Finally, a hockey game. It’s in Kanata, Ont., though, so a 7:30 start for the home-and-home rematch (and an almost certain meeting between Mr. Carkner and Mr. Boogaard).
No worries. MSG Network has some extra programming tonight. At 6:30, MSG will show the latest edition of “Behind the Bench” — the show with John Tortorella and Mike Keenan. In it is an “Open Mic” segment with the very talkative Martin Biron wearing a microphone during practice. That should be worth watching by itself. The fans’ Q&A segment features a question that should be interesting for these two hard-headed coaches: Is it important for players to like their coach?
The pre-game show through the post-game show will be filled with the annual telethon for Garden of Dreams Foundation, which has touched over 150,000 kids and their families in four years since its inception.
Here are tonight’s pre-game notes, from the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at OTTAWA SENATORS
Thursday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.
Scotiabank Place • Ottawa, ON
Rangers: 16-12-1 (33 pts)
Senators: 12-15-2 (26 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Dec. 7
The Rangers will complete their home-and-home set against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m.). The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 16-12-1 (33 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Senators, 3-1, on Sunday at MSG in the first game of the set, and are now 6-3-0 in their last nine games. The Senators enter the contest with a 12-15-2 (26 pts) record to rank 10th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost nine of their last 12 games (3-8-1). Following the contest, the Rangers will begin a back-to-back set when they face-off against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Nationwide Arena (7:00 p.m.), before returning to Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Dec. 12 (7:00 p.m.) to close out the set vs. the Washington Capitals.
- TV: MSG Network
7:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
7:30 p.m. – Rangers at Senators
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
- Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and MSG.com
7:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game with Don LaGreca
7:30 p.m. – Rangers at Senators
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. SENATORS:
- All-Time: The Rangers are 30-33-3-1 all-time against the Senators: 14-20-0-0 at home and 16-13-3-1 on the road
- 2010-11: Tonight’s contest marks the second of four meetings between the Rangers and Senators this season, and the first of two meetings at Scotiabank Place. The Blueshirts own a 0-1-0 record thus far, following a 3-1 loss on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
- Last Season: New York was 3-1-0 against the Senators in 2009-10, including a 2-0-0 mark at Ottawa. The Rangers’ penalty kill held the Senators scoreless in 13 power play opportunities in the season series.
- The Blueshirts rank second in the NHL on the road with a record of 10-4-0 (20 pts) in 14 games; the Senators have posted a record of 7-7-1 (15 pts) at home tying for 17th in the league
- The Rangers have posted a record of 5-2-1 vs. Northeast Division opponents; the Senators are 2-3-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist has posted a record of 8-11-0 with a 1.98 goals against average and one shutout in 20 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
- Marian Gaborik has tallied five goals and six assists for 11 points in 10 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 did not tally a goal in four power play opportunities (8:00) on Sunday vs. the Senators, and have now tallied a power play goal in six of their last nine games (6-31, 19.4% over the span). New York ranks 17th in the NHL with a 16.0% (17-106) success rate, and ranks sixth on the road with a 19.6% (9-46) 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 (2): 11/20 at MIN (Cullen); 12/5 vs. OTT (Kelly).
- Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Senators scoreless in one shorthanded situation (2:00) and notched one shorthanded goal on Sunday at MSG, and are now 46-50 (92.0%) over the last 17 games. New York ranks 10th in the NHL with a 83.5% (86-103) success rate, and are tied for seventh in the league on the road with a 84.2% (48-57) 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 (6): 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); 12/5 vs. OTT (Prust).
- Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation on Sunday vs. Ottawa, 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 Rangers’ penalty kill has allowed just four goals in their last 17 games, registering a 92.0% (46-50) success rate over the span, and have notched five shorthanded goals during the stretch. New York is currently tied for first in the NHL with six shorthanded goals.
The Rangers are tied for the league lead with 10 victories on the road, having posted a record of 10-4-0 in 14 games away from MSG this season. The Blueshirts rank among the league leaders in several road statistical categories, including first in shorthanded goals (five), sixth in power play percentage (19.6%), and tied for fourth in goals (44), seventh in penalty kill percentage (84.2%) and power play goals against (nine), and eighth in power play goals (nine).
A NORTHEAST FEAST
The Rangers have posted a record of 5-2-1 (11 pts) in eight games vs. Northeast Division opponents this season, and are now 16-8-4 (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 29 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 third most in the league. New York trails Tampa Bay (11) and Washington (11) by one, and is tied with Atlanta (10), Dallas (10), Detroit (10) and Montreal (10) entering tonight’s action.
The Blueshirts currently lead the NHL with 475 blocked shots on the season, averaging a league-high, 16.4 blocked shots per contest. Dan Girardi leads the NHL with 84 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 872 hits on the season, and lead the league with an average of 30.1 hits per contest. Ryan Callahan currently ranks second in the NHL with 117 hits.
THE HOT LIST:
- New York has won six of the last nine games and is now tied for sixth overall in the NHL in wins (16), seventh in points (33) and ranks ninth in goals (82)
- The Rangers’ penalty kill has yielded just four goals in their last 17 games, registering a 92.0% success rate (46-50), and have notched five shorthanded goals over the span
- Marian Gaborik has tallied 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in his last 12 games
- Ryan Callahan has notched four points (three goals, one assist) in the last six games
- Derek Stepan has registered 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in the last 13 games
- Marc Staal has recorded five points (one goal, four assists) in the last seven games
- Brandon Dubinsky has registered four assists in the last five games
WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP HOPEFULS
Blueshirts’ prospects Chris Kreider and Ryan Bourque have been invited to USA Hockey’s evaluation camp for the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York. This would be the second trip to the elite tournament for both Kreider and Bourque, if selected, having both represented the gold medal-winning Team USA at the 2010 World Junior Championship. Roman Horak has also been invited to attend the Czech Republic’s evaluation camp, while Jesper Fasth is on Team Sweden’s preliminary roster. If selected, this would be Horak’s second appearance at the World Junior Championship, having represented his native country in last year’s tournament. Fasth is looking to make his first appearance in the elite tournament.
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.
- Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 29
- Chris Drury (IR – fractured finger on Oct. 15, 6 weeks) – 26
Total Man-Games Lost: 87