Boy, time flies. It’s Jan. 2 already? Seems like yesterday it was 2010.
Don’t forget the early start time tonight.
Should be right in the Rangers’ wheelhouse: a road game and the second of back-to-backs (9-0 so far). Martin Biron expected to start in goal.
Here are the pre-game notes, courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at FLORIDA PANTHERS
Sunday, Jan. 2, 5:00 p.m.
BankAtlantic Center • Sunrise, FL
Rangers: 22-14-3 (47 pts)
Panthers: 16-17-2 (34 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Jan. 1
The Rangers will conclude their three-game road trip when they face-off against the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center (5:00 p.m.), in the second game of a back-to-back set. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and sixth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 22-14-3 (47 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, in overtime last night at St. Pete Times Forum, and have now registered a point in 17 of their last 24 games (15-7-2). The Panthers enter the contest with a 16-17-2 (34 pts) record to rank 12th in the Eastern Conference, and have registered a point in five of their last six games (3-1-2). Following the contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday, Jan. 5, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in their third straight game vs. a Southeast Division opponent.
* TV: MSG Network
4:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
5:00 p.m. – Rangers at Panthers
Broadcasters: John Giannone (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), Dave Maloney (In-Game Reporter)
* Radio: 970 The Apple and newyorkrangers.com
4:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
5:00 p.m. – Rangers at Panthers
Broadcasters: Joe Tolleson (Play-By-Play), Pete Stemkowski (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. PANTHERS:
* All-Time: 37-23-6-4 overall (18-12-4-0 at home, 19-11-2-4 on the road)
* 2010-11: Tonight is the second of four meetings this season, and the second at BankAtlantic Center. New York is 1-0-0 thus far, including a 1-0-0 mark on the road following a 3-0 win at Florida on Nov. 26.
* Last Season: New York was 3-1-0 overall and 2-0-0 on the road. The Rangers out-scored the Panthers, 6-2, at Florida last season.
* The Rangers rank first with a 13-6-1 (27 pts) record on the road; the Panthers rank 28th with a 7-6-2 (16 pts) mark at home
* The Rangers are 2-4-2 vs. the Southeast Division; the Panthers are 3-4-0 against the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist is 11-5-1 with a 1.77 goals against average and four shutouts in 17 career games vs. the Panthers; Martin Biron is 7-11-1-0 with a 2.71 goals against average in 20 career contests vs. the Panthers
* Marian Gaborik has tallied five goals, five assists and 10 points in 12 career regular season contests vs. the Panthers
* New York lists two former Panthers on their roster: Vinny Prospal (2000-01); Steve Eminger (2008-09)
* Florida lists two former Rangers on their roster: Radek Dvorak (1999-00 – 2002-03); Christopher Higgins (2009-10)
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-seven rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which is tied for seventh in the league.
* Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in two power play opportunities (4:00) last night at Tampa Bay, and have now registered a goal in eight of the last 13 games (9-46, 19.6% over the span). New York ranks 18th overall (24-141, 17.0%) and 16th on the road (12-68, 17.6%). 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 three shorthanded situations (6:00) last night at Tampa Bay, and are now 71-81 (87.7%) over the last 27 games. New York ranks 11th overall (111-134, 82.8%) and eighth on the road (64-77, 83.1%). 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 surrendered one goal in one, four-on-four situation (0:19) last night at Tampa Bay, and are now plus-two in 29, four-on-four situations (51:34). 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 (2): 10/15 vs. TOR (Kessel); 1/1 at TBL (Thompson).
Tonight’s contest will conclude the Rangers’ 10th of 18 back-to-back sets this season. The Blueshirts are 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 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).
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
Compared to last season, the Blueshirts have shown a four wins, seven points improvement, having tallied 14 more goals (including a four-goal improvement while shorthanded) while allowing 12 fewer goals against through 39 games.
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.
The Rangers have had 14 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 1,124 hits and rank third with 620 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 110 blocked shots and Brian Boyle is tied for 10th in the NHL with 115 hits.
THE HOT LIST:
* The last time the Rangers were at least eight games over .500 in the standings was on Apr. 12, 2009 (43-30-9)
* The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (eight), are tied for seventh in wins (22), eighth in points (47), and rank 10th in goals (119), and seventh with a plus-19 goal differential
* Henrik Lundqvist is 9-4-2 with a 1.84 goals against average, a .932 save percentage and three shutouts in his last 15 games
* Marian Gaborik has recorded 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) in his last 21 games, including three points (two goals, one assist) in the last three contests
* Derek Stepan has registered 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in the last 23 contests, including six points (four goals, two assists) in the last six
* Brian Boyle has recorded 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the last 12 games, including five points (two goals, three assists) in the last four
* Chris Drury has tallied four assists in the last six games
* Brandon Dubinsky has registered 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in the last 13 contests, including five points (two goals, three assists) in the last four
* Dan Girardi has recorded six points (one goal, five assists) in the last eight games
* Alex Frolov has tallied five points (two goals, three assists) in the last eight games
* Marc Staal has tallied 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in the last 17 games, including six points (two goals, four assists) in the last nine
* Artem Anisimov has recorded six points (two goals, four assists) in the last eight games, with three assists in the last four
* Michal Rozsival has registered six points (one goal, five assists) in the last 10 games
* Ruslan Fedotenko has tallied four points (two goals, two assists) in the last six games
* Brandon Prust has registered eight points (four goals, four assists) in the last 13 games
* Alex Frolov: 3 points from 400 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
* Mats Zuccarello: 1st career NHL assist/point (12/27 vs. NYI)
* Dan Girardi: 100th career NHL point (1/1 at TBL)
* Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 39
* Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 9
* Ryan Callahan (broken hand on Dec. 15) – 6
* Erik Christensen (sprained knee on Dec. 29) – 1
Total Man-Games Lost: 119
* Dec. 26 – Recalled forward Mats Zuccarello from Connecticut
* Dec. 29 – Assigned forward Todd White to Connecticut
* Dec. 29 – Recalled forward Dale Weise from Connecticut