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Playoff foes Rangers and Senators have a history, sort of

Linesman Bryan Pancich #94 separates Kyle Turris #7

Linesman Bryan Pancich #94 separates Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators and Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers after a second-period Rangers goal on April 26, 2012. Credit: Getty Images

It arguably is the greatest playoff rivalry in hockey, one that never has failed to produce a dramatic, decisive game — on every occasion contested at the World’s Most Famous Arena, and always with the home team winning.

Rangers-Senators playoff fever: Catch it!!!

Hey, we’re trying here. It’s a long way to Thursday.

But once the Senators filibustered the Bruins out of the postseason in overtime on Sunday, we were deprived of a second-round, Original Six, old-school battle between New York and Boston and left with . . . Ottawa.


Even Canadians are bored by it, a city selected to be the capital largely because it was in a non-descript area between Toronto and Montreal over which neither metropolis could muster the energy to be jealous.

Anyway, try we must, because Ottawa is all we have for the Rangers in between the Canadiens and a potentially juicy showdown against either the Capitals or Penguins in the Eastern Conference final next month.

So back to 1930, and 2012.

You likely are not aware the Senators have won 11 Stanley Cups, most recently in 1927, when the Rangers were concluding their first season in existence.

These were the original Senators, who after 1933-34 moved to St. Louis as the Eagles — named for the bird in Budweiser’s famed logo — where they lasted one season, undermined by travel costs for long train rides to Canada.

None of which should be confused with the Washington Senators of Major League Baseball, who in 1972 became the Texas Rangers, who should not be confused with the New York Rangers.

But we digress. In 1930, the Senators and Rangers met in a first-round, two-game, total-goals series. The first ended in a 1-1 tie in Ottawa, meaning that Game 2 at Madison Square Garden would be decisive.

About 15,000 fans showed up on March 23 and saw the Rangers win, 5-2, extending a 2-1 lead with three goals in just over three minutes early in the third period.

Murray Murdoch scored the first two of those goals. He died in 2001, two days shy of his 97th birthday, as the last surviving member of the original Rangers of 1926-27. He also was a first cousin twice removed of Ken Dryden and was related by marriage to Mark Messier.

The Rangers’ run did not last long after that. They were swept by the Canadiens in a best-of-three series, the first of which was decided when Gus Rivers scored 8:52 into the fourth overtime. It remains the longest Rangers playoff game ever played.

The Senators returned to the NHL in 1992, without most of us paying much attention for their first 20 years, other than an appearance in the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Ducks in five games.

Then came 2012. In the first round, Ottawa took a 3-2 series lead on the Rangers, including two overtime victories, then lost Game 6, 3-2.

In Game 7 at the Garden, the Rangers won, 2-1, on goals by Marc Staal and Dan Girardi — then and now anchors on defense for the Blueshirts.

And just as in Game 2 in 1930, the Senators spent the final minutes in a frantic effort to erase the deficit, taking 14 shots in the final 7 ½ minutes — six of them going on goal, five being blocked and three going wide. The Rangers attempted one shot during that span.

Not that anyone should be surprised that it was a thriller.

That’s Senators-Rangers hockey, a tradition unlike any other!

  New York Ottawa
"Friends" stars Jennifer Aniston Matthew Perry
Years as national capital 1785-1790 1857-present
Influential Senators Chuck Schumer Erik Karlsson
Founded 1625, as Fort Amsterdam 1826, as Bytown
Tourist skating haven Rockefeller Center Rideau Canal
Avg. annual snowfall 25 inches 88 inches
Approx. population 8.5 million 900,000
Largest employer City of New York Federal government
Most recent pro football title Giants, Super Bowl XLVI Redblacks, 2016 Grey Cup
Original "SNL" cast members Chevy Chase Dan Aykroyd
Favorite foods that start with "P" Pizza Poutine
Alumni of local colleges Barack Obama, Columbia Alex Trebek, University of Ottawa
Arenas Madison Square Garden Canadian Tire Centre
Most recent Stanley Cup 1994 1927
Stars of No. 1 rated TV shows of '60s and '70s Carroll O'Connor, "All in the Family" Lorne Greene, "Bonanza"


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