New York Rangers
1926/27: Granted a franchise by the NHL famous promoter Tex Rickard, the first year Rangers would have to famous architect Conn Smythe help fill out the roster with future Hall of Famers such as Frank Boucher and the Cook Brothers. To replace Smyth, Rickard selected another NHL legend in Lester Patrick. On November 16th the Rangers would finally take the ice with Patrick behind the bench, as they beat the Montreal Maroons 1-0 at MSG in front of 13,000 fans. The Rangers would go on to win the American Division with a 25-13-6 record as Bill Cook led the NHL in scoring. However in the semi-finals the Rangers would lose a two game total goal series 3-1 to the Boston Bruins.
1927/28: In their second season the Rangers take a step back in the regular season finishing second in the American Division with a 19-16-9 record. However, the playoffs would prove a different story. In the Quarterfinals the Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4 in a two game total goal series behind an impressive 4-0 win in the opener. After tie Game 1 at the Garden the Rangers were forced to beat the Bruins 4-1 in Boston to win the total goal series to advance to their first Stanley Cup Final. Forced to play on the road the because of the Garden’s circus contract the Rangers went into the finals against the Montreal Maroons as decided underdogs. After losing Game 1 the Rangers appeared doomed when goalie Lorne Chabot suffered an eye injury midway through Game 2. Former Defenseman and Coach Lester Patrick would take Chabot’s place between the pipes and the Rangers seemed to get inspired winning the game 2-1 in overtime to even the series. After signing New York Americans goalie Joe Miller the Rangers dropped Game 3 by a score of 2-0 and faced elimination in Game 4. However Miller would not allow another goal in the series as the Rangers won the next two games 1-0, and 2-0 to claim the historic Stanley Cup. In winning the cup the Rangers became the second American team, and first NHL from the U.S. to get their names carved into the silver chalice.
1928/29: Defending the Stanley Cup the Rangers finish in second place in the American Division again with a solid 21-13-10 record. In the Quarterfinals the Rangers battle the New York Americans in a two game Total Goal series. In Game 2 went the Rangers Butch Keeling finally lit the lamp for the only goal of the series 29:50 into Overtime. In the semi-finals the Rangers would sweep the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 in a best of three series. However their quest to keep the cup ended in the finals when the Boston Bruins swept them in two games.
1929/30: The Rangers make the playoffs finishing in third place in the American Division despite a mediocre 17-17-10 record. In the Quarterfinals the Rangers would again prove to be a solid postseason competitor by beating the Ottawa Senators 6-3 in a two game Total Goal Series. However, in the semis they are swept by the Montreal Canadiens in two games.
1930/31: Finishing in third place with a 19-16-9 record the Rangers qualify for the playoffs again. Once again, they rose to the occasion in the playoffs destroying the Montreal Maroons 8-1 in a two game Total Goal Series. However, once again they are swept in the semifinals this time falling in two games to the Chicago Black Hawks.
1931/32: The Rangers climb to the top of their division posting a solid 23-17-8ecord to capture the American Division. In a matchup of Division winners the Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in a best of five games series. However, in the finals the Rangers are buried by 18 Maple Leafs goals as they are swept in three games by Toronto.
1932/33: After finishing in third place in competitive American Division with a 23-17-8 record the Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 8-3 in a two game Total Goal Series. The Rangers would go on to win a trip to the Finals by beating the Detroit Red Wings 6-3 in another Total Goal series. The win earned the Rangers a rematch with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Rangers would take advantage of their only game at the Garden by burning the Leafs 5-1 in the series opener. The series shifted to Toronto where the Rangers took a commanding 2-0 series lead with a 3-1 victory. After dropping Game 4 the Rangers and Leafs battled into overtime scoreless in Game 5. The Rangers would win the game and the Stanley Cup when Bill Cook hit the back of the net 7:33 into bonus time.
1933/34: Despite playing only mediocre hockey the Rangers make the playoffs again with a 21-19-8 record. However the Cup defense would end quickly in the playoff as they dropped a two game Total Goal Series 2-1 to the Montreal Maroons.
1934/35: The Rangers make the playoffs again with a 22-20-6 record good enough for third Place. In the playoffs the Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in a 2-game Total Goal Series. However Montreal’s other team the Maroons would reverse the Rangers beating them 5-4 in the two game semi-finals total goal series.
1935/36: Despite posting another winning record at 19-17-12 the Rangers string of nine straight playoff appearances comes to an end as they lose the final playoff spot to the Detroit Red Wings via a tie breaker. The Wings would go on to claim the Stanley Cup.
1936/37: A year after missing the playoffs with a winning record, the Rangers make the playoffs despite a losing record at 19-20-9. IN the Quarterfinals the Rangers would beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 in a best of three series. In the semifinals the Rangers would continue to roll sweeping the Montreal Maroons 2-0 in a best of three game series in which Dave Kerr and the Rangers blanked the Maroons by a total score of 5-0. In the finals the Rangers beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-1 in the series opener at the Garden. However with circus coming to town the Rangers are forced to play the rest of the series on the road. After dropping Game 2 the Rangers rebound to take Game 3, by a score of 1-0. However, the Rangers would not score another goal as they fell in five games.
1937/38: Goalie Dave Kerr becomes just the second hockey player to grace the cover of Time Magazine. The Rangers post a solid 27-15-6 record to finish in second place in the American Division. However, in the playoffs they are stunned as their city rivalries the Americans beat them with an overtime goal in the series deciding third game.
1938/39: With the NHL down to seven teams the Rangers finish in second place with a 26-16-6 record, as divisional play is eliminated. Battling the Boston Bruins in a best of seven game semifinals, the Rangers go the distance but lose in seven nail biting games that included four overtime games including the series finale in Boston. Following the season coach Lester Patrick would step down to concentrate solely on his duties General Manager.
1939/40: With new coach Frank Boucher the Rangers finish in second Place again with an impressive 27-11-10 record. In the semifinals the Rangers beat the Boston Bruins in six games to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the finals the Rangers win their first two games by scores of 2-1 and 6-2 at the Garden, before finishing the series on the road because of the circus. After dropping the first two games in Toronto the Rangers win a critical Game 5 2-1 in overtime on Muzz Patrick’s overtime goal. In Game 6 it would take overtime again as the Rangers won the Stanley Cup for the third time 3-2 on Bryan Hextall’s goal 2:33 into Overtime. Following the season the Rangers would celebrate buying out their lease at Madison Square Garden by burning the lease in the historic Stanley Cup, a move that would take on greater mystery in coming years.
1940/41: The Rangers follow up their cup win by finishing in fourth Place with a 21-19-8 record. The Rangers playoff run would end quickly by falling 2-1 in a best of three series to the Detroit Red Wings. Following the season the Rangers would evict the New York Americans from the Garden. After playing a season in Brooklyn the Americans are forced to fold. Americans president Red Dutton is said to have placed a curse on the Rangers stating they would not win the cup again in his lifetime.
1941/42: The Rangers finish first place in the NHL during the regular season with a 29-17-2 record holding off the second Place Toronto Maple Leafs by three points. However, in the semifinals the Rangers are stunned by the Leafs in six games.
1942/43: Losing several key players to Military Service the Rangers go from first to worst finishing dead last among the now six team NHL with an awful 11-31-8 record. On the way to finishing last the Rangers suffer through a 20-game winless streak.
1943/44: The Rangers go from bad to worse as they start the season winless through their first 16 games. However the slump would pale in comparison to the season ending 21 game winless streak as the Rangers finish with an awful 6-39-5 record.
1944/45: The winless streak would finally come to an end five games into the season as the Rangers took nearly 11 months between victories during a hideous 25 game winless streak stretched over two seasons. The Rangers would go on to finish in last place again with an 11-29-10 record.
1945/46: The Rangers struggles continue as they finish in last place again with a 13-28-9 record. However, they would get a bright spot as Edgar Laprade won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.
1946/47: After four seasons mired in last place the Rangers begin to show signs of life finishing just five points out of a playoff spot with a 22-36-6 record good enough for fifth place.
1947/48: With Buddy O’Connor capturing the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP the Rangers end a five year playoff drought by finishing in fourth Place with a 21-26-13 record. However, in the playoffs the Rangers are beaten by the Detroit Red Wings in six games.
1948/49: The Rangers take a major step backwards falling back into falling back into the cellar with an awful 18-31-11 record.
1949/50: Riding the back of goalie Chuck Rayner who won the Hart Trophy with an impressive 2.62 GAA the Rangers get back into the playoffs by finishing in fourth place with a 28-31-11 record. In the playoffs the Rangers reached the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in ten years by dispatching the Montreal Canadiens in five games. Forced to hit the road because of the circus the Rangers dropped Game 1 to the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. Playing in Toronto in Game 2 the Rangers rebounded for 3-1 win. After losing Game 3 in Toronto 4-0 the Rangers had their backs to the wall with remainder of the series in Detroit. However, going to Detroit seemed to spark the Rangers as they won the next two games in overtime on goals by Don Raleigh. However, the series would end up going seven games after the Wings won a 5-4 goal scoring fest in Game 6 in overtime. Game 7 would go into overtime as well, as the Wings took the cup in double overtime on Pete Babando’s goal at 28:31.
1950/51: The Rangers follow up their trip to the finals with a disappointing fifth place record of 20-29-12 that kept them a tantalizing one point out of the playoffs.
1951/52: The Rangers continue to struggle missing the playoffs for the eighth time in ten years by finishing in fifth place with a 23-34-13 record.
1952/53: Despite a stellar season by Rookie Goalie Gump Worley who wins the Calder Trophy, the Rangers crash into last place again finishing with a terrible 17-37-16 record.
1953/54: With Camille Henry becoming the second Ranger in a row to win the Calder Trophy the Rangers make a run at the playoffs by finishing with a 29-31-10 record. However in the end they would end up six points short while finishing in fifth place.
