:21 per game.

Miller picked up his first point in the series in Game 6, a secondary assist on the game winner, and only had 2 games out of the 6 where he had 2 or more shots on goal.

Tags: J.T. Miller
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Apr 12, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty (67) is checked by New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (5) during the first period of game one of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)
Apr 12, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty (67) is checked by New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (5) during the first period of game one of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)

In the first round against Montreal, Dan Girardi was credited 1 assist, a plus two rating, 8 shots on goal, 14 shot attempts, 17 hits, 21 blocked shots, 3 takeaways and 18 giveaways.

He averaged 22:13 per game and when he was on the ice at 5 on 5 the Rangers had 44% of the shot attempts.

Girardi said that he is pleased with how he has played so far and said that his focus has been on working as hard as he can. (NY Post)

Tags: Dan Girardi
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Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) celebrates an empty net goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)
Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) celebrates an empty net goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

Alain Vigneault spoke about Henrik Lundqvist on Monday and noted that he was "phenomenal" and mentioned twice that Lundqvist out played Carey Price.

Vigneault also praised Lundqvist for his save on Max Pacioretty in Game 5 with the score tied and 7 minutes left.

Against Montreal Lundqvist stopped 195 of 206 shots, had one shutout and a GAA of 1.70.

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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Alain Vigneault was a guest of Mike Francesa earlier today on WFAN and said:

  • On being down 2-1 and challenging the team, "we had played two really good games in Montreal, lost the second one where they tied it with 17 seconds and then won in OT. We didn't play well in Game 3, you just gotta make sure that the players respond and you need your big players to come up big for you and we certainly did in Game 4 and played our best game of the series, tied it up and went back to MTL and it was unbelievable, Game 5, and we were able to get it done in OT. It was a hard fought series, very similar, very competitive and two great goalies that met head to head and at the end of the day Hank was the better goalie."
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Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion was on TSN1200 today and spoke about the Rangers, saying:

  • "We all watched that series attentively, it was probably the series I watched the most and they are a good team. They are fast, compete, skate, Boston was tough, the Rangers are going to be tougher. They have an elite goaltender, many world class players, we can stand here and talk about how good they are but in saying that, it's a 7 game series, there have been surprises in the playoffs and we won't take anything for granted and hopefully we can make a bit more noise."
  • "The Rangers are going to be a very tough opponent. They are well coached, Jeff Gorton, their GM sits beside me at every GM meeting and we talk a lot. I know everyone knows about Alain, he is one of the better coaches in the league and we are going to have our hands full."
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Henrik Lundqvist posted an image on Instagram talking aboout the playoffs and continuing "the push."

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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According to Bovada, the Rangers are 7th out of 8 teams for the best odds to win the Stanley Cup.

The Rangers are at 8-1 and are only followed by Ottawa at 10-1.

The Rangers are listed at 7-2 to win the East and odds are set at 15-1 for a Stanley Cup Final between the Rangers and Ducks or Oilers and 17-1 for a matchup against the Predators or Blues.

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Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) battles with Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin (74) during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)
Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) battles with Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin (74) during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

The Rangers led all teams in the first round with 285 total hits, 47.5 per game, after finishing 16th in the regular season with an average of 20.9 per game.

The following chart, via Corsica, has each Rangers hits for and times they were hit:

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Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) celebrates with Rangers left wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) after defeating the Montreal Canadiens in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)
Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) celebrates with Rangers left wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) after defeating the Montreal Canadiens in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

Following the Rangers Game 6 win over Montreal, Alain Vigneault talked about how the Rangers were able to bounce back after a tough Game 3 to win three straight games and eliminate the Habs.

Vigneault talked about "focus and character" and how the Rangers responded to game three by "playing hard and playing the right way.

He said that the Rangers had a full team effort against Montreal and said "at the end of the day it was a hard fought series and our goaltender made some timely saves and we were able to get it done."

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 (Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)
(Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

Associate coach Scott Arniel was in Boston yesterday to watch Game 6 between the Sens and Bruins, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

After yesterday's game, former Ranger Derick Brassard was asked about playing the Rangers and said that he wasn't going to start thinking about it until later but added "it's going to be a big challenge for our team. We're aware of that." (Ottawa Citizen)

The series begins on Thursday in Ottawa.

