Matinee at the Arena That Changes Names Every Five Minutes. Big game in this regard: If the Rangers can win this and get out of a week of Washington-Pitt-Phoenix-Philly 4-0, or even 3-0-1, that’s a really spectacular roll into a bit of a break.
The Flys are good, though. Really good, even if they lost Chris Pronger for a while with a foot injury. Jody Shelley returns from his suspension. Dale Weise hopes to make his NHL debut for the Rangers. He was recalled after a Ryan Callahan injury last season, but Callahan played that night.
Here are the pre-game notes from the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
Saturday, Dec. 18, 1:00 p.m.
Wells Fargo Center • Philadelphia, PA
Rangers: 20-13-1 (41 pts)
Flyers: 21-7-5 (47 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Dec. 16
The Rangers will face-off against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center (1:00 p.m.). The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and fifth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 20-13-1 (41 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-3, in a shootout at Madison Square Garden to extend their winning streak to three games, and are now 13-6-0 in their last 19 games. New York has won five of their last six games on the road. The Flyers enter the contest with a 21-7-5 (47 pts) record to rank first in the Eastern Conference, and have won each of their last four games. Following the contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, Dec. 23, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.).
- TV: MSG Network
12:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
1:00 p.m. – Rangers at Flyers
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
- Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
12:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bob Galerstein
1:00 p.m. – Rangers at Flyers
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. FLYERS:
- All-Time: The Rangers are 108-104-37-7 all-time against the Flyers: 56-45-23-4 at home and 52-59-14-3 on the road
- 2010-11: Tonight’s contest marks the second of six meetings between the Rangers and Flyers this season, and the second of three games in Philadelphia. New York is 0-1-0 vs. the Flyers thus far, following a 4-1 loss at Philadelphia on Nov. 4.
- Last Season: The Rangers were 3-2-1 against the Flyers in 2009-10, including a 1-1-1 mark in Philadelphia. Five of their six meetings were decided by two goals or less, including three that were decided by one goal.
- The Blueshirts rank first in the NHL on the road with a record of 12-5-0 (24 pts) in 17 games; the Flyers have posted a record of 11-5-2 (24 pts) at home to rank fifth in the league
- The Rangers have posted a record of 6-3-0 vs. Atlantic Division opponents; the Flyers are 8-1-1 vs. the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist has posted a record of 14-8-3 with a 2.84 goals against average and two shutouts in 27 career regular season games against the Flyers; Martin Biron is 9-6-2-0 with a 2.12 goals against average in 17 career regular season contests vs. Philadelphia
- Chris Drury has registered a team-high, 19 assists and 28 points in 39 career regular season games vs. the Flyers; Ruslan Fedotenko leads the Rangers with 13 goals in 33 career games against Philadelphia
- Dan Girardi has recorded more career assists/points (15 assists/points in 25 games) vs. the Flyers than any other team
- New York lists four former Flyers on their roster: Martin Biron (2006-07 – 2008-09); Steve Eminger (2008-09); Vinny Prospal (1996-97 – 1997-98, 2007-08); Todd White (1999-00)
- Philadelphia lists four former Rangers on their roster: Blair Betts (2005-06 – 2008-09); Ian Laperriere (1995-96); Jody Shelley (2009-10); Nikolay Zherdev (2008-09)
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-six rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which is tied for sixth in the league.
- Power Play: The Rangers notched one goal in five power play opportunities (8:05) on Thursday vs. the Coyotes, and have now registered a goal on the man advantage in seven of the last eight games (7-31, 22.6% over the span). New York ranks 15th in the NHL with a 17.5% (22-126) success rate, and ranks eighth on the road with a 20.7% (12-58) 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 surrendered two goals in four shorthanded situations (3:48) and notched one goal on Thursday vs. Phoenix, and are now 58-67 (86.6%) over the last 22 games. New York ranks 16th in the NHL with a 81.7% (98-120) success rate, and ranks 14th in the league on the road with a 81.8% (54-66) 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 (8): 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); 12/16 vs. PHX (Prust).
- Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in two, four-on-four situations (6:14) on Thursday vs. Phoenix, and are now plus-three in 26, four-on-four situations (45:22) 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).
IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
The Rangers have posted a record of 14-4-2 (30 pts) in their last 20 games at Philadelphia, dating back to a 3-1 win on Mar. 27, 2004. Henrik Lundqvist has registered a career 7-3-1 mark in Philadelphia.
New York enters today’s contest riding a three-game winning streak, having won each of their last two games despite trailing by a goal entering the third period. The last time the Rangers won consecutive games when trailing after two periods was during the 2008-09 season, on Nov. 15 vs. Boston (3-2) and Nov. 17 vs. Ottawa (2-1). Both games required the shootout. The Blueshirts have never won three consecutive games when trailing after the second period.
The Rangers registered their 20th win of the season with Thursday’s 4-3 shootout win vs. Phoenix, reaching the mark in just 34 games which is tied for 12th fastest in franchise history (full list below).
- 28 (1993-94)
- 29 (1971-72)
- 30 (1941-42)
- 31 (1939-40, 1970-71)
- 32 (2005-06)
- 33 (1938-39, 1972-73, 1991-92, 1995-96, 2008-09)
- 34 (1937-38, 2010-11)
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
Compared to last season, the Blueshirts have shown a five wins, eight points improvement (four wins, six points on the road), having tallied 10 more goals (including a five-goal improvement while shorthanded) while allowing 13 fewer goals against through 34 games:
20-13-1 (41 pts) overall 15-16-3 (33 pts) overall
12-5-0 (24 pts) away 8-7-2 (18 pts) away
104 goals 94 goals
8 shorthanded goals 3 shorthanded goals
87 goals against 100 goals against
The Rangers are off to their best start through 17 road games in franchise history, registering a league-high 12 wins and posting a 12-5-0 mark away from MSG this season. The Blueshirts rank among the NHL leaders in several road statistical categories, including first in shorthanded goals (five), third in goals (53), eighth in power play percentage (20.7%), and tied for seventh in power play goals (12). In addition, Henrik Lundqvist leads the NHL with 10 road wins, and Brandon Dubinsky is tied for eighth in the NHL with eight road goals and 14th in scoring with 15 road points.
The Rangers completed their ninth of 18 back-to-back sets with a 4-3 shootout win vs. Phoenix on Thursday. The Blueshirts improved to 9-0-0 (4-0-0 at home, 5-0-0 on the road) in the second game of back-to-backs this season, having out-scored their opponent, 31-9, in those games. Over the last two seasons, New York is 18-2-2 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including a 8-1-1 mark at MSG and 10-1-1 on the road over the span.
The Blueshirts have started games off strong this season, tallying the first goal of the game in 21 of their 34 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, 23-17, 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.
LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
The Rangers currently lead the NHL with 988 hits and 559 blocked shots. Ryan Callahan ranked second in the league with 128 hits and led all NHL forwards with 40 blocked shots prior to his injury on Dec. 15, while Dan Girardi currently leads the league with 100 blocked shots and Brian Boyle is tied for ninth in the NHL with 96 hits.
THE HOT LIST:
- The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (eight), are tied for third in wins (20), rank fourth in points (41), are tied for third in goals (104), and rank sixth with a plus-17 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
- Marc Staal enters the contest with a four-game scoring streak (two goals, three assists over the span), and has recorded 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the last 12 games
- Dan Girardi enters the contest with a three-game scoring streak, registering one goal and four assists over the span
- Marian Gaborik has tallied 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in his last 17 games
- Brandon Dubinsky has registered seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last eight games
- Brian Boyle has registered six points (two goals, four assists) in the last seven games
- Brandon Prust has tallied six points (four goals, two assists) in the last eight games, including three shorthanded points (two goals, one assist) over the span
- Michal Rozsival has recorded four assists in the last five contests
- Sean Avery has registered five assists in the last eight 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.
- Marian Gaborik: 1 game from 600 NHL career
- Dan Girardi: 1 point from 100 NHL career
- Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 34
- Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 4
- Ryan Callahan (broken hand on Dec. 15) – 1
Total Man-Games Lost: 101
- Dec. 17 – Recalled forward Dale Weise from Connecticut