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EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL
GAME 4
Wednesday, April 18th 2007
Madison Square Garden
4 Final
Box score
2
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

It was 1997 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, and the Rangers were hosting the Florida Panthers at MSG.  The game had gone to overtime and Esa Tikkanen unloaded a big slapshot that to many (including the referee) appeared to go off the crossbar.  Tikkanen began to celebrate as play continued, looking around for anyone to acknowledge what he felt certain was goal.  It was a couple more minutes before play finally stopped and they were able to go to the video.  As it turned out Tikkanen's shot went in and out of the net so quickly that video barely captured it over the line.

There perhaps wasn't quite so much at stake when Matt Cullen took his slapshot tonight, nor was Cullen so sure that he scored.  In fact he admitted after the game that he actually asked Johan Hedberg whether it went in, and was told that it had deflected off the crossbar.  So play continued for a few more seconds before a stoppage sent the referees to the video.  As it turned out, Hedberg was indeed correct, but what he didn't know was that after hitting the crossbar the puck went over the line before bouncing out in what has to be one of the more unusual ricochets seen in hockey.

The goal put the Rangers ahead for the final time in the series, reinforced by a Jaromir Jagr empty netter to give the Rangers the game 4-2 and the 4-0 series sweep over the Thrashers.

A jovial Jagr joked freely with Al Trautwig after the game, but cautioned that the true character of the team is yet to be tested.  Brendan Shanahan (who scored the goal to tie the game at two in the second), played down the achievement to Bill Clement of Versus, preferring to remain focused on the task at hand.

Yes there was definitely a sense of celebration with the Rangers, but the team leaders now have their eyes on a bigger prize, a second round match-up against an opponent which is yet to be determined, and then the chance to play for the Stanley Cup.

As for the game, the Thrashers were certainly not the pushovers they were in game three.  Johan Hedberg's return to the net seemed to steady the visitors, especially when he stopped several Ranger shots early in the period.  Keith Tkachuk then capitalized on a quick pass from behind the net, after Ilya Kovalchuk fought off Thomas Pock and set up his team mate in the slot.

The Rangers immediately bounced back however, drawing a power play and taking just 12 seconds to cash in on Michal Rozsival's second of the playoffs.  Perhaps the worst series of play since game one ultimately lead to Greg de Vries re-establishing the Thrashers' lead, taking a shot off the rebound and beating Lundqvist who was still trying to recover from a series of broken play.

From there it was all Ranger, with Shanahan beating Hedberg off the rush on a goal that trickled under his arm, and then Cullen and Jagr scoring in the third.

The Rangers will now get at least a week off as they wait to see who they'll play in the Semifinals.

GAME NOTES:
The Rangers move onto the semifinals for the first time since 1997 when they eliminated the Panthers 4-1.  It was the first series sweep since the Cup year when they beat the Islanders 4-0 in the first round.

New York became the first team to qualify for the second round, and the only team that is yet to lose in the playoffs.  Potential opponents include the more likely pair of Sabres (1) and Senators (4), with less likely scenarios matching them up against the Penguins (4) and Lightning (6).

Marek Malik picked up his first penalty minutes of the post season, picking up two minors including a late hooking call.  Matt Cullen scored his first post season goal, which proved to be the winner, and Jaromir Jagr registered his 69th playoff goal, and the first empty netter by the Rangers this post-season (first since they beat the Devils 3-0 to secure the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 1997).

A look down the NHL stats page prior to the game saw Rangers leading in all but one category...Henrik Lundqvist was second to Roberto Luongo in Save %.  With the sweep, the Rangers will likely drop back in those categories due to fewer games played.

For the first game in the post season, Fedor Tyutin failed to register an assist.  Thomas Pock managed to register his third though, and he now has just one fewer than his regular season total of 4.

The Thrashers held their first leads of the series, for 1:19 in the first and 5:52 in the second.  Both times the Rangers responded soon after to tie the game before ultimately going ahead.

New York finishes the series having outscored their opponents 17-6.

TURNING POINT:
The Atlanta Thrashers scored the first goal and established a lead for the first time in the series.  The Rangers almost immediately drew a power play allowing Michal Rozsival to score his second of the playoffs and quickly brought the MSG crowd back into the game.

WHO STOOD OUT:
It was another case of the Rangers dominating much of the game.  The top line was once again dominant, and Marcel Hossa appears to be quickly rounding back into form.  Sean Avery was once again a pest, and Brendan Shanahan could easily have had three goals if not some poor finishing (he did have one).  Marek Malik and Dan Girardi stood out on the blueline, with creditable efforts by all six defensemen.

Henrik Lundqvist was not as unbeatable as earlier in the series, but made several big time saves in the game

WHO DIDN'T:
The Rangers fourth line didn't see a lot of time, and weren't much of an impact either way in the game...Petr Prucha has been relatively quiet too.


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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

THEO FLEURY
(1999-2002)
  Born: Jun 29 - 1968  
  Pos: Right Wing  
  GP: 224  
  G: 69  
  A: 132  
  Pts: 201  
  PIMs: 406  

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