… Though we wonder if the weather might cause a change in plans since roads are still a mess, businesses and events are closed and postponed, and even the Metro North Railroad service is suspended and suggesting that people stay home, if possible, today.
If not, Marian Gaborik is expected to return to the lineup, and Mats Zuccarello is expected to play, and Michael Del Zotto is expected to be prucha’d. We’ll see.
Here are the pre-game notes, from the Rangers (these notes do not include the Islanders’ win over Montreal last night, which leaves the Isles 4-0-1 in five, and a much better team than the one with which the Rangers struggled the first three times):
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Monday, Dec. 27, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden . New York, NY
Rangers: 20-14-2 (42 pts)
Islanders: 8-18-6 (22 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Dec. 25
The Rangers will face-off against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.). The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 20-14-2 (42 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3, in the shootout on Thursday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 13-7-1 in their last 21 games. New York has earned a point in seven of their last 10 games at MSG (6-3-1). The Islanders enter the contest with a 8-18-6 (22 pts) record to rank 14th in the Eastern Conference, and have earned a point in each of their last four games (3-0-1). Following the contest, the Rangers will begin a three-game road trip when they face-off against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at Prudential Center (7:00 p.m.).
* TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig and Pat LaFontaine
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Islanders
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 Show with Don LaGreca
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Islanders
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. ISLANDERS:
* All-Time: 110-97-19-5 overall (63-37-11-4 at home, 47-60-8-1 on the road)
* 2010-11: Tonight’s contest marks the fourth of six meetings this season, and the second at MSG. New York is 2-1-0 thus far, including a 1-0-0 mark at home following a 2-0 win at MSG on Dec. 3.
* Last Season: The Rangers were 3-2-1 overall and 1-1-1 at MSG. The Rangers’ power play converted at a 22.7% (5-22) success rate in the season series.
* The Blueshirts have notched four goals in 11 power play opportunities (36.4%) in three games vs. the Islanders this season
* The Rangers rank 22nd with a 8-8-2 (18 pts) record at home; the Islanders rank 29th with a 3-11-3 (9 pts) mark on the road
* The Rangers are 6-4-0 vs. the Atlantic Division; the Islanders are 3-5-1 against the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist is 19-9-5 with a 2.11 goals against average and three shutouts in 34 career games vs. the Islanders; Martin Biron is 20-4-1-0 with a 2.00 goals against average and two shutouts in 26 career contests vs. the Islanders
* Chris Drury leads the Rangers with 15 goals, 23 assists and 38 points in 40 career regular season contests vs. the Islanders
* Marian Gaborik (three goals, two assists) and Brandon Dubinsky (one goal, four assists) are tied for the team lead with five points vs. the Islanders in the season series; Gaborik’s three goals and Dubinsky’s four assists are both team-highs
* The Rangers list two former Islanders on their roster: Martin Biron (2009-10); Ruslan Fedotenko (2007-08)
* The Islanders list three former Rangers on their roster: Mike Mottau (2000-01 – 2001-02); P.A. Parenteau (2009-10); Doug Weight (1991-92 – 1992-93)
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-five rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which is tied for 10th in the league.
* Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in one power play opportunity (2:00) on Thursday vs. Tampa Bay, and have now registered a goal on the man advantage in seven of the last 10 games (7-36, 19.4% over the span). New York ranks 20th overall (22-131, 16.8%) and is tied for 26th at home (10-69, 14.5%). The Rangers are 1-5 (5:01) in five-on-three situations (last – 11/24 at TBL), and 0-2 (2:23) when four-on-three (last – 12/3 vs. NYI). Shorthanded goals allowed (2): 11/20 at MIN (Cullen); 12/5 vs. OTT (Kelly).
* Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Lightning scoreless in one shorthanded situation (2:00) on Thursday at MSG, and are now 62-72 (86.1%) over the last 24 games. New York is tied for 14th overall (102-125, 81.6%) and ranks 20th at home (45-55, 81.8%). The Rangers are 4-6 (5:08) in three-on-five situations (last – 10/30 at TOR), and 4-6 (2:41) when three-on-four (last – 11/15 at PIT). 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 one, four-on-four situation (5:00) on Thursday vs. Tampa Bay, and are now plus-three in 28, four-on-four situations (51:15). 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 Rangers registered their 20th win of the season with a 4-3 shootout win vs. Phoenix on Dec. 16, 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 three wins, five points improvement, having tallied nine more goals (including a five-goal improvement while shorthanded) while allowing seven fewer goals against through 36 games.
The Rangers completed their ninth of 18 back-to-back sets with a 4-3 shootout win vs. Phoenix on Dec. 16. 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 36 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, 25-19, in the opening frame.
The Rangers have had 12 different players credited with at least one game winning goal this season which is tied for second in the NHL, trailing Washington by one and tied with Atlanta.
LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
The Rangers currently lead the NHL with 1,038 hits and rank second with 586 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 104 blocked shots and Brian Boyle ranks 12th in the NHL with 102 hits.
THE HOT LIST:
* The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (eight), are tied for fifth in wins (20), 10th in points (42), rank 10th in goals (108), and are tied for seventh with a plus-13 goal differential
* Henrik Lundqvist is 7-4-1 with a 1.88 goals against average, a .931 save percentage and three shutouts in his last 12 games
* Derek Stepan enters the game with a three-game goal streak (three goals), and has registered 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in the last 20
* Alex Frolov has tallied five points (two goals, three assists) in the last five games
* Marc Staal has tallied 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the last 14 games, including five points (two goals, three assists) in the last six
* Dan Girardi has recorded five points (one goal, four assists) in the last five games
* Artem Anisimov has recorded four points (two goals, two assists) in the last five games
* Brandon Dubinsky has registered eight points (two goals, six assists) in the last 10 games
* Brian Boyle has recorded seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last nine games
WORLD JUNIOR ROSTERS SET
Rangers’ prospects Chris Kreider and Ryan Bourque will represent Team USA at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York. This will be their second trip to the elite tournament, having both represented the gold medal-winning Team USA at the 2010 World Junior Championship. Roman Horak (Czech Republic) and Jesper Fasth (Sweden) will also represent their native country in the tournament. This will be Horak’s second appearance at the World Junior Championship, having represented the Czech Republic in last year’s tournament, while Fasth will be making his first appearance in the tournament.
* Dan Girardi: 1 point from 100 NHL career
* Alex Frolov: 3 points from 400 NHL career
* Brandon Dubinsky: 8 assists from 100 NHL career
* Henrik Lundqvist: 9 wins from 200 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
* Marian Gaborik: 600th career NHL game (12/18 at PHI)
* Dale Weise: 1st career NHL game (12/18 at PHI)
* Mats Zuccarello: 1st career NHL game (12/23 vs. TBL)
* Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 36
* Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 6
* Ryan Callahan (broken hand on Dec. 15) – 3
* Marian Gaborik (groin strain) – 1
* Michael Del Zotto (flu) – 1
Total Man-Games Lost: 109
* Dec. 22 – Recalled forward Mats Zuccarello from Connecticut
* Dec. 23 – Assigned forward Mats Zuccarello to Connecticut