Read: The Rangers would be playing Montreal in the playoffs if the divisions didn’t change

SNY’s Steve Gelbs pointed out yesterday that had the NHL not realigned the Rangers would be the five seed in the Eastern Conference and face Montreal, without home ice, in the first round of the playoffs.

Under the old format the standings would have been:

  • Boston (North East)
  • Pitt (Atlantic)
  • Tampa (South East Division)
  • Montreal
  • Rangers

The Rangers 1-0 win in Montreal on 11/16 ended a streak of eight-straight losses that dated back to March 17, 2009.

In those eight games the Rangers lost, 3-0, 3-0, 4-1, 4-0, 2-0, 3-2, 6-0, 5-4.

That streak was after the game in February of 2008 where the Rangers were up 5-0 on Montreal and lost 6-5 in a shootout.

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Read: Ryan McDonagh is 100% and working towards game 1

Ryan McDonagh6:40PM: McDonagh said on MSG, “I told him that I was ready to go and it was his decision and he felt it best to give it one more day of full rest and we have three days of practice and that will be good enough to really prepare.”

“I feel really good. It’s amazing, the last two days I have been able to get my shot back even harder, passing, skating is no issue so it’s just full strength and full game speed back and I will be ready for next week.”

On winning the Rangers MVP awards, “very honored, very humbled. I couldn’t have done it without the group of guys, to get the players player award that the team picks, from this group of guys, it means a lot. Tremendous group and everyone pushes hard for each other individually and to get that respect from them but that award could have gone to numerous guys. It’s great to feel that respect from the veterans and the young group and I couldn’t have done it without them.”

2:45PM: Ryan McDonagh will not play for the Rangers tonight but is 100% and has full range of motion in his shoulder. (Andrew Gross)

McDonagh said that he really pushed himself when he skated on his own yesterday and that while he could play tonight against Montreal, 3 more days of practice before the playoffs start would be good. (Andrew Gross)

He said that the past two days he has felt really good, his shot is hard and he has no issues passing or skating. He said that the full range of motion returned a few days ago and that things have steadily gotten better each day. (Ranger Rants)

McDonagh says that he will be ready for the playoffs and while he wants to play tonight, he respects the decisions of the coaching staff. (Rangers)

Alain Vigneault said that McDonagh is 100% but he didn’t see the need to play him tonight. (Rangers)

Note: Ryan Haggerty contract info and what kind of player he is

Ryan Haggerty12:32PM: Haggerty is not with the Rangers in Montreal and is ineligible for the playoffs so he will skate with the Wolf Pack extras who will be called up to provide depth when their season ends. Haggerty may play for Team USA at the World Championships. (Larry Brooks)

8:34AM: The Rangers recently signed Ryan Haggerty of RPI and he has been with the Rangers but has yet to play in a game.

Haggerty is with the team now and burning off the first year of his three-year entry level deal that has a cap hit of $925,000. (Cap Geek)

  • The Rangers beat out 11 other teams for Haggerty (ESPN NY) , who is a life long Rangers fan.

Haggerty can be sent to the AHL next season and would have a salary of $70,000. He also has a signing bonus each year of $92,500 and performance bonuses of up to $425,000 that could raise his cap hit to $1.208 million.

Craig Custance spoke with a scout who says that Haggerty is a “goal scorer” and can really shoot the puck. The scout said that Haggerty didn’t blossom in his role with the USA program, before going to RPI, and that he “tears it up on the PP” firing shots from the weak side. He is in need of playing with someone who can distribute the puck. (ESPN Insider)

For more on Haggerty, CLICK HERE.

News: Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Marty St. Louis are OUT tonight

FalkRyan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Marty St. Louis WILL NOT play for the Rangers tonight. (Larry Brooks)

  • Renaud Lavoie tweets that it will be an “evening of rest” for St. Louis.

