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Posted By On December 9, 2010 @ 7:00 am In Hockey,New York Rangers | 106 Comments
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.
RANGERS vs. SENATORS:
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:
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.
Total Man-Games Lost: 87
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