Team Recap: 9th-Seed ’71-’72 New York Rangers

The #9 seed in the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff, the '71-'72 New York Rangers.

The #9 seed in the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff, the ’71-’72 New York Rangers.

  • Dave Balon (LW)
    • 16 GP   4 G   3 A   7 P   +1   19 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   3 Stars
  • Ab DeMarco, Jr. (D)
    • 17 GP   0 G   1 A   1 P   -5   12 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Gary Doak (D)
    • 13 GP   0 G   1 A   1 P   Even   2 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Jack Egers (RW)
    • 7 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   -1   1 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Bill Fairbairn (RW)
    • 17 GP   4 G   3 A   7 P   +1   39 S   0 GWG   4 PIM   1 Stars
  • Ed Giacomin (G)
    • 17 GP   11-5-1   3.41 GAA   .897 SV%   1 SO   3 Stars
  • Rod Gilbert (RW)
    • 17 GP   10 G   20 A   30 P   +7   72 S   1 GWG   0 PIM   12 Stars
  • Vic Hadfield (LW)
    • 17 GP   15 G   18 A   33 P   +7   87 S   2 GWG   14 PIM   14 Stars
  • Ted Irvine (LW)
    • 17 GP   1 G   2 A   3 P   -6   24 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Bruce MacGregor (C)
    • 17 GP   0 G   3 A   3 P   -6   20 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Jim Neilson (D)
    • 17 GP   0 G   7 A   7 P   +6   27 S   0 GWG   8 PIM   0 Stars
  • Brad Park (D)
    • 17 GP   6 G   13 A   19 P   Even   57 S   1 GWG   12 PIM   7 Stars
  • Jean Ratelle (C)
    • 17 GP   8 G   15 A   23 P   +7   32 S   2 GWG   0 PIM   10 Stars
  • Dale Rolfe (D)
    • 17 GP   0 G   3 A   3 P   +5   26 S   0 GWG   12 PIM   0 Stars
  • Bobby Rousseau (RW)
    • 17 GP   3 G   2 A   5 P   -6   25 S   1 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Glen Sather (LW)
    • 13 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   -1   2 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Rod Seiling (D)
    • 17 GP   5 G   6 A   11 P   -2   53 S   1 GWG   10 PIM   1 Stars
  • Pete Stemkowski (C)
    • 17 GP   2 G   1 A   3 P   +1   21 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Walt Tkaczuk (C)
    • 17 GP   4 G   5 A   9 P   Even   51 S   2 GWG   8 PIM   5 Stars
  • Gilles Villemure (G)
    • 1 GP   0-0-0   1.00 GAA   .923 SV% (13 SA)   0 SO   0 Stars

Bold – Team Best

Team Stats:

  • Record: 11-5-1
  • Goals Scored: 62
  • Goals/Game: 3.65
  • Goals Allowed: 59
  • Goals Allowed/Game: 3.47
  • Shots: 568
  • Shots Allowed: 577
  • Shots/Game: 33.4
  • Shots Allowed/Game: 33.9
  • # of PP’s: 30
  • PPG’s: 4
  • PP%: 13.3%
  • TSH: 27
  • PPGA: 3
  • PK%: 88.9%
  • Penalties in minutes: 68

I wasn’t sure how successful this team would be. I didn’t expect them to beat the ’78-’79 Islanders they way they did in the 3rd Round. I certainly didn’t expect them to force the top-seeded ’76-’77 Montreal Canadiens to seven games, but they did. They made it tough for the eventual champions. Here is the journey the ’71-’72 New York Rangers took in the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff.

1st Round:

Bye

2nd Round:

Swept 24th-seeded ’07-’08 Florida Panthers, 4-0

3rd Round:

Defeated 8th-seeded ’78-’79 New York Islanders, 4-2

Quarterfinals:

Lost to top-seeded ’76-’77 Montreal Canadiens, 4-3

Under Hall of Famer Emile Francis, the ’71-’72 Rangers finished 2nd in the very competitive East Division after posting a 48-17-13 record, which was good for 109 points. Despite having the 13th out of 14 weakest strength of schedule, Hockey Reference’s SRS rating had this Rangers team as the 2nd best team in the league. They were also 2nd in the league in goals for and ranked 3rd in the league in goals allowed. They had the pleasure of defeating the Montreal Canadiens in the Quarterfinals in six games and then swept the Chicago Blackhawks in the Semifinals. Their playoff run ended in the Stanley Cup final when they fell in six games to the Boston Bruins.

This era of Rangers hockey was ruled by the Goal-a-Game line, which included Jean Ratelle, Vic Hadfield and Rod Gilbert. They were third, fourth and fifth overall in points in the league, respectively. Ratelle, remarkably, was third in the league with 109 points (46 G 63 A) in just 63 games played, which was 15 less than Hadfield and 10 less than Gilbert. Hadfield was the team leader in goals (50) and he added 56 assists for a total of 106 points. Gilbert posted 43 goals and 54 assists for 97 points. Scoring depth came from guys like Walt Tkaczuk, Bill Fairbairn, Bobby Rousseau and defensemen Brad Park and Rod Seiling. Park was the teams top defenseman and he added 130 PIM to his 73 points. Goalkeeping duties were kind of split between Ed Giacomin and Gilles Villemure, but Giacomin, the Hall of Famer, was the #1 and made more starts in the regular season and playoffs.

Up next is the #10 seed, ’12-’13 Pittsburgh Penguins!

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