Hi guys. I have a heavy heart today.
I don’t know if you heard about Bill Shannon, who was a highly-respected baseball official scorer in New York, an author, and a reporter. He died in a house fire yesterday at age 69. This is a man who, in the 34 years I’ve been in the business, has been at every single home baseball team I’ve attended, Yankees or Mets.
Just a nice, nice man, an unbelievable scorer — knew the rules better than any manager or player — and somebody who will be terribly missed in pressboxes in New York.
OK, back to hockey. The Thrashers are in town tonight. The great news out of Atlanta is that goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who collapsed mysteriously during a game three weeks ago, was activated from IR on Monday. And I get to see one of this blog’s faves, Dustin Byfuglien.
Here are tonight’s pregame notes. To read more, click “more.”
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. ATLANTA THRASHERS
Wednesday, Oct. 27, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
Rangers: 4-2-1 (9 pts)
Thrashers: 3-4-1 (7 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Oct. 25
The Rangers continue their three-game homestand when they will face-off against the Atlanta Thrashers at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.). The Rangers enter tomorrow’s contest having defeated the New Jersey Devils, 3-1, on Sunday at MSG to extend their winning streak to three games and improve to 4-2-1 (9 pts) on the season. The Thrashers enter the contest with a 3-4-1 (7 pts) record, having lost each of their last three games. Tomorrow’s contest will begin a stretch of four games in six nights for the Blueshirts, who will return to action on Friday, Oct. 29, when they face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to close out their three-game homestand.
- TV: MSG Plus
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Thrashers
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
- Radio: Bloomberg Radio
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game with Don LaGreca
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Thrashers
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. THRASHERS:
- All-Time: The Rangers are 18-12-1-9 all-time against the Thrashers: 7-7-1-5 at home and 11-5-0-4 on the road.
- 2010-11: Tonight’s contest marks the first of four meetings between the Rangers and Thrashers this season, and the first of two meetings at Madison Square Garden.
- Last Season: New York was 1-1-2 against Atlanta in 2009-10, including a 0-1-1 mark at Madison Square Garden. Two of their four meetings were decided in the shootout.
- Henrik Lundqvist posted a record of 1-1-1 with a 2.61 goals against average in three contests vs. Atlanta last season, and is now 6-3-0-6 with a 2.17 goals against average and one shutout in 16 career games against the Thrashers
- Michael Del Zotto led the Rangers with four assists and five points in four games vs. Atlanta last season
- Ruslan Fedotenko has registered 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points in 46 career regular season contests vs. Atlanta; Todd White has recorded six goals and 10 assists for 16 points in 12 career games vs. the Thrashers
- NHL Debut: Artem Anisimov made his NHL debut vs. Atlanta on Feb. 3, 2009
- First Goal: Dan Girardi recorded his first NHL goal at Atlanta on Oct. 18, 2007 (Hedberg)
- First Shutout: Martin Biron posted his first NHL shutout with an 18-save performance at Atlanta on Nov. 19, 1999 (3-0)
- New York lists two former Thrashers on their roster: Erik Christensen (2007-08 – 2008-09); Todd White (2007-08 – 2009-10).
- Atlanta lists one former Ranger on their roster: Nik Antropov (2008-09).
- Power Play: The Rangers tallied one goal in seven power play opportunities (13:02) on Sunday vs. New Jersey, and have now notched a power play goal in each of their last two games. New York is tied for 19th in the NHL with a 12.5% (4-32) success rate. 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 held the Devils scoreless in four shorthanded situations (7:51) on Sunday at MSG, and now rank 25th in the NHL with a 79.4% (27-34) success rate. The Rangers yielded one goal to Boston in two three-on-five situations (2:02) on Saturday at TD Garden, and are 2-4 on three-on-fives (3:47) this season. The Blueshirts yielded one goal in three, three-on-four situations on Oct. 15, 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 skated in one, four-on-four situation (0:09) on Sunday vs. New Jersey, and are now even in eight, four-on-four situations (11:28) this season. Four-on-four goals for (1): 10/18 vs. COL (Frolov). Four-on-four goals allowed (1): 10/15 vs. TOR (Kessel).
The Blueshirts currenlty lead the NHL in blocked shots per game, averaging 17.0 blocked shots per contest. Dan Girardi leads the team and is tied for third in the league with 24 blocked shots on the season. The Atlanta Thrashers enter tonight’s contest ranked second in the NHL, averaging 16.9 blocked shots per game.
THE HOT LIST:
- The Rangers enter tonight’s contest riding a three-game winning streak, and have tallied a power play goal in each of the last two contests
- The Blueshirts’ penalty kill has allowed just one goal in 15 shorthanded situations over the last three games for a 93.3% (14-15) success rate
- Henrik Lundqvist has won each of his last two games, registering a 1.50 goals against average and .954 save percentage over the span
- Ryan Callahan enters tonight’s contest riding a three-game scoring streak, recording four points (one goal and three assists) during the stretch including one assist in each of the three games
- Michal Rozsival has tallied an assist in each of the last three games, and has registered four points (one goal and three assists) during his three-game scoring streak
- Brandon Dubinsky has notched three points (one goal and two assists) in the last two games
- Dan Girardi has registered 12 blocked shots in the last three games and Callahan has tallied 15 hits in the last three contests
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 home opener on Oct. 15 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 Oct. 18 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. Fedotenko tallied his first goal as a Ranger to open the game’s scoring on Thursday at Toronto, and Martin Biron backstopped the Blueshirts to a 2-1 win in the contest with a 24-save performance to record his first win as a Ranger in his first appearance with the team.
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 eight 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 Oct. 18 vs. Colorado at Madison Square Garden, and Biron saw his first game action with a 24-save effort in a 2-1 win on Thursday at Toronto. Most recently, Jeremy Williams made his Rangers debut in Sunday’s 3-1 win vs. New Jersey after being recalled from Hartford earlier in the day.
- 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:
- Sean Avery: 4 games from 500 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)
- Michael Sauer: 1st career NHL assist/point (10/23 at BOS)
- Ryan Callahan: 100th career NHL point (10/23 at BOS)
- Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 7
- Marian Gaborik (IR – separated shoulder on Oct. 15, 2-4 weeks) – 4
- Chris Drury (IR – fractured finger on Oct. 15, 6 weeks) – 4
Total Man-Games Lost: 18
- Oct. 24: Recalled forward Jeremy Williams from Hartford
- Oct. 25: Assigned forward Jeremy Williams to Hartford