2012 rangers playoff preview

A Look at the Rangers’ Playoff Experience

Brad Richards, Ruslan Fedotenko, and Mike Rupp.

Unlike, say, the Boston Bruins, this particular Rangers team hasn’t yet made a deep playoff run: Since the lockout, the team has only made it past the first round twice, and it hasn’t won a playoff series since 2008. But that doesn’t mean that individual members of the team haven’t experienced postseason success. So who on this team has been through the grind of a long playoff run?

Won a Stanley Cup
The Rangers have three players who’ve won the Stanley Cup at least once: Ruslan Fedotenko has appeared in the playoffs nine times, playing for four different teams and in a total of 88 postseason games (the most of any current Ranger). He’s won the Cup twice — with the Lightning in 2004 and the Penguins in 2009 — and while playing for Tortorella’s Tampa Bay team in the ‘04 Finals, scored twice in a 2-1 Game 7 victory over Calgary. Brad Richards played on that 2004 Cup team with Fedotenko and won the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP. In all, he’s appeared in 63 postseason games with two teams. And Mike Rupp has a ring as well, having won the Cup in 2003 with the Devils. And like Fedotenko, he can claim a Stanley Cup–winning goal, having opened the scoring in New Jersey’s 3-0 win over the Mighty Ducks in Game 7 of the ‘03 Finals. He has 43 games of playoff experience.

Advanced to the Conference Finals and No Farther
Marian Gaborik
has played in 34 postseason games — including five with the Rangers last year — and played in the 2003 Western Conference Finals, in which his Wild team was swept by the Mighty Ducks. Backup goalie Martin Biron has played for several teams that have made the playoffs, but he’s appeared in games during just two postseasons: seventeen in 2008 (when his Flyers lost to Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference Finals) and six in 2009 (when the Flyers lost in the first round to Pittsburgh).

Advanced to the Second Round and No Farther
Henrik Lundqvist has the most experience of the homegrown Rangers and is the only player on the roster remaining from the 2005-06 team that got swept in the first round by the Devils. In total, he’s got 35 games of playoff experience, and he reached the second round in 2007 and 2008. Two other career Rangers made their playoff debuts in 2007 and have also reached the second round twice: Dan Girardi (who has appeared in 32 playoff games over four postseasons) and Ryan Callahan (who has appeared in 27 playoff games, as he missed last year’s series with Washington with an injury). Brandon Dubinsky and Marc Staal have each played in 22 playoff games over three postseasons beginning in 2008, when the Rangers reached the second round and lost to Pittsburgh in five games.

Reached the Playoffs But Never Advanced Past the First Round
Artem Anisimov appeared in one game during the 2009 playoffs and all five last year. Four Rangers made their postseason debuts last season, skating in all five games in the series loss to Washington: Brian Boyle, Ryan McDonagh, Brandon Prust, and Derek StepanJohn Scott appeared in four playoff games with Chicago last year; the Blackhawks were eliminated by Vancouver in seven games. Steve Eminger played five games in the opening round with Washington in 2008, when the Caps lost in seven to Philadelphia. And Jeff Woywitka skated in four playoff games with St. Louis in 2009, when the Blues were swept by the Canucks. Mats Zuccarello (who has said he hopes to be able to return from a wrist injury if the Rangers make a deep run) skated in one game with the Rangers last year.

Never Skated in a Postseason Game
Carl Hagelin, John Mitchell, Stu Bickel, Michael Del Zotto, and Anton Stralman have yet to play in a postseason game.

So the final tally (counting the likely healthy scratches as well as Zuccarello and Eminger, who has an injured ankle): Three players who’ve won the Stanley Cup, two others who have reached a conference final (but never a Cup Final), five more who’ve advanced to the second round but no farther, nine who’ve reached the playoffs but never skated in a game beyond the first round, and five with no postseason experience at all.

A Look at the Rangers’ Playoff Experience