I’m headed to MSG.
Here are tonight’s pre-game notes, from the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PHOENIX COYOTES
Thursday, Dec. 16, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
Rangers: 19-13-1 (39 pts)
Coyotes: 14-9-6 (34 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Dec. 15
The Rangers will conclude their ninth back-to-back set against the Phoenix Coyotes at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.). The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and fifth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 19-13-1 (39 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-1, last night at CONSOL Energy Center to record their first regulation win in Pittsburgh since Jan. 19, 2006 (4-2). New York is now 12-6-0 in their last 18 games, and have won five of their last six on the road. The Coyotes enter the contest with a 14-9-6 (34 pts) record to rank 11th in the Western Conference, and have lost five of their last eight games (3-4-1). Following the contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, Dec. 18, at Wells Fargo Center (1:00 p.m.).
* TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig and Mike Keenan
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Coyotes
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), Al Trautwig, John Giannone and Mike Keenan (In-Game Reporters)
* Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game with Don LaGreca
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Coyotes
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. COYOTES:
* All-Time: The Rangers are 35-24-6-0 all-time against the Coyotes: 20-10-2-0 at home and 15-14-4-0 on the road
* 2010-11: Tonight’s contest marks the first and only meeting between the Rangers and Coyotes this season
* Last Season: New York was 1-1-0 against the Phoenix in 2009-10, including a 1-0-0 mark at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers out-scored the Coyotes in the third period, 3-0, in the season series.
* The Blueshirts rank 24th in the NHL at home with a record of 7-8-1 (15 pts) in 16 games; the Coyotes have posted a record of 8-5-2 (18 pts) on the road to rank ninth in the league
* The Rangers have not faced a Pacific Division opponent yet this season; the Coyotes are 0-1-1 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist has posted a record of 3-0-0 with a 2.00 goals against average in three career regular season games against the Coyotes; Martin Biron is 3-4-0-1 with a 2.38 goals against average and one shutout in nine career regular season contests vs. Phoenix
* Alex Frolov has tallied a team-high, 21 goals, 14 assists and 35 points in 43 career regular season contests vs. the Coyotes; Marian Gaborik has registered 18 goals and 26 points in 26 career regular season games vs. Phoenix, including a team-high, three goals and four points in two games last season
* New York lists one former Coyote on their roster: Brandon Prust (2009-10)
* Phoenix lists three former Rangers on their roster: Lauri Korpikoski (2008-09); Derek Morris (2008-09); Jason LaBarbera (2000-01 – 2003-04)
* Power Play: The Rangers notched one goal in three power play opportunities (4:20) last night at Pittsburgh, and have now registered a goal on the man advantage in six of the last seven games (6-26, 23.1% over the span). New York ranks 14th in the NHL with a 17.4% (21-121) success rate, and ranks 25th at home with a 14.3% (9-63) 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 Penguins scoreless in three shorthanded situations (6:00) last night at Pittsburgh, and are now 56-63 (88.9%) over the last 21 games. New York ranks 13th in the NHL with a 82.8% (96-116) success rate, and ranks 15th in the league at home with a 84.0% (42-50) 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 did not skate in a four-on-four situation last night at Pittsburgh, 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).
Tonight’s contest will conclude the Rangers’ ninth of 18 back-to-back sets this season. 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 33 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, 22-15, 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 967 hits on the season, and lead the league with an average of 29.3 hits per contest. Ryan Callahan currently ranks second in the NHL with 128 hits.
The Blueshirts currently rank second in the NHL with 542 blocked shots on the season, averaging 16.4 blocked shots per contest to rank second in the league. Dan Girardi leads the NHL with 93 blocked shots, and Ryan Callahan leads all NHL forwards with 40 blocked shots.
THE HOT LIST:
* The Rangers lead the league in road wins (12) and shorthanded goals (seven), rank third in road goals (53), fourth in wins (19), fifth in points (39), are tied for sixth in goals (99), and rank sixth with a plus-16 goal differential
* Henrik Lundqvist is 7-3-0 with a 1.58 goals against average, a .940 save percentage and three shutouts in his last 10 games
* Marian Gaborik has tallied 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in his last 16 games
* Marc Staal enters the contest with a three-game scoring streak (two goals, two assists over the span), and has recorded nine points (three goals, six assists) in the last 11 games
* Brandon Dubinsky has registered seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last seven games
* Brian Boyle has registered six points (two goals, four assists) in the last six games
* Brandon Prust has tallied five points (three goals, two assists) in the last seven games
* Michal Rozsival has recorded four assists in the last four contests
* Dan Girardi 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.
* Marian Gaborik: 2 games from 600 NHL career
* Dan Girardi: 3 points from 100 NHL career
* Alex Frolov: 5 points from 400 NHL career
* Brandon Dubinsky: 9 assists from 100 NHL career
* Henrik Lundqvist: 9 wins from 200 NHL career
* Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 33
* Derek Boogaard (injured on Dec. 9) – 3
* Ryan Callahan (broken hand on Dec. 15)
Total Man-Games Lost: 98