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New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) celebrates scoring a goal during the second period against the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger)
New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) celebrates scoring a goal during the second period against the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger)

4/23/17 | 10:49PM: The NHL has announced the schedule for the Rangers and Sens:

  • Thursday 4/27 in Ottawa: 7PM
  • Saturday 4/29 in Ottawa: 3PM
  • Tuesday 5/2 at MSG: 7PM
  • Thursday 5/4 at MSG: 7:30PM
  • Saturday 5/6 in Ottawa: TBD*
  • Tuesday 5/9 at MSG: TBD*
  • Thursday 5/11 in Ottawa: TBD*

*If necessary

10:30PM: The Rangers and Senators will begin their second round series this Thursday, April 27, in Ottawa. (Shannon)

The rest of the schedule has not been released yet.

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GEICO SportsNite: Rangers 00:04:11
Taylor Rooks and Justin Tasch recap the Rangers' first-round playoff series against Montreal and preview the next round against Ottawa.

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Bruins in OT on Sunday to clinch their series over Boston 4-2.

The Rangers will face the Senators, and former Ranger, Derick Brassard in the first round.

The Rangers defeated the Senators in 7 games in the first round of the 2012 playoffs.

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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Heading into last night's game Mats Zuccarello had 1 goal, 0 assists, a minus two rating, 14 PIM and an average of 21:17.

Last night Zuccarello had two goals on 2 shots, including the game winner, and played 18:28.

Video

Tags: Mats Zuccarello
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Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)
Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

Alain Vigneault said on Friday that the Rangers aren't getting a lot of PP opportunities in games or getting many opportunities to practice it.

He said that the Rangers are trying to pick up on some cues where they might be able to get better and added "I'm telling myself and our group that we are due and hopefully" game six will "be the time."

On Saturday, before Game 6, he said again that the Rangers were "due" to score on the PP.

On Saturday in Game 6 the Rangers scored their first PP goal of the series when Mats Zuccarello beat Carey Price.

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Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Montreal Canadiens in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)
Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Montreal Canadiens in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

Montreal ended the first period up 1-0 and with a 11-6 shot advantage and a 28-15 shot attempt advantage.

The second period ended with the Rangers up 2-1 and a second period lead of shots 12-9 and attempts, 21-20. (Hockey Stats)

Mats Zuccarello said that after the first intermission the Rangers talked about how they were losing every battle and how that wasn't acceptable. (NY Post)

Zuccarello said that the Rangers "came together as a team" between the first and second and put together a "solid win." (NY Post)

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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Brendan Gallager said after the game that it was a close series but one where the Rangers did "a few more good things" than the Habs did. (Rangers Game Notes)

Alex Radulov said that the bottom line was that the Habs couldn't get past Henrik Lundqvist. (NHL.com)

Shea Weber said that the Rangers were the better team and deserved to win. (NHL.com)

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Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault during the third period in game five against Montreal Canadiens of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)
Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault during the third period in game five against Montreal Canadiens of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

Alain Vigneault met with the media on MSG following the Rangers win in Game 6 and said:

  • On Game 3 to now, "without a doubt a lot of focus and character. We didn't play real well in Game 3 and after playing pretty good in Montreal and coming 17 seconds away from having a 2-0 lead, it was 1-1 and we didn't play real well and our guys responded. They responded by playing hard and playing the right way and you gotta give credit to Montreal and they came at us hard, competed real hard. At the end of the day it was a hard fought series and our goaltender made some timely saves and we were able to get it done."
  • On the lineup and line changes after Game 3, "it might look good right now obviously but I have a lot of confidence in this group and sometimes you make some little moves and guys respond. A couple of guys after the first couple of games weren't playing as well as we needed them to play. You look at Hayes' line tonight, I didn't think they were that good the last game in Montreal and tonight they responded with a good performance. That is the way the game is."
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The Rangers were on the covers of some of the local papers following their Game 6 win over Montreal.