Dan Carcillo and Justin Falk will replace Girardi and St. Louis in the lineup. (Larry Brooks)

This will be Justin Falk’s first game of 2014. He last played on December 29 when he played 8:45. Marc Staal returned in the next game for the Ranger and Falk has not played since.

Practice: Ryan McDonagh paired with Dan Girardi

11:39AM: Cam Talbot is the first goalie off the ice. (Steve Zipay)

11:25AM: McDonagh isn’t attempting slap shots and only “softly” wristing the puck towards the net. (Leonard)

11:16AM: Marty St. Louis and Ryan Haggerty are the only Rangers not skating. (Pat Leonard)

11:14AM: At the Rangers morning skate in Montreal, Ryan McDonagh is skating with Dan Girardi. (Rangers)

Nothing official has been said about today’s lineup.

Chris Kreider is not on the trip with the Rangers. (Steve Zipay)


Read: Jesper Fast is impressing/plays physical

FastIn his second game with the Rangers since being called back up, Jesper Fast played 12 minutes, had two shot attempts that missed the net and five hits.

Fast played:

  • First Period: 3:32
  • Second Period: 4:11
  • Third Period: 4:17

Fast was on the ice for (5 on 5) 14 shot attempts for and only 2 against, and 6 shots on goal for and 2 against. (ES)

He started 40% of his shifts in the neutral zone, 40% in the offensive zone and 20% in the neutral zone. (ES)

Joe Micheletti was asked after the game about Fast and said, “I like him, I really like him. I liked him in camp and at the start. You watch him play, very intelligent player. He isn’t that big but he hits, he lead all Rangers with 5 hits. He wants to handle the puck, he has no fear with how he plays. These Swedish kids know how to play the game.”

Alain Vigneault said after the game, “he has played well. Very smart player and goes on the ice and plays to his strength. He is more physical than people think and plays the body every opportunity. He will be a help.”

It’s been noted before that Fast plays a bit of a physical game.

POLL: Who do you want to play in the first round?

Sports Club Stats has the Flyers with a 58% chance of finishing third.

  • Columbus is playing Tampa Bay tonight and Florida on Saturday.
  • The Flyers play Pittsburgh on Saturday and Carolina on Sunday.

From the Rangers game notes on 3/26: “The Rangers have won 13 of their last 17 games against the Flyers, having outscored the Flyers, 58-32, over the span. The Rangers have held the Flyers to two goals or less in 14 contests over the span (12-2-0 in those contests). New York has also won eight straight games against Philadelphia at Madison Square Garden, dating back to a 7-0 victory on Mar. 6, 2011. The Rangers have out-scored the Flyers, 31-9, over the span, and have held Philadelphia to two goals or less in all eight contests during the streak.”

The Rangers were 2-1-1 against Columbus this season.

Read: Who will play for the Rangers tomorrow

With the Rangers locked into second place in the Metro Division and home ice in the first round, tomorrow’s game against Montreal has no impact for the Rangers.

Alain Vigneault said that he knows which goalie he will play tomorrow but would not reveal it until after he spoke to the players.

John Giannone asked Rick Nash about the idea of sitting out against Montreal and said, “that is a tough question to answer. You don’t want to get in bad habits or get into bad situations with guys trying to rest but on the other hand you want to make sure guys are ready for the playoffs and I am glad I don’t have to make those decisions and the coaching staff does.”

Dave Maloney said on MSG last night that Stepan, Nash and St. Louis have to play and have to be better.

When asked if he wanted to play tomorrow, Henrik Lundqvist said on MSG,”I don’t know. We will discuss it tomorrow. I feel good physically and mentally right now and before the playoffs we will have some good days of practice and work on a few details. I don’t know about Saturday. We will discuss it tomorrow but I haven’t played much in Montreal the last few years (smile) so it would be fun to get a start but it’s up to the coaches and whatever they think is best moving forward.

Brad Richards is not a fan of players sitting just for the sake of sitting.