Hockey night in Canada. Start of a big early-season stretch (three in four nights; six in 10) and an early-season test.
I suspect Henrik Lundqvist starts tonight in Toronto, and Martin Biron gets the nod Saturday in Boston, Lundqvist back in Sunday vs. Devils. That’s my educated guess, nothing more.
All we know is that the Rangers are in T.O. with one extra player, and it’s not Mike Sauer, who’s expected to play. That means either Matt Gilroy or, more likely, Steve Eminger, is out.
I put some new hockey-related links down the right side of the page. If I’m missing any obvious sites or blogs, please let me know. I’ll shout at youse later.
Here are tonight’s pre-game notes from the Rangers. To read more click “more.” Duh.
NEW YORK RANGERS at TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Thursday, Oct. 21, 7:00 p.m.
Air Canada Centre • Toronto, ON
Rangers: 1-2-1 (3 pts)
Maple Leafs: 4-0-1 (9 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Oct. 19
The Rangers will face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre (7:00 p.m.), in an Original Six match-up. The Rangers enter tomorrow’s contest having been defeated by the Colorado Avalanche, 3-1, on Monday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 1-2-1 on the season. The Maple Leafs enter the contest with a 4-0-1 (9 pts) record to rank first in the Eastern Conference. Following tomorrow’s contest, the Rangers return to action on Saturday, Oct. 23, when they will face-off against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden (7:00 p.m.), in the first game of a back-to-back set.
- TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Maple Leafs
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
- Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game with Kenny Albert
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Maple Leafs
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. MAPLE LEAFS:
- All-Time: The Rangers are 215-270-95-6 all-time against the Maple Leafs: 126-109-56-3 at home and 89-161-39-3 on the road.
- 2010-11: This is the second of four meetings between the Rangers and Maple Leafs this season, and the first of two meetings at Air Canada Centre. The Rangers own a 0-0-1 record thus far following a 4-3 overtime loss in Friday’s home opener at MSG.
- Last Season: New York was 3-0-1 against Toronto in 2009-10, including a 1-0-1 mark at Air Canada Centre. The Rangers out-scored the Maple Leafs, 18-7, in four games last season.
- Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves in his only appearance against the Maple Leafs this season, and is now 7-4-4 with a 2.88 goals against average in 15 career regular season contests vs. Toronto
- Brian Boyle and Sean Avery are tied for the Rangers lead in scoring with two points apiece in one game vs. the Maple Leafs this season; Boyle’s two goals lead the team, while Avery’s two assists and plus-three rating are both a team-high
- Todd White has tallied nine goals and 21 points in 31 career regular season contests vs. Toronto; Michal Rozsival has registered 14 assists and 18 points in 33 career regular season games vs. the Maple Leafs
- Dan Girardi notched a career-high, two goals vs. the Maple Leafs on Oct. 12, 2009
- Brandon Dubinsky tallied a career-high, three assists at Toronto on Dec. 29, 2007
- New York lists no former Maple Leafs on their roster
- Toronto lists two former Rangers on their roster: Colton Orr (2005-06 – 2008-09); Fredrik Sjostrom (2007-08 – 2008-09)
- Power Play: The Rangers did not convert in five power play opportunities (10:00) on Monday vs. Colorado. New York is now tied for 18th in the NHL with a 11.8% (2-17) success rate, and rank third with a 28.6% (2-7) success rate on the road. The Rangers did not convert on one five-on-three chance (0:30) on Oct. 9 at HSBC Arena, and are now 0-1 on five-on-three attempts (0:30). New York is 0-1 (1:05) with a four-on-three advantage this season. Shorthanded goals allowed (0).
- Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered two goals in two shorthanded situations (1:40) to the Avalanche on Monday at MSG, and now rank 29th in the NHL with a 68.4% (13-19) success rate. The Rangers held the Maple Leafs scoreless in one three-on-five situation (1:10) on Friday at MSG, and are 1-2 on three-on-fives (1:45) this season. The Blueshirts yielded one goal in three, three-on-four situations on Friday, and are now 2-3 (1:10) in those situations this season. Shorthanded goals for (1): 10/9 at BUF (Dubinsky).
- Four-on-Four: New York notched one goal in two, four-on-four situations (4:00) on Monday vs. Colorado, and are now even in six, four-on-four situations (10:38) this season. Four-on-four goals for (1): 10/18 vs. COL (Frolov). Four-on-four goals allowed (1): 10/15 vs. TOR (Kessel).