1954/55: The struggles of the Rangers continue as the miss the playoffs for the fifth year in a row while finish with a losing record for the 13th year in a row at 17-35-18.
1955/56: By posting a record of 32-28-10 the Rangers have their first winning season since 1942 to finish in third place and make the playoffs. However their playoffs would end quickly as they are knocked off by the Montreal Canadiens in five games.
1956/57: Despite finishing with a 26-30-14 record the Rangers make the playoffs for the second straight year by finishing in fourth place. However, once again the Rangers are dropped by the Montreal Canadiens in five games.
1957/58: The Rangers rise continues as they finish in second place with a solid 32-25-13 record. However, in the playoffs they ousted quickly again falling in six games to the Boston Bruins.
1958/59: Despite Andy Bathgate capturing the Hart Trophy with 40 goals the Rangers miss the playoffs by one point finishing in fifth place with a 26-32-12 record.
1959/60: The Rangers find themselves in the cellar again finishing with a woeful 17-38-15 record.
1960/61: The Rangers miss the playoffs for the third year in a row finishing in fifth place with a horrid 22-38-10 record.
1961/62: With a 26-32-12 record the Rangers sneak into fourth place to qualify for the playoffs. In the playoffs the Rangers would drop their first two games to the Maple Leafs in Toronto. With the series shifting to MSG the Rangers call on the reserves as Defenseman Rod Gilbert makes his NHL debut. The move seemed to work as the Rangers won two straight at home. However, after a heartbreaking overtime loss in Game 5 at Toronto the Rangers season is ended with a 7-1 thrashing in Game 6.
1962/63: The Rangers fall again missing the playoffs by finishing in fifth place with a terrible 22-36-12 record.
1963/64: The Rangers continue their role as NHL also-rans finishing without the playoffs again in fifth place with a 22-38-10 record.
1964/65: In a move to turn the Rangers into contenders the Rangers hire Emile Francis as their new General Manager. However the Rangers show little improvement finishing in fifth place with a 20-38-12 record.
1965/66: With Emile Francis taking the dual role as General Manager and Coach the Rangers hit rock bottom rock bottom by finishing in last place with an atrocious 18-41-11 record.
1966/67: Goalie Eddie Giocomin has a breakout season by posting nine shutouts and backstopping the Rangers to a fourth place 30-28-12 record. However the Rangers would be swept by the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs.
1967/68: In a year that saw the NHL double from six to 12 teams the Rangers change addresses as the old Madison Square Garden closes its doors on February 11th following a 3-3 tie against the Detroit Red Wings. A week later and 17 blocks downtown the Rangers opened a brand new Madison Square Garden by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 before 17,250 fans. The Rangers would go on to finish in second Place with a 39-23-12 record. However, in the playoffs the Rangers are stunned by the Chicago Black Hawks in six games after winning the first two games.
1968/69: In their first full season at the new garden the Rangers have another solid season posting a 41-26-9 record while placing third in the Eastern Division. However, in the playoffs the Rangers are bounced quickly again being swept by the Montreal Canadiens in four games.
1969/70: With five teams over 90 points the Rangers had to pull Goalie Eddie Giocomin in the final game just to score more goals to earn a playoff tiebreaker over the Montreal Canadiens with a 38-22-16 record. However, in the playoffs it was disappointment again, as the Rangers are knocked out in the first round by the Boston Bruins in six games. Now 20 years removed from their last playoff series victory and 30 years removed from their last Stanley Cup talk of a curse from burning the lease, and Red Dutton began to grow. Following the season Backup Goalie Terry Sawchuck and Right Wing Ron Stewart who lived together during the season ended up in a fight over bills. Sawchuck would sustain serious internal injuries that would lead to his death, a month later.
1970/71: With a record of 49-18-11 the Rangers top the 100-point mark for the first time. However despite their 109 points they finished 13 points out of first. In the playoffs the Rangers knocked off the Toronto Maple Leafs in six games for their first playoff victory in 21 years. However, in the semis their season is ended by the Chicago Black Hawks in a hard fought seven game series.
1971/72: The Rangers match their 109-point effort by finishing in second place again with a 48-17-13 record. Highlighting the season is Vic Hadfield who becomes the first Ranger to tally 50 goals in a season. In the playoffs the Rangers continued to roll as they knocked off the Montreal Canadiens in six games. Facing the Chicago Black Hawks in the semis for the second year in a row the Rangers extract revenge by sweeping the Black Hawks in four straight games to advance to the finals. However, before the finals even started the Rangers chances are dealt a blow when Captain Jean Ratelle broke his ankle late in the season. Without Ratelle the Rangers would fall in six games to the Boston Bruins leaving more fans to ponder were the Rangers cursed.
1972/73: In a year the Garden hosted the All-Star Game the Rangers break the 100-point barrier again finishing in third place with a solid 47-23-8 record. In the playoffs the Rangers extract revenge by beating the Boston Bruins to a pulp in five games. In three of the Rangers wins they won by three goals or more. However, in the semis the Rangers are knocked off by the Chicago Black Hawks in five games, losing four straight games after winning the opener.
1973/74: The Rangers put together another solid season posting 94 points by finishing in third place with a 40-24-14 record. In the playoffs the Rangers reached the semis for the fourth year in a row by beating the Montreal Canadiens in six games. However, their season would end in heartbreak in a hard fought seven game series with the Philadelphia Flyers.
1974/75: With realignment the Rangers finish in second place in the Patrick Division named after former Rangers General Manager and Coach Lester Patrick with a solid 37-29-14 record. However, they are forced to play an extra round of playoffs in the NHL’s newly expanded playoff format. There things would take a turn for the worse as the Rangers are stunned by the New York Islanders in a best of three game series losing the third and final game in overtime at the Garden. Following the season, Emile Francis would leave the bench to concentrate solely on his duties as General Manager.
1975/76: As the season started General Manager Emile Francis started to rebuild his first move came on October 30th when longtime goalie Eddie Giocomin was suddenly released. The move would not go over well with fans and just three days later he returned to the Garden receiving a standing ovation while leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 6-4 victory over the Rangers. A few days later the rangers continued to retool as Jean Ratelle and Brad Park are sent to the Boston Bruins in a blockbuster trade that lands Phil Esposito in a blue sweater. However the Rangers would struggle all season and before the season in which the Rangers missed the playoffs with a 29-42-9 record ended Emile Francis was gone, after being fired in January.
1976/77: The rebuilding Rangers continue to struggle missing the playoffs for the second year in a row with a 29-37-14 record.
1977/78: In a year marked by bad fashion the Rangers changed their traditional uniforms replacing the diagonal Rangers for a uniform featuring the shield logo that resembled the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets. That same season coach Jean-Guy Talbot was booed vigorously by fashion sensitive Rangers fans that started chanting lest go Penguins when he wore a leisure suit behind the bench for a game. The Rangers would go on to make the playoffs despite finishing in last place with a 30-37-13 record. In the Preliminary round the Rangers are ousted by the Buffalo Sabres in best of three games series that goes the distance. Following the season Talbot is fired and replaced by Fred Shero.
1978/79: Under new coach Fred Shero the Rangers bring back their traditional uniforms and put together a solid season finishing in second place with a 40-29-11 record. In the Playoffs the Rangers continued to roll as they destroyed the Los Angeles Kings in a best of three game series winning both games by a combined 9-2 tally. In the Quarterfinals Coach Fred Shero would beat haunt his old team as the Rangers knocked off the Philadelphia Flyers four games to one. This would set the Rangers up in a semifinal showdown with their suburban neighbors. With Goalie John Davidson nearly standing on his head the Rangers stun the Islanders in 6 games to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. Facing the three time defending Champion Montreal Canadiens the Rangers take Game 1 at the historic Montreal Forum 4-1. However, a 3rd period onslaught by the Canadiens in Game 2 proved to be the turning point as the Canadiens won the Cup for the fourth year in a row with a five game series victory that extended the Rangers drought to 39 years.
1979/80: Coming off their trip to the Stanley Cup Finals the Rangers play just good enough to make the playoffs with a 38-32-10 record. In the playoffs the Rangers douse the Atlanta Flames three games to one. However, in the following round they are bullied by the Philadelphia Flyers falling behind 3-0 before falling in five games.
1980/81: After a slow start coach Fred Shero is fired and replaced by General Manager Craig Patrick. Under Patrick the Rangers would play better, as they made the playoffs despite finishing with a 30-36-14 record. Playing as the 13th seed the Rangers, stun the Los Angeles Kings in four games of a best of five series. Scoring an incredible 16 goals in the last two games played at the Garden. The Rangers would continue to play well in the playoffs as they knocked off the St. Louis Blues, who had the second best record in the NHL in six games to reach the semifinals. However, in the semis they would be swept away by the New York Islanders in four straight games. Following the season Patrick would go back to running things behind the scenes as he hired 1980 US Olympic team Coach Herb Brooks.
1981/82: With an adjustment to the playoff format the Rangers finish in second place in the Patrick Division with a solid 39-27-14 record. In the Patrick Division playoffs the Rangers drop the first game to the Philadelphia Flyers at the Garden, but rally back to take the series in four games. However, in the Division Finals the New York Islanders on the road to winning their third straight Stanley Cup knock the Rangers off in six games.
1982/83: The Rangers play only mediocre hockey all year but easily finish in fourth in the Patrick Division with a 35-35-10 record to make the playoffs. In the Patrick Division Semifinals the Rangers stun the first Place Philadelphia Flyers in three games. However, once again the Rangers would fall in the Division finals in six games to the Stanley Cup bound New York Islanders. Making matters worse is that suburban Islanders fans began taking to chanting 1940 taunting the Rangers long drought without a drink from the Stanley Cup.
