Numbers: History suggests Rangers in for quick playoff exit

Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals is screened

Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals is screened by Ryan Callahan in the second period of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. (May 2, 2013) (Credit: Getty Images)

The Rangers lost the opening game of the opening round of the playoffs, 3-1, to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. And though it is just one game in a best-of-seven series, history suggests that first loss is a telling indictment of the Rangers' chances of advancing.

The Rangers have lost the opening game of a playoff series 48 times during the franchise's history and are 11-37 in those series, a .229 winning percentage. The Rangers have played 97 total playoff series, going 43-48-5 (.443) overall. The team has done a little better in recent years, going 6-8 since the 1994 playoffs.

Of course, statistics are only good to suggest possible trends. They're not infallible predictors.

The Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994, of course, coming back from an 0-1 deficit to take a series not once, but twice. They beat the Devils in the conference finals and the Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals in back-to-back seven-game series.

And really, Rangers fans shouldn't be so shocked the Rangers lost on Thursday anyway. The team is 17-34-4 (.293 winning percentage) in 58 series openers on the road. They've scored one goal or less 27 times in those games and have allowed at least three goals in 32 of them.

While the end result isn't entirely surprising, the manner in which it was achieved Thursday is somewhat shocking. Capitals keeper Braden Holtby defied the odds by allowing just one goal during Game 1. He'd given up one goal or less 11 times in 36 regular season games, just 30.5 percent of the time.

Meanwhile, Henrik Lundqvist underperformed by allowing three goals. He'd only allowed teams to score three or more goals against him 13 times in 43 regular-season games (30.2 percent). He was even better down the stretch, giving up three or more goals just four times in the final 20 games of the year.

Holtby beat the odds in Game 1. So did Lundqvist, though not in the way he would have liked. Now it's the Rangers turn to try and do so as a team. Otherwise, history suggests the only Rangers playing in June will reside in Texas.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

NHL videos

Vote

What was the biggest issue in the Rangers' Stanley Cup loss to the Kings?

Offense Defense Power play Coaching Something else

advertisement | advertise on newsday