ORIGINAL SIX SINCE 2005-06
New York has posted a record of 38-20-12 (88 pts) against Original Six opponents since the 2005-06 season, including a 11-6-4 mark vs. Toronto over the span. The Rangers’ .629 winning percentage ranks second, trailing Detroit (.721%, 35-12-5) and ahead of Montreal (.619%, 57-33-11), Toronto (.535%, 45-38-18), Boston (.525%, 45-40-15), and Chicago (.445%, 21-27-7).
Rookie Derek Stepan (three goals) and Alex Frolov (one assist) both registered their first point as a Ranger in the 6-3 season-opening win on Oct. 9 at Buffalo. Three new Blueshirts tallied their first point as a Ranger in Friday’s home opener vs. Toronto, with Ruslan Fedotenko, Derek Boogaard and Steve Eminger each recording one assist in the contest. In addition, Sean Avery registered two assists in the game to record his 100th point as a Ranger. On Monday vs. Colorado, Frolov notched his first goal as a Ranger with a four-on-four tally assisted by Stepan, who picked up his first career assist on the play.
STEPAN’S NEW TRICK
Derek Stepan notched three goals while making his NHL debut in the Rangers’ 6-3 season-opening win on Oct. 9 at Buffalo. He registered the Rangers’ first goal of the season, opening the game’s scoring at 10:53 of the first period. His second and third goals were recorded in a 3:12 span late in the second, with his third goal at 18:20 of the middle frame standing as the game-winner. Stepan’s hat trick established the following Rangers’ and NHL marks:
- He is the first Ranger in franchise history to record a hat trick in his NHL debut.
- His three goals tied the Rangers’ franchise record for most goals in an opening-night game, becoming just the second player in team history to record a hat trick in the season opener. Ron Murphy also tallied a hat trick in the 1955-56 season opener on Oct. 7, 1955 at Chicago.
- The last Ranger rookie to register a hat trick was Jan Hlavac on Feb. 11, 2000 vs. Boston.
- Stepan is the 26th Ranger to record a hat trick in their rookie season.
- The last Ranger to register a hat trick at Buffalo was Petr Nedved on Feb. 25, 2000.
- The last NHL player to record a hat trick in their NHL debut was Fabian Brunnstrom of the Dallas Stars on Oct. 15, 2008 vs. Nashville.
- Stepan is just the fourth player in NHL history to register a hat trick in their NHL debut.
YOUTH IS SERVED
Based on opening day rosters, the Rangers have the ninth youngest team in the NHL with an average age of 27 years and 44 days, and the second youngest defensive corp in the league, trailing only Los Angeles with an average age of 25 years and 51 days.
The Rangers have had seven new players dress so far this season: Martin Biron, Derek Boogaard, Steve Eminger, Ruslan Fedotenko, Alex Frolov, and Derek Stepan each skated in the season opener on Oct. 9 at Buffalo. Todd White made his Rangers debut on Monday vs. Colorado at Madison Square Garden.
- Entering the season, the Rangers have posted a record of 276-266-90 all-time in the month of October, including a 175-114-47 mark at home and a 101-152-43 record on the road. New York is scheduled to play 10 games during the season’s opening month in 2010-11, with five games being contested at MSG and five scheduled on the road.
- Legendary Rangers’ defenseman Brian Leetch holds the franchise record for most points in the month of October, having registered 43 goals and 130 assists for 173 career points in the season’s opening month.
- The Blueshirts’ all-time leader for most career wins in the month of October is Mike Richter, who registered 40 career wins during the season’s opening month.
- Last season, New York tied the franchise record for longest winning streak in the month of October, winning seven consecutive games from Oct. 3, 2009 vs. Ottawa to Oct. 17, 2009 at Toronto. The Rangers also won seven straight October games in 1988-89, beginning on Oct. 16 vs. Vancouver and ending on Oct. 30 vs. Pittsburgh. Their seven-game winning streak last season was also the team’s longest since they won seven straight from Feb. 1, 2006 vs. Pittsburgh to Mar. 2, 2006 at Philadelphia.
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
- Ryan Callahan: 2 points from 100th NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
- Derek Stepan: 1st career NHL game and 1st career NHL goal/point (10/9 at BUF)
- Derek Stepan: 1st career NHL assist (10/18 vs. COL)
- Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 4
- Marian Gaborik (IR – separated shoulder on Oct. 15, 2-4 weeks) – 1
- Chris Drury (IR – fractured finger on Oct. 15, 6 weeks) – 1
Total Man-Games Lost: 9
- Oct. 13: Assigned forward Tim Kennedy to Hartford.