1983/84: Despite finishing with a solid 43-29-9 record the Rangers could only manage to finish in the fourth spot in the Patrick Division Playoff picture. Facing the four time Stanley Cup Champion New York Islanders in the first round the Rangers held a lead in Game 4 with a chance to end the Islanders dynasty. However, the Isles would rally to win the game, and then captured Game 5 in overtime as they continued to hold New York bragging rights.
1984/85: The Rangers get off to bad start leading to the firing of Coach Herb Brooks. Under General Manager Craig Patrick who stepped behind the bench the Rangers would not fare much better as the finished with a disappointing 26-44-10 record. However, under the current playoff format the Rangers still managed to sneak in the playoffs. However, in the playoffs the Rangers are bounced quickly as they are swept by the Philadelphia Flyers in three games.
1985/86: With Goalie John Vanbiesbrouck having a breakout year by winning the Vezina Trophy the Rangers improve to 36-38 under new coach Ted Sator. However, once again they can only mange the fourth seed in the Patrick Division Playoffs. Facing the first place Philadelphia Flyers again the Rangers would stun the defending Conference Champions in five games taking the decisive fifth game in Philadelphia by a 5-2 score. In the Patrick Finals the Rangers stared a 3-1 deficit in the face trailing the Washington Capital late in the third period of Game 4. However, the Rangers would rally and would go on to win in Overtime on Bob Brooke’s goal 2:40 in. The Rangers would go on to win the next to make the Wales Conference Finals. However, the Rangers would run out of gas losing in five games to the Montreal Canadiens.
1986/87: With a font office shakeup and revolving coaches the Rangers play mediocre hockey all season as they barely hold off the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final playoff spot with a 34-38-8 record. In the Patrick Division Semifinals the Rangers would fall in the first round to Philadelphia Flyers in six games.
1987/88: Trying to add stability to the team the Rangers trade for Coach Michel Bergeron. However, an off-season injury to goalie John Vanbiesbrouck puts the team in an early hole. However, Vanbiesbrouck would return and the Rangers would start winning. However, making the playoffs would prove tough then normal as both the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins who had been doormats began to become contenders. It would go down to the final game as the Rangers missed the playoffs by a tiebreaker despite a winning 36-34-10 record.
1988/89: Hall of Famer Guy LaFleur, Rookies Tony Granato and Brian Leetch spark the Rangers early as they get off to a terrific start holding the Patrick Division lead most of the season. However, as the season wore on the Rangers began to fade. In February and March the Rangers would lose nearly two third of their games leading to the firing of Coach Michel Bergeron with two games remaining in the season. General Manager Tony Esposito would fill the coaching role the rest of the season as the Rangers continued to lose. However, the Rangers would still make the playoffs with a 37-35-8 record. In the playoffs the Rangers would continue to struggle getting swept in four games by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Desperate to do anything to turn the Rangers around Rookie Goalie Mike Richter would make his NHL debut in the fourth game. Following the season General Manager Phil Esposito is fired as the Rangers clean house. On a bright spot Defenseman Brian Leetch would claim the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top Rookie.
1989/90: The Rangers rise continues as the midseason acquisitions of All-Stars Bernie Nichols and Mike Gartner help the Rangers win their first Division Title in 48 years with a 36-31-13 record. In the Playoffs the Rangers continued to play solid hockey as they took the New York Islanders out in five games. However, in the Divisional Finals they are stunned by John Druce and the Washington Capitals losing four straight game after winning the opener 7-3.
1990/91: With Mike Richter and John Vanbiesbrouck splitting time between the pipes the Rangers post an identical 36-31-13 record, but had to settle for second Place in the Patrick Division. In the playoffs the Rangers are stunned by the Washington Capitals again losing in six games in the Division Semifinals.
1991/92: As the season was starting the Rangers went from mere playoff strongholds to Stanley Cup contenders with the acquisition of Mark Messier form the Edmonton Oilers. The addition of Messier gave the Rangers a leader they could turn to in key situations. The Rangers would capture the President’s Trophy for best regular season record with a 50-25-5 record. However, the Rangers momentum is slowed by a late season strike that interrupts play for 10 days. When the playoffs started the Rangers seemed a little flat as it took the full seven games to beat the upstart New Jersey Devils in the Division Semifinals. In the Divisional Playoffs the Rangers had the Pittsburgh Penguins on the ropes leading the series two games to one and holding a 4-3 lead late in the third Period of Game 4. However, Mike Richter would give up a goal on bad bounce from center ice as the Penguins rallied to win in overtime. The Penguins would go on to win the series in six games despite playing without Mario Lemieux who was injured by an Adam Graves slash. However, Graves’ suspension would seem to hurt the Rangers more, than Lemieux’s injury with the Penguins, who went on to win a second straight Stanley Cup Championship.
1992/93: On draft day the Rangers appear to have acquired Rookie holdout Eric Lindros from the Quebec Nordiques. However, moments earlier the Nordiques accepted a trade from the Philadelphia Flyers, an arbitrator would rule that the future star was the Flyers property. The Lindros trade seemed to cast a shadow over the Rangers goaltending duo of Mike Richter and John Vanbiesbrouck, as the Rangers struggled leading to the firing of Coach Roger Nielsen. However, under replacement Ron Smith the team continued to struggle with both inconstancy and injuries. Down the stretch the Rangers would lose 11 of their last 12 games as they fell into last place in the Patrick Division with a 34-39-11 record. Following the season the Rangers would trade John Vanbiesbrouck and hire Coach Mike Keenan.
1993/94: From the time arrived in old London for a two game preseason exhibition series with the Toronto Maple Leafs the Rangers were a team on a mission, as new coach Mike Keenan put together a motivational video. However, the Rangers would get off to a slow start losing five of their first eight games, including a home loss to the expansion Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The Rangers would acquire All-Star Steve Larmer in a three team deal, as the team started to gel the Rangers would only lose once in their next 22 games charging a head to first place in the Eastern Division. Madison Square Garden hosted the All-Star Game as Goalie Mike Richter stole the show, winning the game’s MVP while stopping Vancouver Canucks star Pavel Bure on a breakaway opportunity. The Rangers would continue to play solid hockey until March holding the best record in the league. However, the team started to struggle a bit and it concerned Coach Mike Keenan, so he decided to retool for the playoffs. On deadline day the Rangers rolled the dice acquiring proven playoff performer like Glen Anderson and Craig MacTavish. In addition they traded future star Tony Amonte to the Chicago Blackhawks for Stephan Matteau and Brian Noonan. After the deals the Rangers would lose just twice winning the President’s Trophy with a 52-24-8 record. For the Rangers the true test would be the playoffs an in the first round they passed with flying colors sweeping the New York Islanders in four games by a combined score of 22-3. In the next round the Rangers would face the Washington Capitals who proved to be a pest in the past, but this time the Rangers would continue to roll winning the first three games by a score of 14-5. The Caps would salvage Game 4, but the Rangers would take the series in five games to set up an Eastern Conference Finals showdown with New Jersey Devils. The Rangers who swept their Hudson River rivals in the in the regular season learned early it would not be easy when the Devils took Game 1 in Double Overtime. The Rangers would bounce back to win the next two games including Game 3 in the Meadowlands on Stephan Matteau’s goal in Double Overtime. However, over the next two games the Rangers would fall flat as the Devils took a 3-2 series lead, talk swirled around old curses and hexes as 1940 weighed heavily on the Rangers. However, Captain Mark Messier took all the pressure on his shoulders by guaranteeing victory in Jersey for Game 6. However, the Rangers fell behind 2-0 early and entered the final period trailing 2-1. From there Captain Mark took the game over scoring a Natural Hat Trick as the Rangers forced Game 7 with a 4-2 win. The Rangers appeared on the threshold of victory leading 1-0 in the final minute of Game 7. However, the Devils would score with the goalie pulled with seven seconds remaining to force Overtime. The two rivals battled back and forth through 20 minutes as the game went to a second Overtime for the third time in the series. After going back and forth down the ice Stephan Matteau circled around the back of the net 4:24 into the 2nd OT sneaking the puck past Devils Goalie Martin Brodeur in one of the most dramatic moments in NHL history as et Rangers went to the Finals.
1994 Stanley Cup Finals: In the Stanley Cup Finals the Rangers would go in as a heavy favorite facing the Vancouver Canucks. However, after dropping Game 1 in stunning fashion in Overtime the Rangers had a must win in Game 2. Early in the 3rd Period Glen Anderson would give the Rangers a lead that was held up by an empty net goal in the final seconds to win the game 3-1. With the series shifting to Vancouver the Rangers whether a furious first five minutes by Canucks star Pavel Bure. However, Bure was too pumped and when he took a game misconduct the Rangers too advantage and won going away 5-1. In Game 4 the Rangers would fall behind early again trailing 2-0 after the first period. In the second period the Rangers would get on the board but still seemed to be swimming upstream, as Pavel Bure set up for a Penalty Shot. In a make or break moment Mike Richter stoned Pavel Bure in a repeat of his All-Star Break away to keep the game close. From there the Rangers would spark to life scoring three unanswered goals to win the game 4-2 and take a commanding three games to one series lead. With the Cup in their grasp the Ranger shad a chance to close the Canucks out in Game 5 back at the Garden however, the Rangers played shaky hockey and fell behind 3-0 in the 3rd period. The Rangers would then spark to life scoring three goals in a matter of minutes. Just as fast as the Rangers tied it, the Canucks scored three of their own to send the series back to Vancouver 6-3. In Game 6 the Rangers seemed out of gas as the Canucks forced Game 7 with a 4-1 victory. As Game 7 was set to be played in the Garden talk of curses and jinxes and now or never put all the pressure on the Rangers. With the atmosphere so tense you can cut it with a knife the Rangers jumped on the board first scoring two goals in the 1st period. After Trevor Linden got the Canucks on the board Mark Messier answered to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead entering the final period. Five minutes into the final period Linden would strike again to get the Canucks within one goal at 3-2. From there the Canucks applied the pressure tenfold as Mike Richter did all he can to hold on. The clock seemed to move slow as the game went into the final period. With the Canucks goal empty the Rangers cleared the zone and iced the puck with 1.6 seconds left. From there Craig MacTavish won the face off as the Rangers finally ended 54 years of frustration by winning the Stanley Cup. Defenseman Brian Leetch would make history by becoming the first American Born Player to win the Conn Smythe as Playoff MVP.
