Now that the Penguins’ 12-game winning streak is over (they hadn’t lost since the Rangers beat them a month ago, until last night’s game in Philly) I wonder if the mustachioed noted slew-footer, Sid “The Skid” Crosby, on a 19-game point streak, goes to the razor.
There’s a fair amount of bad blood between the teams, with Brandon Dubinsky and Henrik Lundqvist having a running feud with The Skid, who performed his infamous slew-foot trick twice in the last meeting, once unpenalized vs. Ryan Callahan, once penalized against Sean Avery. And Avery was jumped by that clown Kennedy.
Plus, with the captain Chris Drury returning, who can forget last year’s incidents with that piece of carcillo Cooke (who faced that piece of cooke Carcillo last night).
Let’s not forget that the Rangers go into this game probably without Derek Boogaard, and that the Penguins — who forever cried how the NHL shouldn’t allow fighting or tough play — now lead the NHL in fighting majors. The Rangers are second in fighting majors, thanks to league-leader Brandon Prust (10), Boogaard (7) and Avery (6). Pitt’s heavy-fisted Deryk Engelland (9 fighting majors) has beaten up some of the baddest men in the league this year. These Penguins play a tough game, and with all their skill, it sure makes them a beast of the East.
Not that I want to promote the fisticuffs.
Anyway, here are tonight’s pre-game notes, from the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Wednesday, Dec. 15, 7:00 p.m.
CONSOL Energy Center • Pittsburgh, PA
Rangers: 18-13-1 (37 pts)
Penguins: 21-8-2 (44 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Dec. 13
The Rangers will begin their ninth back-to-back set against the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center (7:00 p.m.). The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and sixth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 18-13-1 (37 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Washington Capitals, 7-0, on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 8-4-0 in their last 12 games. The Penguins currently rank first in the Eastern Conference with a 21-8-2 (44 pts) record entering their contest last night at Philadelphia, and have won each of their last 12 games. Pittsburgh’s last previous loss was a 3-2 overtime defeat to the Rangers on Nov. 15. Following the contest, the Rangers will conclude their back-to-back set when they face-off against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday, Dec. 16, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.).
TV: MSG 2
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Mike Keenan
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Penguins
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
- Radio: 970 The Apple and newyorkrangers.com
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game with Don LaGreca
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Penguins
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. PENGUINS:
- All-Time: The Rangers are 112-97-23-7 all-time against the Penguins: 63-46-9-2 at home and 49-51-14-5 on the road
- 2010-11: Tonight’s contest marks the third of six meetings between the Rangers and Penguins this season, and the second of three meetings at CONSOL Energy Center. New York owns a 1-1-0 record vs. Pittsburgh thus far, following a 3-1 defeat at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 29, and are 1-0-0 at Pittsburgh.
- Last Season: The Rangers were 1-4-1 against the Penguins in 2009-10, including a 1-2-0 mark in Pittsburgh. Four of their six meetings were decided by two goals or less, including two that required overtime.
