Here it is. Another test. This one of a completely different variety than Monday’s. That was a barometer game, against a very good team on an absolute roll. The Rangers failed that one, because they lost.
This is a new sort of test. Two games against a rival (you can’t really call them arch-rivals anymore, can you?) that’s really pretty bad. And one that beat you earlier in the season. Maybe your worst loss of the season, actually.
So how do you respond? And can anything but a sweep a passing grade?
Derek Boogaard is expected back — remember last time, the Islanders wanted no part of him, and there was also that near fracas during warmups. Matt Gilroy and Todd White are the likely pruchas. Sean Avery played on the No. 1 line with Erik Christensen and Marian Gaborik yesterday; Derek Stepan centered Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan, and Artem Anisimov dropped down to the fourth line (where he excelled last season, but which should just be an attempt at jump-starting him this year).
Here are the pre-series notes, from the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Thursday, Dec. 2, 7:00 p.m.
Nassau Coliseum • Uniondale, NY
Friday, Dec. 3, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
Rangers: 14-11-1 (29 pts)
Islanders: 5-12-5 (15 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Nov. 30
The Rangers will begin a home-and-home set against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum (7:00 p.m.), in their seventh back-to-back set this season. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 14-11-1 (29 pts). The Rangers enter thecontest having been defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-1, on Monday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 4-2-0 in their last six games. The Islanders enter the contest with a 5-12-5 (15 pts) record to rank 15th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost 14 of their last 15 games (1-11-3). The Rangers will conclude their home-and-home set against the New York Islanders on Friday, Dec. 3, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.).
TV (Thursday, Dec. 2): MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Brian Leetch
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Islanders
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), Al Trautwig and John Giannone (In-Game Reporters).
Radio (Thursday, Dec. 2): 1050 ESPN Radio and MSG.com
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game with Don LaGreca
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Islanders
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst).
TV (Friday, Dec. 3): MSG Plus
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig and Pat LaFontaine
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Islanders
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone and Pat LaFontaine (In-Game Reporters).
Radio (Friday, Dec. 3): 970 The Apple and MSG.com
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game with Don LaGreca
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Islanders
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
* All times are eastern standard time
RANGERS vs. ISLANDERS:
- · All-Time: The Rangers are 108-97-19-5 all-time against the Islanders: 62-37-11-4 at home and 46-60-8-1 on the road
- · 2010-11: Tonight’s contest marks the second of six meetings between the Rangers and Islanders this season, and the second of three meetings at Nassau Coliseum. The Rangers own a 0-1-0 record thus far, following a 6-4 loss on Oct. 11 at Long Island.
- · Last Season: New York was 3-2-1 against the Islanders in 2009-10, including a 2-1-0 mark at Nassau Coliseum. The Rangers’ power play converted at a 22.7% success rate in the season series, registering five goals in 22 opportunities.
- ·The Rangers’ power play has notched two goals in four opportunities (50.0%) vs. the Islanders in the season series
- · The Blueshirts rank second in the NHL on the road with a record of 9-4-0 (18 pts) in 13 games; the Islanders have posted a record of 3-4-2 (8 pts) at home to rank 29th in the league
- · The Rangers have posted a record of 3-3-0 vs. Atlantic Division opponents; the Islanders are 2-2-1 vs. the Atlantic Division
- · Henrik Lundqvist is 0-1-0 with a 5.08 goals against average in one contest vs. the Islanders this season, and is now 17-9-5 with a 2.15 goals against average and two shutouts in 32 career regular season games against the Islanders; Martin Biron is 20-4-1-0 with a 1.93 goals against average and two shutouts in 25 career regular season contests vs. the Islanders
- · Three Rangers recorded multi-point efforts on Oct. 11 at Long Island, with Artem Anisimov, Michael Del Zotto and Brandon Dubinsky each registering one goal and one assist in their only meeting this season
- · Michal Rozsival has tallied a team-high, 18 assists and 21 points in 51 career regular season contests vs. the Islanders; Marian Gaborik has registered 17 points in 16 career regular season games vs. the Islanders, including a team-leading, eight goals
- · New York lists two former Islanders on their roster: Martin Biron (2009-10); Ruslan Fedotenko (2007-08)
- · The Islanders list three former Rangers on their roster: Mike Mottau (2000-01 – 2001-02); P.A. Parenteau (2009-10); Doug Weight (1991-92 – 1992-93)
- Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in three power play opportunities (6:00) on Monday vs. Pittsburgh, and have now tallied a power play goal in four of their last six games (4-20, 20.0% over the span). New York is tied for 17th in the NHL with a 15.8% (15-95) success rate, and ranks 12th on the road with a 18.2% (8-44) success rate. The Rangers notched one goal in one, five-on-three chance (0:30) on Nov. 24 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 held the Penguins scoreless in one shorthanded situation (2:00) on Monday vs. Pittsburgh, and are now 42-46 (91.3%) over the last 14 games. New York is tied for 14th in the NHL with a 82.8% (82-99) success rate, and are tied for 10th in the league on the road with a 83.9% (47-56) 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 (5): 10/9 at BUF (Dubinsky); 11/5 at NJD (Dubinsky); 11/15 at PIT (Staal); 11/24 at TBL (Boyle); 11/26 at FLA (Prust).
- Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in one, four-on-four situation (2:00) on Monday vs. Pittsburgh, and are now plus-two in 23, four-on-four situations (37:08) 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 17 of their 26 games and posting a record of 12-4-1 in those contests. The Rangers own a record of 8-1-1 when leading after the first period, having out-scored their opponent, 18-11, in the opening frame. Brandon Dubinsky leads the team with four, first period goals on the season, followed by Brian Boyle with three goals.
Tomorrow’s contest will begin the Rangers’ seventh of 18 back-to-back sets this season. The Blueshirts are currently 3-3-0 in the first game of back-to-backs, and are 2-3-0 when the first game of the set is on the road following a 3-0 win on Friday at Florida. New York has posted a record of 6-0-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season following a 2-1 shootout win on Saturday at Nashville, having out-scored their opponent, 18-6, and are 1-0-0 when the second game is at home. Over the last two seasons, New York is 15-2-2 in the second game of back-to-back sets, including a 5-1-1 mark at MSG over the span.
The Rangers have had nine different players credited with at least one game winning goal this season, which is tied for fourth most in the league. New York trails Detroit (10), Tampa Bay (10) and Washington (10) by one, and is tied with Montreal entering tonight’s action.
The Blueshirts currently lead the NHL with 433 blocked shots on the season, averaging a league-high, 16.7 blocked shots per contest. Dan Girardi leads the NHL with 77 blocked shots, and Ryan Callahan leads all NHL forwards with 35 blocked shots.
A BROADWAY HIT
The Rangers currently rank first in the NHL with 776 hits on the season, and lead the league with an average of 29.8 hits per contest. Ryan Callahan currently ranks second in the NHL with 102 hits.
THE HOT LIST:
- New York has won four of the last six games and is now tied for sixth overall in the NHL in wins (14), eighth in points (29) and ranks ninth in goals (73)
- The Rangers are tied for first in the league with nine victories on the road and are tied for fourth with 37 road goals
- The Blueshirts’ power play has tallied a goal in four of the last six games (4-20, 20.0% over the span)
- The Rangers’ penalty kill has yielded just four goals in their last 14 games, registering a 91.3% success rate (42-46), and have notched four shorthanded goals over the span
- Marian Gaborik has tallied nine points (five goals, four assists) in his last nine games
- Derek Stepan has registered nine points (three goals, six assists) in the last 10 games
- Marc Staal has recorded three assists in the last four games
- Michael Del Zotto has registered three points (one goal, two assists) in the last six games
- Brandon Prust has recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in the last six games, including two shorthanded points (one goal, one assist) over the span
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.
JOHN TORTORELLA REACHES 300 WINS
With a 5-2 win on Nov. 20 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 303-276-37-52 in 668 regular season games over 11 seasons with the Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning, and is tied for 11th among active NHL head coaches on the NHL’s all-time wins list and ranks first among U.S.-born coaches with 303 career victories.
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
- Dan Girardi: 7 points from 100 NHL career
- Alex Frolov: 8 points from 400 NHL career
- Marian Gaborik: 9 games from 600 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
- Ruslan Fedotenko: 700th career NHL game (11/24 at TBL)
- Erik Christensen: 300th career NHL game (11/29 vs. PIT)
- Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 26
- Chris Drury (IR – fractured finger on Oct. 15, 6 weeks) – 23
- Derek Boogaard (shoulder strain) – 3
Total Man-Games Lost: 81
- Nov. 23: Acquired defenseman Stu Bickel from Anaheim in exchange for defenseman Nigel Williams