1994/95: The Rangers Stanley Cup celebration was short lived as Coach Mike Keenan was allowed to leave after a disagreement over bonus payments with General Manager Neil Smith. With new Coach Colin Campbell the Rangers would have their much-anticipated banner raising put on hold as the Owners locked the players out while trying to formulate a Collective Bargaining Agreement. The season would not start until January 20th, with the schedule was shortened to 48 games, as the Rangers struggled just to make the playoffs. The Rangers would eventually make the playoffs as the eighth seed in the East with a mediocre 22-23-3 record. In the playoffs the Rangers showed flashes of their Stanley Cup run stunning the Quebec Nordiques in six games. However, they would quickly run out of gas being swept by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round.
1995/96: The Rangers returned to top forming leading the Atlantic Division most of the year. However, they would have to settle for second place with a 41-27-14 record after struggling down the stretch. Making news during the season was Captain Mark Messier who scored the 500th Goal of his prestigious career. In the playoffs the Rangers would get off on the wrong foot dropping the first two games to the Montreal Canadiens at the Garden. However, the Rangers would skate into the new Molson Center and stun the Habs on the road to turn the series around and win it in six. However in the next round the Rangers are knocked off by the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games.
1996/97: In a move that seemed natural the Rangers signed Wayne Gretzky, the greatest player who ever lived. The signing reunited Gretzky with his former Edmonton Oilers teammate Mark Messier, who provided the 1-2 punch of four Stanley Cup Championship teams. However, the Rangers just seemed old at times as the muddled through the season with a 38-34-10 record. In the playoffs the Rangers dropped Game 1 to the Florida Panthers 3-0 and rallied to win the next four games as Wayne Gretzky showed his old playoff magic netting a hat trick and an overtime game winner. In the second round they repeated the pattern losing to the New Jersey Devils 3-0 and rallying to win the next four games, with Adam Graves clinching the series win an overtime winner in Game 5. However, in the Eastern Conference Finals they would not be able to rally losing to Philadelphia Flyers in five games. Following the season Mark Messier was allowed to walk away and sign with the Vancouver Canucks, as the Rangers underestimated his desire for a big contract, while Garden Management was more focused on keeping Patrick Ewing with the NBA’s New York Knicks.
1997/98: The Rangers sorely miss their Captain as they never get it going missing the playoffs with a 25-39-18 record, as Coach Colin Campbell is fired and replaced by John Muckler in the middle of the season.
1998/99: Realignment would not revitalize the Rangers as they miss the playoffs for the second straight year with a 33-38-11 record. As the season wined down it became obvious Wayne Gretzky was going to retire. Already having won the All-Star Game MVP “The Great One” took his final bow on April 18th at Madison Square Garden during an overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
1999/00: To try and retool the Rangers land Free Agent Theo Fleury in attempt to boost the offense. However Fleury would have a terrible first season as the Rangers struggles continued. Making matters worse was the midseason knee injury to Mike Richter as the Rangers were never in the playoff picture, posting a 29-38-12-3 record. As the season winded down Coach John Muckler was fired. The house cleaning would continue after the season as General Manager Neil Smith was fired. Smith would eventually be replaced by legendary Edmonton Oilers architect Glen Sather.
2000/01: One of General Manger’s Glen Sather’s first moves was to bring back the Captain Mark Messier. However, under new Coach Ron Low Messier looked old as Goalie Mike Richter struggled to return from his knee injury. Showing flashes early Theo Fleury would disappoint again as his season is shortened when he checks into drug rehab. The Rangers would go on to miss the playoffs for the fourth year in a row with a 33-43-5-1 record.
2001/02: Rolling the dice the Rangers acquire Eric Lindros, who sat out an entire season with a concussion from the Philadelphia Flyers. Lindros would provide an early spark as the Rangers were in first place until late December. However, Lindros would suffer a mild concussion, and lose his aggressiveness as the Rangers had trouble winning in January and February. The rangers slowly would slide down the standing as undisciplined play and the loss of Mark Messier to a shoulder injury led to the Rangers falling out of the playoffs again with a 36-38-4-4 record. As the season wound down the Rangers started to retool acquiring highflying Pavel Bure from the Florida Panthers. Bure would score 12 goals in as many games to gives fans hope over the off-season. Following the season the retooling would continue as Coach Ron Low was fired, and replaced by ex-New York Islander star Bryan Trottier. Also getting dumped after the season was Theo Fleury who had a bizarre season full of odd penalties, completing his three years in New York as one of the biggest free agent busts in NHL history. Undaunted the Rangers continued to use Free Agency signing high priced Darius Kasparaitis and Bobby Holik.
2002/03: Under new Coach Bryan Trottier is was the same old song and dance as the Rangers struggled out of the gate winning just two of their first nine games. In October things would go bad to worse as Goalie Mike Richter suffered a career ending concussion. With second year goalie Dan Blackburn struggling, the Rangers acquired Mike Dunham from the Nashville Predators. However, the Rangers continued to struggle as Brian Leetch missed two months due to injury. With the Rangers struggling on January 30th the team decided to cut its losses as Bryan Trottier was fired and replaced by General Manager Glen Sather. However, the Rangers continued to struggle so they decided to make more big salaried additions reacquiring Alexei Kovalev from the Pittsburgh Penguins and later acquiring Anson Carter from the Edmonton Oilers. The moves would work as the Rangers played well in March. However, the Rangers would still miss the playoffs for the sixth year in a row with a record of 32-36-10-4.
2003/04: The Rangers woes continued as they began the season playing mediocre hockey as their big money players Eric Lindros, Alexei Kovalev, and Petr Nedved continued to struggle. However Mark Messier celebrating his 25th season in the NHL looked reenergized early in the season as he passed Gordie Howe for 2nd in scoring with his 1,851st career point on November 4th. However at 43 Messier could not carry the team alone and the Rangers struggles continued to increase fan hostility as the team was booed night and night out at the Garden with fans chanting Fire Sather at Coach and General Manager Glen Sather. Hoping to revitalize their hopes Sather would trade Anson Carter to the Washington Capitals for Jaromir Jagr on January 24th, adding to the Rangers bloated payroll in a deal that only made the team worse, as the Rangers won just three of their next 12 games playing listless hockey before angry fans. Finally Sather stepped down as Coach replacing himself with Tom Renney as he focused solely on his duties as General Manager as he began to dismantle the team. The moves came fast near the deadline as Alexei Kovalev was shipped to the Montreal Canadiens, Petr Nedved to the Edmonton Oilers, Matthew Barnaby to the Colorado Avalanche, Martin Rucinsky to the Vancouver Canucks, and Chris Simon to the Calgary Flames, all players who had underachieved and were booed soundly by Ranger fans. However the deal of Brian Leetch to the Toronto Maple Leafs would only serve to anger fans further as Leetch was one of a few players who seemed to be playing hard every game, but not only that had been a fan favorite for his entire 16 year career which included the 1994 Conn Smythe Award. None of the deals brought any top prospects or draft picks and left the Rangers a barren stripped club that would go on to finish the season with an awful 27-40-7-8 record which landed them in fourth in the Atlantic Division, missing the playoffs for an inglorious franchise record seventh year in a row.
2004/05: Season Cancelled Due to Lock Out
2005/06: Before the Lock Out the Rangers were a lost franchise, throwing bad money at players past their prime the Rangers seemed looked in a vicious cycle of bad decisions as they had not made the playoff since 1997. After the Lock Out the Rangers were forced to cut their bloated payroll, to get under the new Salary Cap. It proved to be just what the doctor ordered. Instead of spending money on a few high priced stars the Rangers now decided to give their prospects from the minors, a chance while signing solid role players to fill out the roster. The Rangers were also helped by the rejuvenation of Jaromir Jagr, who before the lockout looked a washed up player with a bloated contract, but with rule changes to increase offense he was suddenly back in his prime as he was among the league leaders in goals and assists all season as he set Rangers franchise record for goals (54) and points (123) as he was a finalist for the Hart Trophy, as the Rangers who were picked to finish last overall by many experts led the Atlantic Division most of the season. Also leading the way for the resurgent Rangers was Goalie Henrik Lundqvist who was a forgotten mid-round draft pick in 2000, but came to the NHL and won the starting job away from Kevin Weekes early in the season. Lundqvist was especially strong in shootouts, none better highlighted then the November 26th game at the Garden against the Washington Capitals as the game went 15 rounds before Marek Malik’s goal between the leg’s gave the Rangers a 3-2 win, and gave Rangers fans hope. However, as the season wore down the Rangers wore down and their lead for first place vanished as Lundqvist who led Sweden to a Gold Medal at the Torino Olympics, missed most of April with an injury as the lost their final five games and landed in third place with a record of 44-26-12. The Rangers would continue to struggle in the playoffs as they faced the New Jersey Devils in the first round, as they were blown off the ice on the road in Game 1 losing 6-1, as Jaromir Jagr suffered a shoulder injury. The Rangers would never recover as Jagr was effectively knocked out of the rest of the series as the Devils won four straight for a sweep.
