Rangers on verge of Stanley Cup Playoff history with win streak

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh, the New York Rangers have a chance to establish an NHL record with their eighth consecutive victory to start the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Thanks to Artemi Panarin’s overtime winner in Game 3, New York jumped out to a 3-0 series lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round on Thursday. The win pushed their undefeated streak to seven after a four-game sweep against the Washington Capitals in the first round.

The 2024 Rangers are the first NHL team since the 2008 Pittsburgh Penguins to begin the postseason by collecting seven consecutive victories. Interestingly, the Rangers in 1994 were the last team prior to the Penguins to achieve this feat.

During their most recent Stanley Cup-winning postseason 30 years ago, the Rangers swept the New York Islanders in the first round, outscoring their rivals by a 22-3 margin while not surrendering a single goal until the second period of Game 3.

Once the Blueshirts advanced to the second round against the Washington Capitals, they continued to win, building up a 3-0 series lead before a 4-2 loss in Game 4 ended the win streak at seven games.

In the Eastern Conference Final, the New Jersey Devils pushed them to Game 7, and the Vancouver Canucks did the same in the Stanley Cup Final, with the Rangers capturing the championship with a playoff record of 16-7.

Related: Filip Chytil game-time decision for Game 4 with illness

Rangers off to historic start in 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

In 1987, the NHL altered the Stanley Cup Playoff structure to what most fans are accustomed to today: four rounds of best-of-7 series. Before that, the 1985 Edmonton Oilers began their title defense by going 9-0.

However, they had a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Kings in the best-of-5 Division Semi-Finals. Then they knocked out the Winnipeg Jets in four straight (Division Final) before securing the first two wins in the Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

As of 2024, no team in NHL history under the current 28-game playoff format has started the playoffs by going a perfect 8-0 and earning back-to-back sweeps. The Rangers will attempt to achieve that feat in Game 4 while inching closer to becoming just the sixth team to begin 7-0 and win the Stanley Cup.

If New York wins the Stanley Cup this season, they would join the 1946 Montreal Canadiens, 1952 Detroit Red Wings, 1968 Canadiens, 1976 Canadiens and 1994 Rangers as the only teams to win the championship after starting the playoffs 7-0.

With seven consecutive wins, history is already on the Blueshirts’ side. Seven of the eight teams to go 7-0 played in the Stanley Cup Final, except the 1975 Philadelphia Flyers. After sweeping the Toronto Maple Leafs and jumping out to a 3-0 series lead against the Islanders, the Flyers lost four straight and were eliminated by the Islanders.

The two other teams on the list that did not win a championship include the 1989 Canadiens and the 2008 Penguins.

Heading into Game 4, the Rangers have already become the 36th team to win at least seven games in a row at any point in the playoffs and have a chance at becoming the 24th to win eight straight. Only two franchises have gone undefeated in the Stanley Cup Playoffs: the 1946 Canadiens and the 1952 Red Wings, who went 8-0 when winning the Stanley Cup.

The benchmark for a winning streak in the playoffs is 11, held by the 1992 Blackhawks, 1992 Penguins, and 1993 Canadiens, the last two winning the Stanley Cup in those seasons. The best record of any playoff team since 1987 belongs to the 1988 Oilers, who were 16-2 and won their third title in four seasons.

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