Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting the New York Rangers starting at 7 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:
• Tonight, the Rangers attempt to complete a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit for the first time in franchise history. New York has lost each of the previous 16 series in which it trailed 3-games-to-1, having forced a Game 7 just once (in 1939 vs. Boston). Pittsburgh will look to avoid losing a series after holding a 3-1 lead for the third time in club history and second time in four seasons (2011 vs. Tampa Bay, 1975 vs. NY Islanders, in which Pittsburgh led the series 3-0).
• The Penguins are 2-6 all-time when hosting Game 7 (0-1 at Consol Energy Center), having lost three in a row and last winning a home seventh game in Round 1of the 1995 playoffs, vs. Washington. The Rangers are 1-5 all-time when they are the visitors for Game 7, with last season’s 5-0 win at Washington the franchise’s only Game 7 win on the road.
• The Rangers have been a hard team to put away recently –- with wins in Games 5 and 6 of this series, New York is 3-0 this postseason when facing elimination, 6-1 in such games over the last two seasons, and 9-2 when facing elimination over the last three seasons. The Rangers tonight are playing Game 7 for the fifth time in their last seven playoff series; they have won the previous four during that stretch, and are 7-1 in winner-take-all games dating to the 1992 playoffs.
• For the second time in three seasons, the Rangers have gone the full seven games in each of their first two playoff series. No team has ever won the Stanley Cup after playing the maximum 14 games in Rounds 1 and 2.
• After dropping Game 1 in OT at home, then winning Games 2-4 by a combined 9-2 score, the Pens were outscored 8-2 in Games 5 (at Pittsburgh) and 6 (at New York). Only twice in franchise history have the Penguins lost three games on home ice in a single playoff series: 2000 vs. Philadelphia (which included Keith Primeau’s 5th-OT goal for the Flyers), and 2011 vs. Tampa Bay, in which neither Sidney Crosby (concussion) nor Evgeni Malkin (knee surgery) played.
• While Malkin has paced the Penguins with 13 points this postseason and 6 points (3-3=6) vs. the Rangers, Crosby remains stuck on one playoff goal (in Game 3), his only score in his last 17 playoff games (54 shots in that span). Both Crosby and Malkin will be playing in their fourth career Game 7 tonight; each has three points in those games (Crosby 2-1=3; Malkin 0-3=3), with the Penguins going 2-1.
• Henrik Lundqvist has led the Rangers to four consecutive Game 7 victories over three seasons, including their Round 1 win over Philadelphia this year. With a fifth straight victory tonight, Lundqvist would establish a new NHL record for consecutive wins in Game 7s, breaking a tie with Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour and Cam Ward. During his current four game streak, Lundqvist has allowed a total of three goals, for an 0.75 GAA with a .973 save% during the win streak.
• Brad Richards (NYR) holds a 6-0 career record in Game 7s, while teammate Dominic Moore is a career 4-1 that includes a pair of victories over Pittsburgh. Moore scored Montreal’s second goal in a 5-2 seventh-game victory over the Penguins in the 2010 playoffs, in the final game at Mellon Arena. A year later, Moore set up Sean Bergenheim’s goal in a 1-0 Lightning win at Consol Energy Center, completing Tampa Bay’s comeback from a 3-1 series deficit.
• The Lightning, swept from the playoffs by Montreal in Round 1, are sure to be in the Rangers’ corner tonight: should New York win and reach the conference final, the 2014 second-round draft choice the Rangers sent to Tampa Bay as part of the March 5 package for Martin St. Louis automatically becomes a first-round pick.