2006/07: Coming off their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade the Rangers were expecting to be among the top teams in the Eastern Conference as the signed Veteran Brendan Shanahan to add leadership and scoring. On Opening Night, Shanahan became an instant fan favorite scoring twice to reach the 600 goal milestone as the Rangers beat the Washington Capitals 5-2. However, the Rangers struggled out of the gate as newly minted Captain Jaromir Jagr still had the lingering effects of a shoulder injury suffered in the playoffs against the New Jersey Devils. Jagr would slowly get healthy joining Shanahan in 600-goal club on November 19th. While Jagr started to get healthy the Rangers continued to struggle losing seven straight games in December as they were in danger of missing the playoffs once again. Sitting at 25-24-4 on February 5th the Rangers acquired pesky LW Sean Avery from the Los Angeles Kings; the move was just what the Rangers needed, as Avery gave them a boost of adrenaline launching them to be one of the best second half teams in the NHL. Still needing a strong finish to get into the playoffs the Rangers would win eight of ten games down the stretch to qualify for the 6th seed with a record of 42-30-10. In the playoffs the Rangers were matched up against the Atlanta Thrashers, a franchise reaching the playoffs for the first time ever. It would be just a cameo for the team from the south as the Rangers dominated from the start winning the first two games in Atlanta, as Sean Avery went from pest in Game 1 to hero in Game 2 scoring a goal, and assisting on another as the Rangers won 2-1. As the series shifted to an energized Madison Square Garden the Rangers were ready to explode in Game 3, beating the Thrashers 7-0, as Michael Nylander scored a hat trick. The Rangers would go on to complete the sweep with a 4-2 win in Game 4. In the second round against the Buffalo Sabres, the Rangers did not start as quickly dropping the first two games in Buffalo. However, as the series shifted to the Garden the Rangers got back into the series winning Game 3 in double overtime 2-1 on a goal by Michal Rozsival. The Rangers would even the series with another 2-1 win in Game 4, as Henrik Lundqvist held off a Sabres barrage in the final minute. Lundqvist appeared to be carrying the Rangers in victory again in Game 5 in Buffalo, as they led 1-0 late in regulation. However, with 7.7 seconds left the Sabres forced overtime on a goal by Chris Drury. The Sabres would go on to win the game on a power play goal by Maxim Afinogenov. The Sabres would go on to win the series in six games winning 5-4 to end the Rangers Stanley Cup hopes. Chris Drury the player who broke their hearts in Game 5, would join the Rangers just a few months later, as the Rangers looked to add scoring by signing the former Little League World Series hero from nearby Trumbull, Connecticut to a five year deal worth $32.25 million. In addition the Rangers also swiped Scott Gomez away from the rival Devils with seven year, $51.5 million dollar contract.
2007/08: The deal acquisitions brought high expectations back to the Garden. However, in the early going the Rangers had trouble meeting those lofty goals, as they won just three of their first ten games. In November the Rangers would finally get going as they won nine of ten and five straight. That good play would not last as the Rangers played mediocre hockey for most of the first half, as they started the New Year with a five game losing streak. In the second half the Rangers would play much better, as they posted a solid 8-2-2 record in February and an 8-3-3 record in March to reach the playoffs for the third straight year with a 42-27-13 record. In the first round the Rangers would face their Hudson River rivals, the New Jersey Devils, whom they dominated in the regular season beating five of six times. Like the regular season the Rangers controlled the playoff match up winning the first two games 4-1 and 2-1 as Rangers fans took over the Devils new arena in Newark. The Devils would break through as the series shifted to the Garden for Game 3, winning in overtime 4-3. However, the Rangers never lost control of the series winning the next two games 5-3, to close out the series in five games. In the second round the Rangers were matched up against the Pittsburgh Penguins. This time they would get off on the wrong foot losing Game 1 on the road 5-4, after breaking out with an early 3-0 lead. The Penguins would also win the next two games to take a 3-0 series lead. The Rangers would avoid the sweep by capturing Game 4, as Henrik Lundquist stopped all 29 shots in a 3-0 win. However, the Rangers season would come to an end with a 3-2 loss in overtime in Game 5 in Pittsburgh.
2008/09: The Rangers get off to a fast start, as they win their first five games, including a season opening two game series with the Tampa Bay Lightning in Prague on the way to posting a solid 10-2-1 record in October. However, the quick start is all but a memory as the Rangers reverted to playing mediocre hockey over the next three months. In February, the Rangers would take a turn for the worse, as they went into a nosedive, posting a 2-7-3 record over a 12 game stretch before Coach Tom Renney is fired, and replace by John Tortorella on February 23rd. Under Tortorella the Rangers struggles would continue as they lost their first two games. However, as March arrived the Rangers found their game, as they posted a 9-4-1 record, and got back in the playoff picture. Despite two straight losses to start April the Rangers reached the playoffs by winning their final three games and posting a record of 43-30-9. In the playoffs the Rangers holding the seventh seed faced the high scoring Washington Capitals, and jumped out to a fast start winning the first two games in Washington, as Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 35 shots in a 1-0 win in Game 2. However, at the Garden in Game 3 the Rangers would come out flat, losing 4-0. Lundqvist starred again in Game 4, as the Rangers won 2-1, with their goalie stopping 38 of 39 shots to give his team a 3-1 series lead. On the verge of an upset the Rangers seem to lose their poise as they were beaten 4-0 in Game 5, as Coach John Tortorella was suspended for Game 6 after squirting a fan with a water bottle. Without their Coach the Rangers lost 5-3, as the Caps sent the series to seven games. The Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in Game 7 on the road, but never scored again, as Sergei Fedorov broke a 1-1 tie with a goal with just under five minutes left to play as the Capitals completed the comeback with a 2-1 victory.
2009/10: With Coach John Tortorella around from the start of the season, the Rangers hoped they could play a more consistent brand of hockey, as they signed Marian Gaborik to a five year $37.5 million contract, giving the team more speed on offense. Despite suffering a 3-2 loss on the road to the Pittsburgh Penguins to start the season, the Rangers got off to a strong start as they won their next seven games, with Gaborik scoring 10 goals in his first 12 games. Gaborik would suffer a knee injury during a collision with former Ranger Petr Prucha against the Phoenix Coyotes on October 26th. Though Gaborik only missed a few games, he was slowed, and the Rangers suffered as they struggled throughout November and ended the month with a 13-13-1 record. The slump continued into December as the Rangers lost five straight games, and slipped below .500. The Rangers continued to play mediocre hockey up to the Olympic Break as they held a 28-27-7 record. When play resumed the Rangers suffered another setback as they went through losing streaks of three and four games, to put their playoff hopes on life support. However, the Rangers would win seven of their next nine games to enter a season ending game against the Philadelphia Flyers needing a win to make the playoffs. With John Shelly scoring a 1st period goal the Rangers held a 1-0 lead heading into the 3rd Period. Goalie Henry Lundqvist kept the Flyers off the board despite being peppered all game with shots. However, Matt Carle evened the game with a power play goal. The game would remain tied through overtime as Lundqvist kept the score 1-1, stopping 46 of 47 shots. The game would go to a shootout, where the Flyers would beat Lundqvist twice, to win the game and reach the playoffs where they would go on to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. As for the Rangers they would miss the playoffs for the first time in five years with a record of 38-33-11. Despite the disappointing finish Marian Gaborik had a strong first season in Ranger blue equaling his career high 42 goals, and set a new career high in points with 86, while playing in 76 games.
2010/11: As the season began the Rangers released Wade Redden, allowing them more flexibility under the salary cap. They also looked inward and opened the door for young players from their own organization. Players like Derek Stepan, who had a hat trick in his NHL debut as the Rangers beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-3 in the opening game of the season on October 9th. It was just the fourth time in NHL history a player had a hat trick in his first career game. After a loss to the New York Islanders, the Rangers suffered a 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in their home opener. After a mediocre 14-11-1 record through the first two months, the Rangers had a strong December, posting an 8-3-1 record to put them in the heart of playoff contention. The Rangers would suffer through a lackluster January and a terrible February as they looked to be heading to another disappointing finish with a 33-29-4 record on March 4th. Injuries were a factor as Marian Gaborik missed 20 games, and only managed 22 goals, while Captain Chris Drury was limited to 24 games, scoring just one goal, as a degenerative condition in his left knee forced him to retire following the season. However, the Rangers would win seven of their next eight games to get back in playoff contention. As April began the Rangers were in a battle with the Carolina Hurricanes for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. After winning their first two games in April, the Rangers suffered an ill-timed 3-0 loss at home to the Atlanta Thrashers, leaving them in a situation where they needed help to reach the postseason. The Rangers would do their part beating the New Jersey Devils 5-2 to finish with a record of 44-33-5. The help the Rangers needed would arrive as the Carolina Hurricanes lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 to put the Rangers back into the playoffs. In the playoffs the Rangers would face the Washington Capitals in the first round. A year earlier the same Capitals team was beaten by the eighth seeded Montreal Canadiens, the Rangers looked to repeat history as they took Game 1 to overtime. However, the Caps would win the game 2-1 on a goal by Alexander Semin. The Rangers came out flat in Game 2, as they suffered a 2-0 loss. As the series shifted to the Garden, Brandon Dubinsky scored with 1:39 left to get a 3-2 win to get back in the series. The Rangers looked to even the series as they held a 3-0 lead after two periods. However, the Capitals scored three times in the third period to force overtime. The Capitals would go on to win the game 4-3 on a goal by Jason Chimera in double overtime. The Caps would go on to win the series in five games, with a 3-1 win in Game 5. Shortly after the season the Rangers were hit by bad news, as Derek Boogaard, a player whom the Rangers signed for four years prior to the season, was found dead in his Minnesota apartment on May 13th after an accidental overdose of alcohol and oxycodone at the age of 28. Boogaard an enforcer signed from the Wild, played just 22 games after suffering a concussion, was said to have become a recluse as he dealt with the conditions. His brain was examined after his death and would become a major case study in the effect of brain injury in hockey.