- The Blueshirts rank second in the NHL on the road with a record of 11-5-0 (22 pts) in 16 games; the Penguins have posted a record of 10-5-1 (21 pts) at home to rank eighth in the league
- The Rangers have posted a record of 5-3-0 vs. Atlantic Division opponents; the Penguins are 5-2-1 vs. the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist is 1-1-0 with a 2.46 goals against average and .924 save percentage in two starts vs. Pittsburgh this season, and is now 17-13-4 with a 2.43 goals against average and two shutouts in 34 career regular season games against the Penguins
- Ryan Callahan (one goal, one assist) and Brandon Dubinsky (two assists) have registered a team-high, two points in two games vs. the Penguins in the season series
- Chris Drury has registered a team-high, 13 goals and 21 assists for 34 points in 39 career regular season games vs. Pittsburgh; Michal Rozsival has recorded 17 assists and 25 points in 36 career regular season contests against the Penguins
- New York lists three former Penguins on their roster: Ruslan Fedotenko (2008-09 – 2009-10); Erik Christensen (2005-06 – 2007-08); Michal Rozsival (1999-00 – 2002-03)
- Pittsburgh lists one former Ranger on their roster: Pascal Dupuis (2006-07)
- Power Play: The Rangers notched one goal in three power play opportunities (5:54) on Sunday vs. the Capitals, and have now tallied a power play goal in nine of their last 12 games (9-43, 20.9% over the span). New York ranks 15th in the NHL with a 17.0% (20-118) success rate, and is tied for seventh on the road with a 20.0% (11-55) 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 Capitals scoreless in four shorthanded situations (6:35) and notched one shorthanded goal on Sunday at MSG, and are now 53-60 (88.3%) over the last 20 games. New York ranks 16th in the NHL with a 82.3% (93-113) success rate, and rank 15th in the league on the road with a 81.0% (51-63) 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 (7): 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); 12/12 vs. WSH (Staal).
- Four-on-Four: New York notched one goal in one, four-on-four situation (2:00) on Sunday vs. Washington, and are now plus-three in 24, four-on-four situations (39:08) this season. Four-on-four goals for (4): 10/18 vs. COL (Frolov); 11/11 vs. BUF (Anisimov); 11/15 at PIT (Callahan); 12/12 vs. WSH (Callahan). Four-on-four goals allowed (1): 10/15 vs. TOR (Kessel).
The Blueshirts are currently 4-4-0 in the first game of back-to-backs, and are 3-4-0 when the first game of the set is on the road following a 3-1 loss on Saturday at Columbus. New York has posted a record of 8-0-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season following a 7-0 win on Sunday vs. the Capitals, having out-scored their opponent, 27-6 in those games, and are 3-0-0 when the second game is at home. Over the last two seasons, New York is 17-2-2 in the second game of back-to-back sets, including a 7-1-1 mark at MSG over the span.
The Blueshirts have started games off strong this season, tallying the first goal of the game in 21 of their 32 games and posting a record of 15-5-1 in those contests. The Rangers own a record of 10-1-1 when leading after the first period, having out-scored their opponent, 22-14, in the opening frame.
The Rangers have had 12 different players credited with at least one game winning goal this season, which leads the NHL, and are one ahead of Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Washington.
A BROADWAY HIT
The Rangers currently rank first in the NHL with 945 hits on the season, and lead the league with an average of 29.5 hits per contest. Ryan Callahancurrently ranks second in the NHL with 128 hits.
The Blueshirts currently rank second in the NHL with 520 blocked shots on the season, averaging 16.3 blocked shots per contest to rank third in the league. Dan Girardi leads the NHL with 89 blocked shots, and Ryan Callahan leads all NHL forwards with 39 blocked shots.
THE HOT LIST:
- The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (seven), are tied for fourth in wins (18) and fourth in road wins (11), seventh in points (37), and rank eighth in goals (95), fifth in road goals (49) and seventh with a plus-13 goal differential
- Henrik Lundqvist is 6-3-0 with a 1.64 goals against average, a .937 save percentage and three shutouts in his last nine games
- Marian Gaborik has tallied 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in his last 15 games
- Brandon Dubinsky enters the contest with a three-game scoring streak (two goals, two assists) and has registered seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last six games
- Marc Staal has recorded eight points (three goals, five assists) in the last 10 games and three in the last two
- Brandon Prust has tallied five points (three goals, two assists) in the last six games
- Brian Boyle has registered four points (one goal, three assists) in the last five games
- Michal Rozsival has recorded three assists in the last three contests
- Dan Girardi has registered three assists in the last four games
- Sean Avery has tallied four assists in the last six 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) – 32
- Chris Drury (IR – fractured finger on Oct. 15, 6 weeks) – 29
- Derek Boogaard (injured on Dec. 9) – 2
Total Man-Games Lost: 96