Final game of 2010, and the first in a stretch of three in a row and five of six on the road.
Here are tonight’s pre-game notes, from the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Wednesday, Dec. 29, 7:00 p.m.
Prudential Center • Newark, NJ
Rangers: 21-14-2 (44 pts)
Devils: 9-24-2 (20 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Dec. 27
The Rangers will begin a three-game road trip when they face-off against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential 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 21-14-2 (44 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the New York Islanders, 7-2, on Monday at Madison Square Garden to improve to 14-7-1 in their last 22 games, and have earned a point in eight of their last 11 games at MSG (7-3-1). The Devils enter the contest with a 9-24-2 (20 pts) record to rank 15th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost nine of their last 10 games including each of their last five. Following the contest, the Rangers will continue their three-game road trip when they face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, Jan. 1, at St. Pete Times Forum (7:30 p.m.), in the first game of a back-to-back set.
- TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Devils
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 at Devils
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. DEVILS:
- All-Time: 96-80-27-5 overall (53-28-20-2 at home, 43-52-7-3 on the road)
- 2010-11: Tonight is the third of six meetings this season, and the second at Prudential Center. New York is 2-0-0 thus far, including a 1-0-0 mark on the road following a 3-0 win at New Jersey on Nov. 5.
- Last Season: New York was 3-2-1 overall and 2-1-0 on the road. Five of their six meetings were decided by two goals or less, including three that were decided by one goal and two that required the shootout.
- The Rangers rank third with a 12-6-0 (24 pts) record on the road; the Devils rank 30th with a 5-10-2 (12 pts) mark at home
- The Rangers are 7-4-0 vs. the Atlantic Division; the Devils are 1-7-0 against the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist is 20-7-5 with a 1.83 goals against average and five shutouts in 32 career games vs. the Devils; Martin Biron is 8-15-2-2 with a 3.20 goals against average and two shutouts in 29 career contests vs. the Devils
- Chris Drury leads the Rangers with 13 goals, 13 assists and 26 points in 39 career regular season contests vs. the Devils
- New York lists no former Devils on their roster
- New Jersey lists no former Rangers on their roster
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-seven rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which is tied for eighth in the league.
- Power Play: The Rangers tallied two goals in four power play opportunities (5:57) on Monday vs. the Islanders, and have now registered a goal in eight of the last 11 games (9-40, 22.5% over the span). New York ranks 14th overall (24-135, 17.8%) and 11th on the road (12-62, 19.4%). 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 Islanders scoreless in two shorthanded situations (4:00) on Monday at MSG, and are now 64-74 (86.5%) over the last 25 games. New York ranks 13th overall (104-127, 81.9%) and is tied for 13th on the road (57-70, 81.4%). 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 skate in a four-on-four situation on Monday vs. the Islanders, 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 own a record of 15-5-2 vs. the Devils since the start of the 2007-08 season, including a 7-3-1 mark at New Jersey during the stretch, dating back to a 2-0 win on Oct. 25, 2007. Henrik Lundqvist, who has started in each of the Rangers’ last 27 meetings with the Devils, has registered a 2.08 goals against average, .927 save percentage and five shutouts in the 22-game stretch.
Henrik Lundqvist has faced-off against Martin Brodeur in 27 career regular season contests, posting a record of 18-4-5 with a 1.72 goals against average, .938 save percentage and four shutouts over the span.
The Blueshirts were credited with a season-high, 52 shots in their 7-2 win vs. the Islanders on Monday, their most since they registered 57 shots vs. the Islanders on Mar. 5, 2007 (2-1 win). The Rangers tied their season-high for most shots in a period with 18 in each of the first two periods, and their 36 shots through two periods is the most since recording 37 shots through two vs. Washington on Oct. 12, 2007 (20 in the first, 17 in the second in a 3-1 win). The Blueshirts’ 32-shot advantage over the Islanders on Monday (52-20) is tied for the second largest in the NHL this season, behind St. Louis’ 39-shot advantage over Anaheim on Oct. 11 (53-14).
Thursday’s shootout vs. Tampa Bay lasted 11 rounds, which is tied for the sixth longest in NHL history and longest since Mar. 27, 2010 (Detroit defeated Nashville in 11 rounds). The 11-round shootout is the third longest in Rangers history behind their NHL record 15-round shootout on Nov. 26, 2005 vs. Washington (3-2, 4-3 in the shootout) and a 13-round shootout at Philadelphia on Oct. 7, 2006 (5-4, 1-0 in the shootout), which stands as the longest one-goal shootout in NHL history. Henrik Lundqvist was in net for all three contests, posting a 2-1 record and stopping a combined 34 of 39 shots for a .872 save percentage.
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 12 more goals (including a four-goal improvement while shorthanded) while allowing six fewer goals against through 37 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 22 of their 37 games and posting a record of 16-5-1 in those contests. The Rangers own a record of 10-1-1 when leading after the first period, having out-scored their opponent, 27-21, in the opening frame.
The Rangers have had 13 different players credited with at least one game winning goal this season which is tied with Washington for the most in the NHL.
LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
The Rangers currently lead the NHL with 1,058 hits and rank second with 599 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 106 blocked shots and Brian Boyle ranks 12th in the NHL with 104 hits.
THE HOT LIST:
- The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (eight), are tied for fifth in wins (21), ninth in points (44), seventh in goals (115), and rank seventh with a plus-18 goal differential
- Henrik Lundqvist is 8-4-1 with a 1.89 goals against average, a .929 save percentage and three shutouts in his last 13 games
- Derek Stepan enters the game with a four-game goal streak (four goals), and has registered 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in the last 21
- Brian Boyle has recorded 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the last 10 games
- Chris Drury has tallied four assists in the last four games
- Brandon Dubinsky has registered 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the last 11 games
- Alex Frolov has tallied five points (two goals, three assists) in the last six games
- Marc Staal has tallied 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in the last 15 games, including six points (two goals, four assists) in the last seven
- Dan Girardi has recorded five points (one goal, four assists) in the last six games
- Artem Anisimov has recorded five points (two goals, three assists) in the last six games
WORLD JUNIOR UPDATE
Four Rangers’ prospects are competing at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York. Chris Kreider and Ryan Bourque are making their second appearance with Team USA, having both been members of last year’s gold medal-winning team. Roman Horak is also making his second appearance with the Czech Republic, while Jesper Fasth is making his first appearance for Sweden at the elite tournament.
- Dan Girardi: 1 point from 100 NHL career
- Alex Frolov: 3 points from 400 NHL career
- Brandon Dubinsky: 7 assists from 100 NHL career
- Henrik Lundqvist: 8 wins from 200 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
- Mats Zuccarello: 1st career NHL game (12/23 vs. TBL)
- Mats Zuccarello: 1st career NHL assist/point (12/27 vs. NYI)
- Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 37
- Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 7
- Ryan Callahan (broken hand on Dec. 15) – 4
Total Man-Games Lost: 112
- Dec. 26 – Recalled forward Mats Zuccarello from Connecticut