2011/12: After injuries forced Captain Chris Drury to retire, the Rangers turned to Ryan Callahan to be the new team leader. The Rangers would begin the season in Europe as the first stage of massive renovation of Madison Square Garden was completed. Playing the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks in Stockholm, Sweden, Rangers Goalie Henrik Lundqvist would play in front of his countrymen but lost both games, one in overtime and the other on a shootout. Returning to the states, the Rangers would fall to the New York Islander, before embarking on a four game Western Canada trip. The Rangers would win three of four, before returning to New York for their home opener. The Rangers would suffer a letdown at the Garden, losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they split the next two games to finish October with a record of 4-3-3. Beginning with their last game in October, the Rangers would get on a roll in November, posting a seven game winning streak, as they won 12 of 14 games, which carried them into December. One key to the Rangers success was a strong defense, and the scoring of Marian Gaborik who was buoyed by the addition of Brad Richards. Meanwhile, Henrik Lundqvist was nearly unbeatable with a 1.97 GAA, as he would win the Vezina Trophy for the first time in his career. Richards would contribute to the most memorable moment in December, as he scored with .01 seconds left in regulation as the Rangers beat the Phoenix Coyotes on the road 3-2. The Rangers would finish December with a record of 23-9-4, as they prepared to play in the annual Winter Classic against the Philadelphia Flyers at Citizen’s Bank Park. The Rangers would spoil the day for the Flyers fans, as they rallied to win the game 3-2, with Brad Richards scored the game winner, and Henrik Lundqvist held off a late charge with the Flyers on a power play in the closing seconds. The Winter Classic win propelled the Rangers to the top spot in the Eastern Conference and the NHL. The Rangers would remain at or near the top of the league standings the rest of the season. The Rangers would go on to complete one of their best seasons in franchise history as they had the best record in the Eastern Conference, at 51-24-7.
2012 Playoffs: The Rangers would play the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the playoffs, and get off to a fast start, jumping out to a 4-0 lead, as they won the opener 4-0. However, the Senators would punch back in Game 2, winning in overtime 3-2. As the series shifted to Ottawa, the Rangers were badly outplayed. However, Henrik Lundqvist saved the day, stopping 39 shots, as Brad Boyle scored the game’s lone goal in a 1-0 Rangers win. However, the Senators would even the series again with a 3-2 overtime win. In Game 5 back at the Garden, the Rangers suffered a potentially disastrous loss, falling 2-0 despite 41 shots on Senators Goalie Craig Anderson. Facing an embarrassing elimination, the Rangers got a big game from Derek Stepan, who had a goal and two assists to lead the Rangers to a 3-2 win that sent the series to a seventh game. In Game 7, it was the Henrik Lundqvist show as he held off the Senators third period charge, as the Rangers won the game 2-1 to advance to the second round. As the Rangers went to battling the capital of Canada, the Washington Capitals it was Chris Kreider who was the catalyst as the Rangers won the opener 3-1. Kreider, had just led Boston College to a National Championship and joined the Rangers for the playoffs. Kreider would get a goal and an assist as the Rangers won the game 3-1. However, the first round series the Rangers would suffer a 3-2 loss in Game 2. As the series shifted to Washington, the Rangers would find themselves in a classic marathon as Game 3 went into triple overtime, with Lundqvist keeping the Rangers in the game, with 45 saves the Rangers would get a 2-1 win on a goal by Marian Gaborik. However, the Capitals would bounce back with a 3-2 win in Game 4, as the series went back to the Garden even at two. Down 2-1 in the closing minute of Game 5, the Rangers charging the net got a power play goal by Brad Richards with 6.6 seconds to force overtime. In overtime, the Rangers would get a goal by Marc Staal to take a 3-2 series lead, as Joe Ward’s high sticking double minor carried over into sudden death. However, the Rangers would deliver a flat performance in Game 6, losing 2-1 as the series went to a seventh game. Game 7 would see the Rangers win 2-1, with Lundqvist and the team’s defense protecting the lead as the Rangers scored on an early goal by Brad Richards, with Michael Del Zotto adding the second goal in the third period. With the win, the Rangers would face the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals, with all seven games coming on the 18th anniversary of the 1994 series. Game 1 would see both goalies put up blanks for the first two periods before Dan Girardi put the Rangers on the board in the third period. The Rangers would also get goals form Chris Kreider and Artem Anisimov as they won 3-0, with Lundqvist stopping all 21 Devils shots. The Devils would bounce back to win 3-2 to even the series. As the series shifted to Newark, the Rangers who once were able to get a large number of fans when the Devils played in the Meadowlands had to survive a charging Devils team for the first two periods. However, Henrik Lundqvist was up to the challenge keeping the game scoreless. In the third period the Rangers again broke out with three goals for another 3-0 win, as Lundqvist stopped 36 shots. Game 4 would be a different story as the Devils overwhelmed the blue shirts with a 4-1 win to even the series again. The Devils continued to get the jump on the Rangers in Game 5, taking an early 3-0 lead. The Rangers were able to battle back and even the game in the third period. However, Ryan Carter would give the Devils the lead back with less than five minutes left as the Devils took control of the series with a 5-3 win. Needing a hero on the 18th anniversary of Mark Messier’s guarantee the Rangers again were down 2-0 in Game 6. The Rangers would battle back to tie the game 2-2. The game would go to overtime, where the Devils put early pressure on Henrik Lundqvist, winning the game 3-2 on a goal by Adam Henrique on a goal mouth scramble just 63 seconds into sudden death, as the Devils avenged 1994.
2012/13: After their heartbreaking loss to the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Rangers looked to address their need for more scoring by acquiring Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets, sending Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon and a draft pick in return. The Rangers would have to wait to see how the deal would work out as the season was delayed for three months due to a lockout. The lockout hurt the Rangers more than just about anybody as the team began the season, looking out of sync as Nash struggled to adjust to John Tortorella’s system. Brad Richards also struggled, as he reported to the team out of shape and had one of the worst years of his career, with just 11 goals in the 48 game season. The Rangers would hover near .500 most of the season, as the team that entered the season as a favorite to reach the Stanley Cup Finals, entered April needing a strong finish just to get into the postseason. Looking to shake things up the Rangers were active at the trade deadline, picking up Ryan Clowe from the San Jose Sharks for three future draft picks, while sending the struggling Marion Gaborik along with Steven Delisle and Blake Parlett to the Blue Jackets for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and John Moore. The moves were made in hopes of adding some grit to a team that seemed to lack toughness all year. Clowe, Brassard, and Moore made their debuts with the Rangers on April 3rdas the Rangers slammed the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-1 as all three of the Rangers newcomers scored in their Rangers debut. The moves would pay off as the Rangers finished strong, posting a 10-3-1 record in April that saw them win all six games at MSG. The strong finish was enough to lift the Rangers into the playoffs with the sixth seed and a record of 26-18-4.
2013 Playoffs: The Rangers faced a familiar foe in the playoffs, meeting the Washington Capitals for the fourth time in five years. After losing the opener 3-1, the Rangers got a big game from Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2 at Verizon Center, as he stopped 37 of 38 shots. However, the Rangers offense could never get it going as the Capitals won 1-0 on an overtime goal by Mike Green. As the series shifted to the Garden, the Rangers got a big game from Derrick Brassard as he had a goal and two assists to lead the Rangers to a 4-3, as Derek Steppan’s goal in the third period was the difference win in Game 3. Steppan stepped it up again in Game 4 with another tiebreaking goal in the third period as the Rangers evened the series with a 4-3 win in Game 4. However, back in Washington the Rangers offense again sputtered as the Capitals won in overtime 2-1 to put the Rangers on the brink. Goals would hard to come by again, but with Lundqvist getting a 27 save shutout the Rangers would win the game 1-0, thanks to Derrick Brassard’s second period tally. The home team had won the first six games of the series, and for the Rangers to advance they would need to breakthrough in Washington. With five different goal scorers and Lundqvist stopping all 35 shots the Rangers would not only breakthrough they would break their slump and moved on to the second round with some momentum. The Rangers would face the Boston Bruins in the next round in a showdown of Original Six rivals. The Rangers would find themselves in another overtime battle in Game 1 at the TD Garden, before losing on a goal by Brad Marchand .3-2. The Rangers again had their backs to the wall after a 5-2 loss in Game 2. The Bruins defense would overwhelm the Rangers in Game 3 at MSG, winning 2-1 with two unanswered goals in the third period. With the Bruins on the verge of sweeping the series, the Rangers would tie the game in the third period on a goal by Brian Boyle, as Chris Kreider scored in overtime to give the Rangers a 4-3 win. However, the reprieve was temporary as the Bruins would win the series in five games, taking the finale 3-1. Following the season the Rangers would make a Coaching change firing Coach John Tortorella. Tortorella would go on to become coach of the Vancouver Canucks, replacing Alain Vigneault, who in turn would come to New York as the new coach of the Rangers.
2013/14: Following the dismissal of John Tortorella the Rangers named Alain Vigneault. Vigneault was the exact opposite of Tortorella, calm on the bench and open to the media. As a three year renovation of Madison Square Garden was completed the Rangers were forced to start the season with nine games on the road, spending most of the trip on the West Coast the Rangers posted a record of 3-6-0 before making their Garden on October 28th. The Rangers home opener would end up in disappointment as they were blanked by the Montreal Canadiens 2-0, finishing October with a record of 5-7-0. The Rangers would perform much better in November, posting a record of 9-6-0, as they won five of seven away from home. The Rangers would spend most of December at the Garden, thanks to a record nine game homestand. However, they would only manage a record of 3-4-2 as they went into the New Year with a mediocre record of 20-19-2. In January, the Rangers began to find their groove, posting a record of 10-4-1. The month was highlight by two wins at Yankee Stadium, as they beat the New Jersey Devils 7-3 and the New York Islanders 2-1 in the NHL’s Stadium series. The Rangers solid play would continue into February as they hit the Olympic Break with a record of 33-24-3. The Rangers were faced with a tough decision after the break, as they were unable to sign Captain Ryan Callahan to contract extension; this led to the Rangers making a rare in season swap of captains with the Tampa Bay Lightning, as the Rangers picked up Martin St. Louis. At first the Rangers struggled after the deal, as St. Louis had trouble adjusting to his new team, scoring just one goal in 19 games with the blue shirts. However, the Rangers finished the season strong and finished second in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 45-31-6.
