The Road Warriors, with 11 road wins this season, are back at it in Columbus.
They’ll have to go without Derek Boogaard (shoulder) and probably Steve Eminger (back). Which means every other healthy body will be in the lineup, including Michael Del Zotto and Todd White, who were prucha’d Thursday.
I’ve got three hoops games today. Hope to be back at RR HQ by puck drop.
Here are the pre-game notes from the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Saturday, Dec. 11, 7:00 p.m.
Nationwide Arena • Columbus, OH
Rangers: 17-12-1 (35 pts)
Blue Jackets: 15-11-1 (31 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Dec. 9
The Rangers will begin their eighth back-to-back set of the season against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena (7:00 p.m.). The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and sixth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 17-12-1 (35 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Senators, 5-3, on Thursday at Ottawa to split their home-and-home set (1-1-0), and are now 7-3-0 in their last 10 games. The Blue Jackets enter the contest with a 15-11-1 (31 pts) record to rank 11th in the Western Conference, and have lost six of their last seven games (1-5-1). Following the contest, the Rangers will conclude their back-to-back set when they face-off against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, Dec. 12, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.).
- TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Blue Jackets
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
- Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game with Don LaGreca
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Blue Jackets
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. BLUE JACKETS:
- All-Time: The Rangers are 4-5-1-0 all-time against the Blue Jackets: 2-1-1-0 at home and 6-2-4-0 on the road
- 2010-11: Tonight’s contest marks the first and only meeting between the Rangers and Blue Jackets this season
- Last Season: New York was 1-0-0 against Columbus in 2009-10, following a 7-4 win on Nov. 23 at Madison Square Garden
- The Blueshirts rank first in the NHL on the road with a record of 11-4-0 (22 pts) in 15 games; the Blue Jackets have posted a record of 7-7-1 (15 pts) at home to rank 19th in the league
- The Rangers have posted a record of 2-1-0 vs. Central Division opponents; the Blue Jackets are 2-1-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist is 2-1-0 with a 2.68 goals against average in three career regular season games against the Blue Jackets, following a 26-save performance in a 7-4 win last season on Nov. 23; Martin Biron is 1-2-1-0 with a 1.73 goals against average and one shutout in four career regular season contests vs. Columbus
- Marian Gaborik led New York with four points (two goals, two assists) in one game vs. Columbus last season, while Artem Anisimov registered three points (one goal, two assists) in the contest
- Marian Gaborik has registered a team-high, 13 goals and 22 points in 23 career regular season games vs. the Blue Jackets; Alex Frolov leads the team with 12 assists in 27 career regular season games vs. Columbus
- New York lists no former Blue Jackets on their roster
- Columbus lists one former Ranger on their roster: Fedor Tyutin (2003-04 – 2007-08)
- Power Play: The Rangers notched one goal in four power play opportunities (7:55) on Thursday at Ottawa, and have now tallied a power play goal in seven of their last 10 games (7-35, 20.0% over the span). New York ranks 16th in the NHL with a 16.4% (18-110) success rate, and ranks sixth on the road with a 20.0% (10-50) 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 yielded two goals to the Senators in four shorthanded situations (6:19) on Thursday at Ottawa, and are now 48-54 (88.9%) over the last 18 games. New York ranks 16th in the NHL with a 82.2% (88-107) success rate, and rank 15th in the league on the road with a 82.0% (50-61) 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 Thursday at 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 six goals in their last 18 games, registering a 88.9% (48-54) 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 lead the league with 11 victories on the road, having posted a record of 11-4-0 in 15 games away from MSG this season. The Blueshirts rank among the league leaders in several road statistical categories, including first in shorthanded goals (five), tied for first in goals (49), sixth in power play percentage (20.0%), and tied for sixth in power play goals (10). In addition, Henrik Lundqvist is tied for the league lead with nine road wins, and Brandon Dubinsky is tied for seventh in the NHL with eight road goals and 14th in scoring with 14 road points.
Tomorrow’s contest will begin the Rangers’ eighth of 18 back-to-back sets this season. The Blueshirts are currently 4-3-0 in the first game of back-to-backs, and are 3-3-0 when the first game of the set is on the road following a 6-5 win on Dec. 2 at Long Island. New York has posted a record of 7-0-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season following a 2-0 win on Dec. 3 vs. the Islanders, 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 second game of back-to-back sets, including a 6-1-1 mark at MSG over the span.
The Blueshirts have started games off strong this season, tallying the first goal of the game in 19 of their 30 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, 21-13, in the opening frame. Brandon Dubinsky leads the team with four, first period goals, followed by Brian Boyle with three goals.
The Rangers have had 11 different players credited with at least one game winning goal this season, which is tied with Tampa Bay and Washington for the most in the NHL.
The Blueshirts currently rank second in the NHL with 495 blocked shots on the season, averaging 16.5 blocked shots per contest to rank second in the league. Dan Girardi leads the NHL with 86 blocked shots, and Ryan Callahan leads all NHL forwards with 39 blocked shots.
A BROADWAY HIT
The Rangers currently rank first in the NHL with 898 hits on the season, and lead the league with an average of 29.9 hits per contest. Ryan Callahan currently ranks second in the NHL with 117 hits.
THE HOT LIST:
- New York has won seven of their last 10 games and is now tied for fifth overall in the NHL in wins (17), sixth in points (35) and seventh in goals (87)
- Henrik Lundqvist is 5-2-0 with a 1.67 goals against average, a .938 save percentage and two shutouts in his last seven games
- Marian Gaborik has tallied 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in his last 13 games
- Derek Stepan has registered 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in the last 14 games
- Marc Staal has recorded five points (one goal, four assists) in the last eight games
- Brandon Dubinsky has registered five points (one goal, four assists) in the last six games
- Sean Avery has tallied four assists in the last four 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) – 30
- Chris Drury (IR – fractured finger on Oct. 15, 6 weeks) – 27
Total Man-Games Lost: 89