Good morning, Sunrise (Fla.). The Rangers look to avoid the dreaded Florida sweep against, as Esa Tikkanen used to say, the Punters. It’d be nice if everybody showed up tonight, unlike Wednesday in Tampa.
It’ll be an interesting call on the goalies, with the back-to-back games tonight and at Nashville (I still can’t believe the NHL has a team in Tennessee) tomorrow.
Me? I’m on my way to Syracuse for a state championship football double-header today. Probably won’t see the game live, maybe Rangers in 60 later in the hotel.
Meanwhile, here’s your pre-game notes from the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at FLORIDA PANTHERS
Friday, Nov. 26, 7:30 p.m.
BankAtlantic Center • Sunrise, FL
Rangers: 12-10-1 (25 pts)
Panthers: 9-11-0 (18 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Nov. 24
The Rangers will continue their three-game road trip when they face-off against the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center (7:30 p.m.), in the first game of a back-to-back set. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 12-10-1 (25 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-3, on Wednesday at St. Pete Times Forum, and are now 2-1-0 in their last three games. The Panthers enter the contest with a 9-11-0 (18 pts) record to rank 13th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost three of their last four games. Following the contest, the Rangers will conclude their three-game road trip when they face-off against the Nashville Predators on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Bridgestone Arena (8:00 p.m.), in the second game of a back-to-back set.
* TV: MSG Network
7:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
7:30 p.m. – Rangers at Panthers
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
* Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio
7:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game with Don LaGreca
7:30 p.m. – Rangers at Panthers
Broadcasters: Joe Tolleson (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. PANTHERS:
* All-Time: The Rangers are 36-23-6-4 all-time against the Panthers: 18-12-4-0 at home and 18-11-2-4 on the road
* 2010-11: Tonight’s contest marks the first of four meetings between the Rangers and Panthers this season, and the first of two meetings at BankAtlantic Center
* Last Season: New York was 3-1-0 against the Panthers in 2009-10, including a 2-0-0 record at Florida. The Rangers out-scored the Panthers, 6-2, at Florida last season.
* New York ranks fifth in the NHL on the road with a record of 7-4-0 (14 pts) in 11 games; Florida has posted a record of 5-4-0 (10 pts) at home to rank 22nd in the league
* The Rangers have posted a record of 0-4-0 vs. Southeast Division opponents; the Panthers are 2-2-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist posted a record of 3-1-0 with a 1.48 goals against average and a .944 save percentage in four games vs. Florida last season, and is now 10-5-1 with a 1.88 goals against average in 16 career regular season games against the Panthers; Martin Biron is 7-11-1-0 with a 2.72 goals against average in 20 career regular season contests vs. the Panthers
* Marian Gaborik has tallied five goals and 10 points in 11 career regular season contests vs. Florida; Erik Christensen has registered six assists and nine points in 14 career regular season games vs. the Panthers
* New York lists two former Panthers on their roster: Vinny Prospal (2000-01); Steve Eminger (2008-09)
* Florida lists two former Rangers on their roster: Radek Dvorak (1999-00 – 2002-03); Christopher Higgins (2009-10)
* Power Play: The Rangers notched one goal in four power play opportunities (6:03) on Wednesday at Tampa Bay, and have now tallied a power play goal in three consecutive games (3-11, 27.3% over the span). New York ranks 17th in the NHL with a 16.3% (14-86) success rate, and ranks 10th on the road with a 18.4% (7-38) success rate. The Rangers notched one goal in one, five-on-three chance (0:30) on Wednesday at Tampa Bay, and are now 1-5 on five-on-three attempts (5:01). New York is 0-1 (1:05) with a four-on-three advantage this season. Shorthanded goals allowed (1): 11/20 at MIN (Cullen).
* Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts yielded three goals to the Lightning in six shorthanded situations (8:48) on Wednesday at Tampa Bay, and are now 33-37 (89.2%) over the last 11 games. New York ranks 21st in the NHL with a 81.1% (73-90) success rate, and are 14th in the league on the road with a 81.2% (39-48) success rate. The Rangers held the Maple Leafs scoreless in one, three-on-five situation (0:31) on Oct. 30 at Toronto, and are 4-6 on three-on-fives (5:08) this season. The Blueshirts held the Penguins scoreless in one, three-on-four situation on Nov. 15 at Pittsburgh, and are now 4-6 (2:41) in those situations this season. Shorthanded goals for (4): 10/9 at BUF (Dubinsky); 11/5 at NJD (Dubinsky); 11/15 at PIT (Staal); 11/24 at TBL (Boyle).
* Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation on Wednesday at Tampa Bay, and are now plus-two in 20, four-on-four situations (28:08) this season. Four-on-four goals for (3): 10/18 vs. COL (Frolov); 11/11 vs. BUF (Anisimov); 11/15 at PIT (Callahan). Four-on-four goals allowed (1): 10/15 vs. TOR (Kessel).
The Blueshirts have started games off strong this season, tallying the first goal of the game in 16 of their 23 games and posting a record of 11-4-1 in those contests. The Rangers own a record of 7-1-1 when leading after the first period, having out-scored their opponent, 17-10, in the opening frame. Brandon Dubinsky leads the team with four, first period goals on the season, followed by Brian Boyle with three goals.
Tonight’s contest will begin the Rangers’ sixth of 18 back-to-back sets this season. The Blueshirts are currently 2-3-0 in the first game of back-to-backs, and are 1-3-0 when the first game of the set is on the road following a 5-1 loss on Nov. 19 at Colorado. The Rangers are 5-0-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season having out-scored their opponent, 16-5, and are 4-0-0 when the second game is on the road. Over the last two seasons, New York is 14-2-2 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including a 9-1-1 mark away from MSG over the span.
JOHN TORTORELLA REACHES 300 WINS
With Saturday’s 5-2 win at Minnesota, Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella recorded his 300th career NHL victory to become the 40th head coach in league history to reach the mark. Tortorella has posted a record of 301-275-37-52 in 665 regular season games over 11 seasons with the Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning, and ranks 12th among active NHL head coaches on the NHL’s all-time wins list and first among U.S.-born coaches with 301 career victories.
The Rangers have had nine different players credited with at least one game winning goal this season, which is tied for second most in the league. New York trails Washington (10) by one, and is tied with Detroit, Montreal and Tampa Bay entering tonight’s action.
The Blueshirts currently lead the NHL with 387 blocked shots on the season, averaging a league-high, 16.8 blocked shots per contest. Dan Girardi ranks first in the NHL with 68 blocked shots, and Ryan Callahan leads all NHL forwards with 30 blocked shots.
A BROADWAY HIT
The Rangers currently rank first in the NHL with 678 hits on the season, and lead the league with an average of 29.5 hits per contest. Ryan Callahan currently ranks second in the NHL with 93 hits.
THE HOT LIST:
* The Blueshirts’ power play has tallied a goal in three consecutive games (3-11, 27.3% over the span)
* The Rangers’ penalty kill has yielded just four goals in their last 11 games, registering a 89.2% success rate (33-37) over the span
* Marian Gaborik has notched eight points (four goals, four assists) in the last seven games
* Derek Stepan has recorded eight points in the last seven games, with six assists over the span
* Dan Girardi has tallied eight points in the last 11 games, including seven assists during the stretch
* Ruslan Fedotenko has registered six points (three goals, three assists) in the last eight games
* Matt Gilroy has recorded three assists and a plus-six rating in the last seven games
* Ryan Callahan has registered 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in his last 18 games
* Brandon Dubinsky has tallied 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in the last 18 games
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.
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
* Erik Christensen: 3 games from 300 NHL career
* Dan Girardi: 7 points from 100 NHL career
* Alex Frolov: 8 points from 400 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
* Michael Del Zotto: 100th career NHL game (11/19 at COL)
* Dan Girardi: 300th career NHL game (11/19 at COL)
* John Tortorella: 300th career NHL win (11/20 at MIN)
* Ruslan Fedotenko: 700th career NHL game (11/24 at TBL)
* Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 23
* Chris Drury (IR – fractured finger on Oct. 15, 6 weeks) – 20
* Michal Rozsival (shoulder strain, 7-10 days) – 8
Total Man-Games Lost: 70
* Nov. 23: Acquired defenseman Stu Bickel from Anaheim in exchange for defenseman Nigel Williams