2014 Playoffs: In the postseason the Rangers would face the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round, as realignment had a greater emphasis on divisional play. The Rangers would take the opener at Madison Square Garden 4-1, as Brad Richards and Derek Stepan netted power play goals in the second period. After suffering a 4-2 loss in Game 2, the Rangers bounced back to take Game 3 by a score of 4-1, as Henrik Lundqvist stopped 31 of 32 shots in Philadelphia. The Rangers and Flyers continued to alternate wins, with the Flyers taking Game 4 and 6, while the Rangers won Game 5. Fortunately Game 7 was lucky once again for the Rangers, as they beat the Flyers 2-1 as Henrik Lundqvist improved to 4-1 in seventh games by making 26 saves, as Daniel Carcillo and Benoit Poulet scored the two goals in the second period. In the Metropolitan Division finals the Rangers faced a much tougher test with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers would take the opener on the road 3-2 thanks to a Derick Brassard overtime goal. However, the Penguins quickly turned things around blanking the Rangers in the next two games. Facing the prospect of falling behind 3-1 in the series, the Rangers would not play much better in Game 4 losing 4-2 at the Garden. Down 3-1 the Rangers got even more bad news when the mother of Martin St. Louis died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 62. However, just before the puck dropped in Pittsburgh, St. Louis showed up ready to play. Martin St. Louis had just one shot in 16:19 of ice time, but his presence inspired his teammates to a 5-1 win, as Derrick Brassard scored twice and added an assist. Before Game 6, St. Louis received a thunderous ovation from the crowd at MSG, and scored the Rangers first goal as they won 3-1 to send the series to a seventh game. In Game 7, the Rangers took an early 2-0 lead and held on to win 2-1 as Henrik Lundqvist was magical again, stopping 35 of 36 shots to win his fifth career Game 7. The Rangers would move on to face the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals. Martin St. Louis scored first as he got a warm welcome from his hometown Montreal fans. It would be the first of seven goals the Rangers would score in the opener, as the Canadiens lost star Goalie Carey Price to a knee injury. The Canadiens would draw first blood in Game 2 as they came out in desperation mode. However, Ryan McDonough answered 17 seconds later to even the score, as the Rangers won the game 3-1 with St. Louis scoring a power play goal in the second period. However, the true star was Goalie Henrik Lundqvist who stopped 40 of 41 shots. Looking to take a 3-0 lead as the series shifted to New York, the Rangers were stone walled most of the night by rookie Goalie Dustin Tokarski. Trailing 2-1, the Rangers would force overtime on a goal by Chris Kreider. However, the Habs would win the game 3-2 as Alex Galchenyuk scored just 1:12 into OT. The Rangers would look to regain control of the series in Game 4 as Carl Hagelin scored an early shorthanded goal. However, the Canadiens battled back as the game went into overtime tied 2-2. In OT this time it would be the Rangers getting the win, as Martin St. Louis nearly blew the roof off the Garden with a perfect shot at 6:02. Following a sloppy 7-4 loss in Montreal in Game 5, the Rangers looked to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in two decades in Game 6. After a scoreless first period, Dominic Moore finally lit the lamp with a goal with 1:53 left in the second period. From there the Rangers smothered the Habs defensively allowing just five shots on goal in the final period as Lundqvist made 18 saves in a 1-0 win.
2014 Stanley Cup Finals: The Rangers again would be underdogs as they faced the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final. The Rangers had the fresher legs in Game 1, jumping out to a 2-0 lead, highlighted by a shorthanded goal from Carl Hagelin. However, the Kings battled back to tie the game and dominated the final 30 minutes. Despite being outshot 20-3 in the third period Henrik Lundqvist kept the Rangers in the game as it went into overtime. However, in the extra session the Kings continued to dominate the ice, and won the game 3-2 on a goal by Justin Williams. In Game 2, the Rangers again started quick, scoring twice in the first period. After each team scored twice in the second period, the Rangers looked to be in good shape leading 4-2 entering the third period. However, the Kings again dominated the ice in the third period, with Dwight King and Marian Gaborik scoring to tie the game 4-4. After a scoreless first overtime, the Kings would take a 2-0 series lead on a goal Dustin Brown. As the series shifted to the Garden, the Rangers continued to be frustrated by the Kings speed and skill as Jeff Carter scored in the final second of the first period to give LA a 1-0 lead in Game 3. The Kings would add two more in the second period as the Rangers could not get anything past Jonathan Quick, losing 3-0 and trailing in the series 3-0. The Rangers would not go down without a fight as they again a scored first in Game 4. This time the 2-0 lead would stand up as they survived a third period in which they were outshot 15-1 to hold on to a 2-1 win. The series would return to the Staples Center for Game 5, and despite falling behind early, the Rangers battled back to take a 2-1 lead on a power play goal by Chris Kreider and a shorthanded goal by Brian Boyle. However, in the third period Gaborik would even the score. The game would battle deep into a second overtime, before Alec Martinez scored on a rebound to give the Kings a 3-2 win and the Stanley Cup.
2014/15: After reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, the New York Rangers looked to go one step further as they entered Alain Vigneault’s second season as coach. Before the season the Rangers would name Ryan McDonough captain, taking over for Ryan Callahan who was traded near the end of the previous season. The Rangers would get some bad news just before the end of the season as Derek Stepan suffered a fractured fibula and began the season on the sidelines. Early on the Rangers had their struggles, losing three straight games after winning the season opener against the St. Louis Blues 3-2. Despite the team’s early struggles Rick Nash got off to a blazing start, becoming the first Ranger to score a goal in four straight games to start the season. Rick Nash would have one of the best offensive seasons in the history of the Rangers, leading the team with 69 points and 42 goals. Once Stepan returned the Rangers got rolling winning eight straight in December to enter the New Year with a record of 20-11-4. The Rangers continued to play well in January, but the season reached a turning point in February when Goalie Henrik Lundqvist suffered a freak injury after taking a slap shot to the neck in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on January 31st. Lundqvist would be diagnosed with a damaged blood vessel and would miss nearly two months. Despite losing their star goalie the Rangers continued to win games, as backup Cam Talbot was brilliant, with a 2.21 GAA as the Rangers rose to the top of the Atlantic Division winning ten games in February and another ten in March. Once Hendrik Lundqvist returned the Rangers were on pace for their finest regular season history in team history, winning the President’s Trophy with a record of 53-22-7. The 53 wins and 26 road wins the Rangers had also would set franchise records.
2015 Playoffs: The Rangers would take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs. Things started out well for the Blue Shirts as Derick Brassard scored 28 seconds into the game. The Rangers would later add a goal from Ryan McDonagh. The Rangers would not score again, but it was enough as Henrik Lundqvist stopped all but one of 25 shots as the Mets won the opener 2-1. Game 2 would not go as well for the Rangers as Sidney Crosby broke out of his playoff slump with two goals in the second period to lead the Penguins to a 4-3 win to even the series. As the series shifted to Pittsburgh the Rangers returned to their defensive roots, getting two goals early from Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider as Lundqvist was strong again, making 23 saves as the Rangers won 2-1. In Game 4 it was the Penguins getting on the board early with a goal from Patric Hornqvist. The Rangers would answer with a score from Derick Brassard in the second period as they game would not be decided until overtime. In OT it would Kevin Hayes that put the Penguins in a daze with a goal at 3:14 to win the game for the Rangers 2-1. The series would return to the Garden for Game 5, and once again needed overtime. This time it would be Carl Haeglin with the game winner at 10:52 to win the series. All four games in which the Rangers won were by the same 2-1 score. Moving on to face the Washington Capitals the Rangers would find themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 score, as Joel Ward’s goal with 1.3 seconds left, stunned the Garden crowd. The Rangers would bounce back in Game 2, winning 3-2, as Chris Kreider’s early goal helped erase the bad feelings from the opener. Henrik Lundqvist also was strong, stopping 30 of 32 shots. Game 3 in Washington would be a battle of the goalies as Braden Holtby was a brick wall for the Capitals, stopping 30 Ranger shots, while Jay Beagle’s second period goal was all the Capitals needed to win the game 1-0. Holtby continued his strong play in Game 4, allowing just one shot to get past him, while the Capitals with two goals by Andre Burakovsky won the game 2-1 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Rangers were on the brink as they played Game 5 at Madison Square Garden, Braden Holtby continued to frustrate the Rangers stopping every shot. Henrik Lundqvist was just as sharp, but the Capitals took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Curtis Glencross with 9:06 left in the third period. Time was running out, but the Rangers finally got one by Holtby as Chris Kreider scored with 1:41 left in the game. The Rangers would go on to win the game in overtime 2-1 on goal by Ryan McDonagh. Kreider came out fast in Game 5, scoring two first period goals as the Rangers went on to even the series with a 4-3 win. Game 7 would be back to defense as the game went to overtime again tied 1-1, with Kevin Hayes’ power play goal in the second period answering a first period goal from Alex Ovechkin. In overtime it would be Derek Stepan stepping up at 11:24 to send the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Finals for a second straight season with a 2-1 win. The Rangers would face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the conference finals, the opener took on a familiar script as Dominic Moore scored late in the third period to win the game 2-1. However, the Rangers suffered a big letdown in Game 2, playing their worst game of the postseason with a 6-2 loss. Henrik Lundqvist also struggled in Game 3 as the series shifted to Tampa, as the Rangers lost in overtime 6-5. Lundqvist would bounce back in Game 4, stopping all but one of 39 shots, as their offense exploded for five goals to even the series. The star of the 5-1 win was Rick Nash who scored twice and had an assist, while Martin St. Louis ended his scoring slump with his first goal of the postseason. However, with the series even at two games apiece the Rangers could not get anything going in Game 5, as Tampa won the game 2-0 at the Garden. The Rangers would get another explosion in Game 6, as Derick Brassard had three goals and two assists to lead a seven goal assault to win the 7-3 and force yet another Game 7. The decisive seventh game would look more like Game 5, as the game was scoreless entering the third period. Finally it was Alex Killorn finding the back of the net for Tampa, as the Lightning went on to win the game 2-0 and end the Rangers hopes of returning to the Stanley Cup Finals while ending the Rangers six game winning streak in Game 7s.
