No Quit in New York: Rangers to face defending champs Tampa Bay in Eastern finals
The Rangers have had their share of slogans in its playoff past. What comes to mind first is the last time they faced the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2015 – it was “Change the Ending.”
A year earlier, they made the Stanley Cup Final against the Kings under the slogan “Above and Beyond: Earn It” – kind of a mouthful. In their prior Cup Final appearance in 1994, it was “Heave Ho” – a nod to the team’s work ethic.
But “No Quit in New York” – the team’s moniker for 2021-2022 is the embodiment of a pest team that simply will not go away. They are 5-0 in elimination games through their matchups with the Penguins (down 3-1, won in 7) and Hurricanes (down 3-2, won in 7).
As the Rangers continue their journey forward, it will be against the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning – a team built to win and coming off a sweep of the President Trophy-winning Florida Panthers. Likely Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin faces Vezina and Conn Smyth winner Andrei Vasilevskiy in net.
LEADING THE WAY:
Mika Zibanejad has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) through the first two rounds. Long Island’s own Adam Fox has 18 points (five goals, 13 assists). Andrew Copp has 12 points (six goals, six assists).
Shesterkin started all three games vs. the Lightning during the regular season and won them all behind a 1.30 GAA and .958 save percentage, with one shutout.
The Lightning have won 10 straight playoff series. The last three-peat Stanley Cup winners were the New York Islanders, who eventually made it four in a row. (1980-84).
The Rangers have home ice. The action begins at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Here’s some quick facts about the series courtesy of the Associated Press:
In their last regular season matchup on March 19, the Rangers won 2-1. Chris Kreider led the Rangers with two goals.
New York has a 52-24-6 record overall and a 26-8-4 record on its home ice. The Rangers have gone 42-5-2 when scoring at least three goals.
Tampa Bay has a 51-23-8 record overall and a 22-14-2 record on the road. The Lightning rank seventh in NHL play with 285 total goals (averaging 3.5 per game).
LAST 10 GAMES:
Rangers: 7-2-1, averaging 3.4 goals, 5.7 assists, 3.9 penalties and 8.3 penalty minutes while giving up 2.1 goals per game.
Lightning: 8-2-0, averaging 3.6 goals, 5.5 assists, 4.1 penalties and nine penalty minutes while giving up two goals per game.