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EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL
GAME 1
Thursday, April 12th 2007
Philips Arena
4 Final
Box score
3
New York
RANGERS
Atlanta
THRASHERS
 
Forward Lines Defense Pairings
Hossa-Nylander-Jagr
Avery-Straka-Shanahan
Prucha-Cullen-Callahan
Orr-Betts-Ortmeyer
Rozsival-Malik
Tyutin-Girardi
Mara-Pck
Goaltending
Lundqvist
Valiquette
Scratches
Hollweg - Healthy
Isbister - Healthy
Ozolinsh - Injured (IR)
Rachunek - Injured (IR)
Strudwick - Ineligible for playoffs
Weekes - Injured

The Rangers have opened up their postseason with an important 4-3, confidence boosting win on the road against the Atlanta Thrashers.  Michael Nylander's goal at 16:50 of the second period ultimately proved to be the game winner, and allowed the visitors to weather a third period comeback bid, and a penalty to defensemen Thomas Pock with just 1:10 remaining in regulation.  The Blueshirt faithful then had to survive a post by Ilya Kovalchuk from a sharp angle with just 1.2 seconds remaining, before they could release a collective sigh of relief.

Much of the scoring in the game could perhaps be attributed to nerves, with Rangers rookie defensemen Thomas Pock and Dan Girardi both making key mistakes that contributed to goals, and Kari Lehtonen looking unsettled in his NHL post-season debut.  To be fair neither goaltender looked completely settled, but the Rangers made the most of their chances, and dominated the offensive zone for much of the game, establishing two goal leads on three separate occasions.  And for once, the dreaded two goal lead proved to be a bonus rather than a curse.

New York got off to a fine start in the game when Jaromir Jagr converted on a one-timer mid-way through the first period, beating a moving Lehtonen high to the stick side from the face-off circle.  Jagr's 68th post-season goal seemed to help settle the Rangers, who extended their lead less than four minutes later with Michal Rozsival converting on the power play.  It appeared as if the visitors would go into the break with a two nothing lead, but a penalty mistakenly attributed to Rozsival (it should have been called on Malik) allowed Eric Belanger to redirect a shot from defenseman Niclas Havelid back towards the goal and by Henrik Lundqvist.

Marcel Hossa re-established the Rangers two goal lead in the second, but later appeared to aggravate his knee injury.  Hossa had missed the previous sixteen games with a sprained MCL, and one wonders whether he could be in doubt for the remainder of the playoffs.  It looked at that point as if the Rangers might run away with the game with the Rangers peppering the Thrashers netminder with shots, but once again the home team responded.  The Thrashers, playing with an extra man on a delayed penalty, worked the puck in the Rangers zone, culminating in a shot from the point off of Shane Hnidy's stick, that found it's way through traffic and by Henrik Lundqvist.

Atlanta's netminder then gave the Rangers back the two goal lead, and ultimately the game when he mishandled a shot by Petr Prucha, allowing Michael Nylander to beat two defenders to the loose puck for the game winner.  Dan Girardi's soft giveaway in the third gave the Thrashers their third goal to former Ranger Pascal Dupuis, but in the end it wasn't enough for the home team.

The teams will meet again on Saturday with the Rangers looking to come up with a 2-0 series lead, and the Atlanta Thrashers looking to regain some momentum and go to New York with at least a tie.

GAME NOTES:
Tonight's game was both the first playoff game by the Atlanta Thrashers, and their first playoff game at home.  The last time Atlanta hosted an NHL playoff game was twenty seven years ago to the day.  The Rangers defeated the Atlanta Flames 5-2 on April 12th, 1980 ending the Flames' eight year tenure in Atlanta.

New York had not won a "Game 1" of a playoff series since May 1st, 1994 when they beat the Washington Capitals 6-3 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.  The Rangers would go on to win the series 4-0 and would go on to win the Stanley Cup.  They also registered their first playoff win since May 18th, 1997 when they beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 in the Eastern Conference Finals.

NHL Playoff Debuts: Sean Avery, Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi and Thomas Pock.  Valiquette also backed up in his first NHL Playoff game.

Ranger Playoff Debuts: Matt Cullen, Paul Mara and Brendan Shanahan all made their first appearances for the Rangers in the playoffs.  It was the first playoff game for Paul Mara since 2002 when he was with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Marcel Hossa returned after missing the last 16 games of the regulation, but appeared to re-injure his knee in the game.  No word yet on how bad the injury was.

New York became just the second team (along with San Jose) to win the first game on the road in this year's playoffs.

TURNING POINT:
With 1.2 seconds remaining in regulation Ilya Kovalchuk hits the post from a wide angle.  Yeah it was that close to going to OT.

WHO STOOD OUT:
Matt Cullen didn't appear on the score sheet, but skated well all night.  In fact the whole "RPM" line (Prucha, Callahan and Cullen) was possibly the best line for the Rangers.  Jagr and Nylander both featured prominently in the play too, particularly in the first two periods, and Petr Prucha's work on the game winner was key, though he missed an opportunity to put the Rangers back up two goals in the third.

WHO DIDN'T:
Thomas Pock had a rough debut on the blueline, and Dan Girardi turned the puck over for Pascal Dupuis's goal that pulled the Thrashers back within one goal.  Brendan Shanahan was relatively quiet all game.


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September 29th, 2017

How many rostered players were on the ice for opening night 2016-17

Answer...
  STANDINGS
  Team GP W L OT Pts  
  Capitals 46 30 11 5 65  
  Bruins 46 27 8 11 65  
  Penguins 45 28 12 5 61  
  Islanders 43 27 12 4 58  
  Lightning 44 27 13 4 58  
  Maple Leafs 45 24 15 6 54  
  Hurricanes 45 27 16 2 56  
  Flyers 45 23 16 6 52  
  Blue Jackets 46 22 16 8 52  
  Panthers 44 23 16 5 51  
  Sabres 46 20 19 7 47  
  Rangers 44 21 19 4 46  
  Canadiens 46 19 20 7 45  
  Devils 44 16 21 7 39  
  Senators 45 16 22 7 39  
  Red Wings 46 12 31 3 27  
FULL STANDINGS
  RANDOM RANGER

GREG POLIS
(1974-1979)
  Born: Aug 8 - 1950  
  Pos: Left Wing  
  GP: 275  
  G: 65  
  A: 76  
  Pts: 141  
  PIMs: 196  

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