2015/16: Coming off a second straight appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals, the New York looked to continue their recent success. Early on things looked good for the Broadway Blueshirts as the started the season with three wins, and posted a 7-2-2 record in October. The Rangers continued their strong play into November as they posted a nine game winning streak that was the second longest in franchise history. As Thanksgiving arrived the Rangers went into a slump, losing three in a row. The struggles carried on throughout the Holiday season, as it was Blue Christmas for the Rangers who won just four games in December and went into the New Year holding a record of 21-13-4. The Rangers were strong at home in the season’s second half as they posted a 9-1-1 record at Madison Square Garden during January and February. As February ended, the Rangers were playing strong, but still looked to improve and traded for Eric Staal, sending Aleksi Saarela and two draft picks to the Carolina Hurricanes in return. Eric Staal the eldest of the Staal brothers joined his brother Marc on the Rangers. However, Eric Staal struggled after the trade, scoring just three goals with three assists in 20 games with the Rangers. Over the last six weeks the Rangers played mediocre hockey as they battled the rival New York Islanders for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers would secure the third spot by beating the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 in the final game of the regular season. The Rangers would finish the season with a record of 46-27-9, posting 101 points. Mats Zuccarello returning from a concussion would be the Rangers leading scorer with 61 points and a team high 26 goals, while Keith Yandle showed incredible playing making abilities with 42 assists. While the key to success for the Rangers continued to be the King, as Henrik Lundqvist again was one of the NHL’s top goalies with a 2.48 Goals Against Average and a .920 save percentage, while winning 35 games.
2016 Playoffs: Perhaps the New York Rangers would have been better off in the Wild Card, as the New York Islanders finished one point behind and faced the Florida Panthers, while the Rangers faced the red hot Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs. The Rangers got a taste just how tough the Penguins were going to be in Game 1 as Patric Hornqvist netted a hat trick to lead Pittsburgh to a 5-2 win. The Rangers bounced back in Game 2 as Keith Yandle and Derick Brassard scored 18 seconds apart in the second period to put the Rangers in front to stay as they won the game 4-2. However, at the Garden, the Rangers were unable to get anything going as the Penguins scored two big goals in the third period to win 3-1 in Game 3. The following game would see the Penguins blank the Rangers 5-0 to take a 3-1 stranglehold in the series. There would be no comeback this time for the Rangers, as the Penguins with four goals in the second period eliminated the Rangers in Game 5, winning 6-3. The Penguins would go on to win the Stanley Cup.
2016/17: Following a disappointing quick playoff exit, the New York Rangers looked to get back to the top of the Eastern Conference and got off to a strong start, winning 13 of their first 17 games. The Rangers continued to play well through the end of December, posting a record of 26-12-1 heading into the New Year. However, as 2017 began the Rangers sputtered, especially at home losing five of six games at Madison Square Garden in January. The Rangers began February strong, winning their first six games, as they posted a record of 9-3-1 during the month. On February 11th, Henrik Lundqvist recorded his 400th career win, as the Rangers beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. March though saw some of the same struggles that from January, as the Rangers were winless in five games at the Garden. The struggles did not drop the Rangers out of playoff position but saw them have to settle for the Wild Card as they entered the year with a record of 48-26-6. Mats Zuccarello was the Rangers leading scorer with 59 points, highlighted by 44 assists while J.T. Miller was close behind with 56 points. Chris Kreider was the Rangers top goal scorer, lighting the lamp 28 times.
2017 Playoffs: The only positive that came out of the New York Rangers wild card berth as they had an easier playoff draw in the Atlantic Division Champion Montreal Canadiens. Things started great for the Rangers as they took the opener at the Molson Centre 2-0, with Henrik Lundqvist making 31 saves in the shutout. The Rangers were close to stealing both games in Montreal, leading 3-2 late in the third period. However, Tomas Plekanec tied the game with 18 seconds left as the Canadiens won in overtime 4-3 with Alexander Radulov scoring the game-winner in sudden death. As the series shifted to Garden, the Habs used the momentum from their overtime win for a 3-1 win Game 3. Facing a must-win in Game 4, the Rangers put forth a tight defensive effort to win 2-1 as Lundqvist stopped 23 of 24 shots. The Rangers and Canadiens found themselves in overtime in Game 5 back in Montreal, this time it would be the Rangers winning 3-2 with a goal by Mika Zibanejad. Back at home, the Rangers closed out the series with a 3-1 win as Derek Stepan sealed the win with an empty-net goal. Facing the Ottawa Senators in the second round, the Rangers suffered a frustrating 2-1 loss in the series opener, as Erik Karlsson scored the game-winner with 4:11 left. Game 2 would bring even more frustration for the Blue Shirts, as they took the lead three times, and led 5-3 late in the third period. However, a pair of goals by Jean-Gabriel Pageau to tie the game. Pageau would score a fourth goal to give the Senators a 6-5 overtime win, for a 2-0 series lead. As the series shifted to New York, the Rangers battled back tying the series with a pair of 4-1 wins. Looking to take control of the series, the Rangers held a 4-3 loss in the late stages of the third period. Once again, the Rangers suffered a late-game letdown as former Ranger Derrick Brassard tied the game with 1:26 left. In overtime Kyle Turris scored the 5-4 game-winner at 6:28 to give Ottawa the series lead. In Game 6 at the Garden, the Rangers played from behind from the start as the Senators scored twice in the first period. The Rangers would shave the deficit to 3-2 on a goal by Chris Kreider early in the third period as the Senators went on to win 4-2 to close the series in six games.
2017/18: It was a season that saw the ushering in of a new era of New York Rangers hockey. After stumbling out of the gate by losing five of their first six games and then finding themselves in complete free-fall mode in January, upper management took a unique route to announce a rebuild. The Rangers issued a personal letter to the fanbase, preparing them for a flurry of trades and moves that would clean out most of a stale roster and restock the team with fresh, fast, young talent. General Manager Jeff Gorton was true to his word. Familiar faces such as Michael Grabner, Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Anti Raanta, and J.T. Miller were all dealt away, blowing up a core that had helped the Rangers get to the playoffs in 11 of the last 12 seasons. This included a pair of trips to the conference finals and one Stanley Cup Final in 2014. Gorton stockpiled prospects and had three first-round selections in the 2018 draft (plus two in the 2017 draft as well after the Stepan/Raanta trade) to help jumpstart a rebuild that had been a long time coming. The Rangers finished last in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 34-39-9 and fired longtime coach Alain Vigneault at season’s end. They tapped Boston University head coach David Quinn as the 35th head coach in franchise history.
Written by Edward Frick
2018/19: The New York Rangers season was one that will ultimately be remembered as part of the greater rebuilding process, as it marked the franchise’s second consecutive losing season at the Garden. It was the first season behind the bench for David Quinn, who had previously been the head coach at Boston University from 2013-2018. Primed and excited to take on his first position as an NHL head coach, Quinn would be tasked with piecing together many of the talented but young players on the roster. Leading the way for this Rangers team would be future Hall of Fame goalie Henrik Lundqvist, wingers Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello, and veteran defenseman Marc Staal. Statistically, the Rangers endured a poor season, finishing in the bottom third of the NHL in goals for and in the top third for goals against. The Blueshirts consistently found themselves in the penalty box, leading the league in penalty minutes per game with 10.4. With a penalty kill that was less than stellar, it’s quite easy to understand why the Rangers struggled to keep only two shutouts the entire season. At the individual level, the Rangers only had two players who contributed more than 50 points Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. Zibanejad, a Swedish winger, led the Rangers offense with a breakout campaign of 74 points. Finishing with 30 goals and 44 assists (both career highs), Zibanejad positioned himself nicely to be a primary offensive weapon for the Rangers in the coming years. Chris Kreider scored 28 goals to go along with 24 assists. The Rangers continued their rebuild on February 23rd when they traded Mats Zuccarello to the Dallas Stars for a second-round pick in 2019 and a third-round pick in 2020. Zuccarello, a fan favorite at MSG, had been one of the most productive players over the past decade for New York. Just two days later, on February 25th, New York reached an agreement with the Winnipeg Jets to send forward Kevin Hayes in exchange for Brendan Lemieux and multiple draft picks. Despite playing in only 51 games for the Rangers that season, Hayes compiled 42 points, good enough to still finish third on the Rangers squad for the season. Since Henrik Lundqvist has been between the pipes for New York after the lockout season, it’s felt like the Rangers have had a shot at winning any game. That narrative began to shift drastically as Lundqvist, endured the roughest season of his career at 37 years old. Lundqvist posted career lows in wins (18) and save percentage (.907), a career-high in goals-against average (3.07), and recorded zero shutouts in 52 games played. Despite the lackluster numbers, Lundqvist earned his 446th career win on January 19th, moving him into sixth place all-time. After enduring a rough stretch to end the season, New York ultimately fell short of the postseason with a record of 32-36-14. Despite the season’s shortcoming, Ranger fans had reason to feel positive about the state of the squad moving forward into the coming years.
Written by Christopher Sadocha
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Page created on September 10, 2002. Last updated on April 13, 2020, at 1:40 am ET.