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Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) celebrates an empty net goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)
Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) celebrates an empty net goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

Lundqvist was awarded the Broadway Hat for tonight's win.

From the Rangers Game Notes, "-Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves, and stopped all 17 shots he faced over the final two periods, to earn his 59th career NHL playoff win. Lundqvist is the Rangers' all-time leader in playoff appearances (122) and playoff wins (59), and he also leads all active NHL goaltenders in playoff appearances and playoff wins. Since the start of the 2012 Playoffs, Lundqvist has posted a 9-3 record, along with a 1.53 GAA, a .947 SV%, and 2 SO in 13 appearances in which the Rangers have had a chance to close out a playoff series. Lundqvist has also posted a 7-1 record, along with a 0.96 GAA, a .964 SV%, and 1 SO in eight 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 an 8-2 record, along with a 1.50 GAA, a .944 SV%, and 1 SO in 10 career appearances at MSG in which the Blueshirts have had a chance to close out a playoff series. He posted a 4-2 record, along with a 1.70 GAA, a .947 SV%, and 1 SO in the First Round against Montreal in 2017."

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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The Empire State Building was lit up in Red, White and Blue to celebrate the Rangers series win over Montreal

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GEICO SportsNite: Rangers win 00:01:18
The Rangers defeated the Canadiens, 2-1, on Saturday to take the series and advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs.

Mats Zuccarello scored two goals in the second period to lead the Rangers to a series-clinching victory over the Montrael Canadiens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference playoff series. >> Read more


First period:

  • 16:19 MON Alexei Emelin; Assists: Alexander Radulov, Artturi Lehkonen 

Second period:

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Brendan Smith said on Friday that the Rangers want to look at tonight's Game 6 as a Game 7 because they don't want to have to return to Montreal for a Game 7. (Newsday)

He said that "anything can happen" in a Game 7 and that they can go "either way." (Newsday)

Smith said that the Rangers need to play a smart game and use home ice as a motivator. (Newsday)

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Alain Vigneault met with the media prior to Game 6 and said (NYR):

  • "I believe that our PP is due. First one in the last game had some real good looks, last one didn't but we are due and hopefully it's tonight."
  • On Nick Holden, "he's been good the last couple of games. When he's on top of his game he is very dependable, makes the right reads when he doesn't have the puck and when he does have the puck he can make some good plays and jump up in the attack when the opportunity is there. He's been a real effective defenseman for us, for the most part this year and he's going to have a good game tonight."
  • On experience, "I think it does. Anytime you have been through something you bring that knowledge with you to the next opportunity. We have an opportunity tonight against a real strong opponent. It's going to take our very best game. The last two games we have been getting better and tonight we will have to be real good and we are very aware of that."
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Alain Vigneault noted that with the Rangers adding Pavel Buchnevich into their lineup they have "balance" across their four lines.

Vigneault said that even with Buchnevich the Rangers can still play a physical game but that they also bring more skill into the lineup.

He said that he wouldn't classify any of his lines as a first, second, third or fourth line and said that this depth and balance allows for the Rangers to roll lines quickly and not be "overly concerned" about matchups.

Dave Maloney noted after Game 5 that having Buchnevich in the lineup makes the Rangers deeper, adds more skill and also puts 27-goal scorer Michael Grabner into a different role. (MSG)

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Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers players celebrate their win against Montreal Canadiens in game five of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)
Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers players celebrate their win against Montreal Canadiens in game five of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

Following the Rangers win on Thursday, Mats Zuccarello said that the Rangers had a "real team effort" and that the players "played for each other," worked hard and had an "unbelievable performance from Henrik Lundqvist. (MSG)

Henrik Lundqvist said that the focus for the Rangers lately has been to "put in everything you've got in every game" and that in both games 4 and 5 the Rangers have done that." (NY Post)

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Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider (20) prepares for a face off during the overtime period in game five of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)
Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider (20) prepares for a face off during the overtime period in game five of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)

4/22/17 | 5:51PM: Alain Vigneault said that "Chris Kreider was back" around the 15 minute mark of the third period, and OT, of Game 5 and started to use his speed, went to the net and protected the puck.

