Don’t forget that this is an early start, 5 p.m.
The Rangers play another home-and-home, only this one has three days off between games.
The slumping Senators played to a 0-0 tie against Buffalo last night. What’s that, there are no ties anymore? Oh, right Buffalo scored a goal in the skills competition.
Ottawa has not scored a goal in more than two games, 177 minutes, 30 seconds. The Senators have won just three of their last 12 and have been outscored 38-17. So, you know …
I’ll be headed to midtown this afternoon and we’ll have the full coverage right here.
Here are the pre-game notes, from the Rangers (stats do not reflect last night’s game):
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. OTTAWA SENATORS
Sunday, Dec. 5, 5:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
Rangers: 16-11-1 (33 pts)
Senators: 11-14-1 (23 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Dec. 3
The Rangers will begin a home-and-home set against the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden (5:00 p.m.). The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and fifth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 16-11-1 (33 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the New York Islanders, 2-0, on Friday at MSG, to complete their sweep of the home-and-home set against the Islanders. The last time the Rangers swept a back-to-back set against the Islanders was on Mar. 28, 2001 at MSG (4-2) and Mar. 29, 2001 at Nassau Coliseum (6-4). The Blueshirts are now 6-2-0 in their last eight games. The Senators currently rank 10th in the Eastern Conference a record of 11-14-1 (23 pts) heading into their contest last night vs. Buffalo, and have lost seven of their last nine games (2-7-0). Following the contest, the Rangers will conclude their home-and-home set against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, Dec. 9, at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m.), after a four-day break.
• TV: MSG Network
4:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig
5:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Senators
Broadcasters: John Giannone (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), Al Trautwig (In-Game Reporter)
• Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and MSG.com
4:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game with Don LaGreca
5:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Senators
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. SENATORS:
• All-Time: The Rangers are 30-32-3-1 all-time against the Senators: 14-19-0-0 at home and 16-13-3-1 on the road
• 2010-11: Tonight’s contest marks the first of four meetings between the Rangers and Senators this season, and the first of two meetings at Madison Square Garden
• Last Season: New York was 3-1-0 against the Senators in 2009-10, including a 1-1-0 mark at MSG. The Rangers’ penalty kill held the Senators scoreless in 13 power play opportunities in the season series.
• The Blueshirts rank 20th in the NHL at home with a record of 6-7-1 (13 pts) in 14 games; the Senators have posted a record of 4-7-1 (9 pts) on the road to rank27th in the league
• The Rangers have posted a record of 5-1-1 vs. Northeast Division opponents; the Senators are 1-3-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
• Henrik Lundqvist was 3-1-0 with a 1.23 goals against average and a .961 save percentage in four appearances vs. the Senators last season, and is 8-10-0 with a 1.97 goals against average and one shutout in 19 career regular season games against Ottawa; Martin Biron is 14-9-2-2 with a 2.79 goals against average and two shutouts in 30 career regular season contests vs. the Senators
• Brandon Dubinsky led the Rangers in scoring with four points and three goals in three games vs. the Senators last season, and Marian Gaborik tallied three points (one goal, two assists) in the season series
• Marian Gaborik has tallied five goals and six assists for 11 points in nine career regular season contests vs. the Senators
• New York lists two former Senators on their roster: Vinny Prospal (1997-98 – 2000-01); Todd White (2000-01 – 2003-04)
• Ottawa lists one former Ranger on their roster: Alex Kovalev (1992-93 – 1998-99, 2002-03 – 2003-04)
• Power Play: The Rangers notched one goal in five power play opportunities (9:42) on Friday vs. the Islanders, and have now tallied a power play goal in six of their last eight games (6-27, 22.2% over the span). New York ranks 14th in the NHL with a 16.7% (17-102) success rate, and is tied for 25th at home with a14.3% (8-56) 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 0-2 (2:23) with a four-on-three advantage this season. Shorthanded goals allowed (1): 11/20 at MIN (Cullen).
• Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Islanders scoreless in two shorthanded situations (3:51) on Friday at MSG, and are now 45-49 (91.8%) over the last 16 games. New York ranks 13th in the NHL with a 83.3% (85-102) success rate, and are 23rd in the league at home with a 82.2% (37-45) 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 two, four-on-four situations (0:51) on Friday vs. the Islanders, 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).
A NORTHEAST FEAST
The Rangers have posted a record of 5-1-1 (11 pts) in seven games vs. Northeast Division opponents this season, and are now 16-7-4 (36 pts) vs. the Northeast Division since the start of 2009-10 after posting an 11-6-3 (25 pts) mark against the Northeast Division in 20 games last season.
The Rangers completed their seventh of 18 back-to-back sets with a 2-0 win on Friday vs. the Islanders, improving to 7-0-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season having out-scored their opponent, 20-6, and are 2-0-0 when the second game is at home. Over the last two seasons, New York is 16-2-2 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including a 10-1-1 mark away from MSG over the span. The Blueshirts’ next back-to-back set is the weekend of Dec. 11 at Columbus – Dec. 12 vs. Washington.
The Blueshirts have started games off strong this season, tallying the first goal of the game in 19 of their 28 games and posting a record of 14-4-1 in those contests. The Rangers own a record of 9-1-1 when leading after the first period, having out-scored their opponent, 20-12, in the opening frame. Brandon Dubinsky leads the team with four, first period goals on the season, followed by Brian Boyle with three goals.
The Rangers have had 10 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 (11) by one, and is tied with Detroit (10), Montreal (10) and Tampa Bay (10) entering tonight’s action.
The Blueshirts currently lead the NHL with 460 blocked shots on the season, averaging a league-high, 16.4 blocked shots per contest. Dan Girardi leads the NHLwith 82 blocked shots, and Ryan Callahan leads all NHL forwards with 37 blocked shots.
A BROADWAY HIT
The Rangers currently rank first in the NHL with 831 hits on the season, and lead the league with an average of 29.7 hits per contest. Ryan Callahan currently rankssecond in the NHL with 111 hits.
THE HOT LIST:
• New York has won six of the last eight games and is now tied for fifth overall in the NHL in wins (16), ranks sixth in points (33) and is tied for sixth in goals(81)
• The Rangers lead the league with 10 victories on the road and rank third with 43 road goals
• The Blueshirts’ power play has tallied a goal in six of the last eight games (6-27, 22.2% over the span)
• The Rangers’ penalty kill has yielded just four goals in their last 16 games, registering a 91.8% success rate (45-49), and have notched four shorthanded goals over the span
• Marian Gaborik has tallied 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in his last 11 games
• Ryan Callahan has notched four points (three goals, one assist) in the last five games
• Derek Stepan has registered 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in the last 12 games
• Marc Staal has recorded five points (one goal, four assists) in the last six games
• Brandon Dubinsky has registered four assists in the last four games
• Erik Christensen has tallied three points (one goal, two assists) in the last five games
WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE
Blueshirts’ prospect Jesper Fasth has been invited to Sweden’s 31-player preliminary camp roster for the 2011 U-20 World Junior Championship. The Rangers’ sixth round selection, 157th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Fasth has registered 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in six SuperElit games with HV71 J20 this season. The 18-year old has also skated in 20 SEL games with HV71, tallying three points (two goals, one assist) in those contests.
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:
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
• Erik Christensen: 300th career NHL game (11/29 vs. PIT)
• Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 28
• Chris Drury (IR – fractured finger on Oct. 15, 6 weeks) – 25
Total Man-Games Lost: 85