4/21/17 | Prior to Game 5, Larry Brooks wrote that Chris Kreider needed to go to the net and stop "tiptoeing" around Carey Price's crease as if it was an "active minefield." (NY Post)

In the first four games of the series Kreider averaged 17:11 per game, had 0 points, 8 shots on goal, 12 hits, 3 giveaways, 1 takeaway and 3 blocked shots.

Tags: Chris Kreider
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Alain Vigneault met with the media in Montreal early on Friday and said (NYR):

  • How do you manage playing extra time, "you just continue to play. Overtime is a great part about this game, anybody, on any given night can be the one who makes a difference. This is what is fun about this game. We went out in OT and battled real hard and just went out and played and we were able to get the bounce and the winner."
  • On Pavel Buchnevich, "that was part of the equation, they at some points during the season and early on played well together. Good skill set, real good communication between the three. For those of you who remember, Chris is one of the guys who can speak a little Russian on our team so he helped Pavel early on when Pavel was struggling with his English. Now he is just fake struggling with his English so that he doesn't have to talk to the media (smile). Just one of those things where we put them together and thought that in the second half of the game they really got better."
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 (Pavel Golovkin)
(Pavel Golovkin)

The Rangers have signed 23-year old Russian defenseman Alexei Bereglazov to a contract.

The Rangers were considered the favorites to sign Bereglazov.

Bereglazov is 6-4, 205 and has played in 162 games in the KHL over the past four seasons, 5 goals and 28 assists, and 40 playoff games, including a Championship in 2015-16.

He won Bronze with Russia at the 2014 World Juniors as a teammate of Pavel Buchnevich and was also a teammate of Buchnevich and Rangers prospect Igor Shesterkin in the Euro Hockey Tour last year.

  • Bereglazov, 23, skated in 60 games with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) this season, registering one goal and 18 assists for 19 points, along with a plus-nine rating and 20 penalty minutes.
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Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad (93) plays the puck during the second period in game five of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)
Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad (93) plays the puck during the second period in game five of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)

Mika Zibanejad scored the game winning goal in OT last night and had an assist, 3 shots on goal, 3 shot attempts blocked, 1 that missed the net and 4 hits in 17:53.

Zibanejad said on MSG that after he scored he blacked out.

While presenting Zibanejad with the Broadway Hat last night, Rick Nash said "good players find the puck and the puck finds good players."

Zibanejad said that his goal last night was the most important one in his NHL career and said that there is nothing like winning in OT in the playoffs. (Expressen)

Tags: Mika Zibanejad
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Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers players celebrate their win against Montreal Canadiens in game five of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)
Apr 20, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers players celebrate their win against Montreal Canadiens in game five of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

In OT last night the Rangers had 10 shots on goal and 24 shot attempts compared to Montreal's 3 shots on goal and 14 shot attempts for.

The Rangers had 3 high danger chances for in OT, Montreal had 0 and the Rangers had 11 scoring chances for and only 5 for Montreal. (Natural Stat Trick)

Derek Stepan said that the Rangers learned their lesson from the OT in Game 2 and played much more on their toes in Game 5 and got a "great effort from everyone. (MSG)

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The Rangers are on the back page of today's Newsday and NY Post.

The Daily News has the Rangers mentioned in the top banner with the headline: "Rangers In Control"

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Alain Vigneault met with the media on MSG following the Rangers OT win and said:

  • On his reaction to seeing the puck go in, "everyone is pretty happy. They came out real hard but I thought that in the second and the third we played better and thought we carried the play in OT. There is no doubt that we got a bounce but we worked real hard and got that bounce."
  • On the PK in the second period, "we lost a bit of momentum early on in the second but the second half of the game and OT we played well and got some good looks, made better plays with the puck. It was a hard fought game, goes to OT, two teams competing real hard."
  • On Zibanejad, "I thought that line, Mika, Kreids and Buch in the third and OT were real strong, not just making plays with the puck but backchecking real hard and spent a lot of time in OT in their end. They had a real strong finish to this game."
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