Had a really busy day yesterday, saw some of my faves: Mark Messier, Adam Graves, Mike Keenan, at the rink. Had a nice sit-down with Tortorella for a story I’m writing for Sunday.
Today I’m headed to MSG for the game tonight, as the Rangers hit the mid-season mark. Will have the full monty tonight.
Also, want to mention a guy I’ve known, it seems, forever: John Rosasco, the Rangers VP of PR and player recruitment, who is the best in the business, and who recently worked the 1,500th game of his 23-year career. Must have started when he was six. Congrats, JR.
In the meantime, here are the pre-game notes, courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. CAROLINA HURRICANES
Wednesday, Jan. 5, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
Rangers: 22-15-3 (47 pts)
Hurricanes: 18-15-5 (41 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Jan. 3
The Rangers will face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in their third consecutive match-up against a Southeast Division opponent. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 22-15-3 (47 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Florida Panthers, 3-0, on Sunday at BankAtlantic Center, and have now registered a point in 17 of their last 25 games (15-8-2) and seven of their last nine (5-2-2). The Hurricanes enter the contest with a 18-15-5 (41 pts) record to rank ninth in the Eastern Conference, and have registered a point in each of their last four games (3-0-1). Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will begin a back-to-back road set when they face-off against the Dallas Stars on Friday, Jan. 7, at American Airlines Center (8:30 p.m.), before travelling to St. Louis to face-off against the Blues on Saturday, Jan. 8, at Scottrade Center (8:00 p.m.).
- TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Hurricanes
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
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Hurricanes
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. HURRICANES:
- All-Time: 53-47-7-2 overall (33-17-4-2 at home, 20-30-3-0 on the road)
- 2010-11: Tonight is the second of four meetings this season, and the second at Madison Square Garden. New York is 0-1-0 thus far, following a 4-3 loss at MSG on Oct. 29.
- Last Season: New York was 2-1-1 overall and 0-1-1 at home. Three of their four meetings were decided by two goals or less, including one that required overtime on Jan. 2 at MSG (1-2).
- The Rangers rank 21st with a 9-8-2 (20 pts) record at home; the Hurricanes rank 13th with a 10-8-3 (23 pts) mark on the road
- The Rangers are 2-5-2 vs. the Southeast Division; the Hurricanes are 3-3-1 against the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist is 8-7-1 with a 2.42 goals against average and one shutout in 16 career regular season games vs. the Hurricanes; Martin Biron is 10-4-1-2 with a 2.53 goals against average and one shutout in 19 career regular season contests vs. Carolina
- Marian Gaborik has tallied seven goals and seven assists for 14 points in 12 career regular season contests vs. the Hurricanes; Chris Drury has recorded a team-high, eight assists in 29 career regular season games vs. Carolina
- New York lists no former Hurricanes on their roster
- Carolina lists no former Rangers on their roster
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-five rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which is tied for 11th in the league.
- Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in two power play opportunities (4:00) on Sunday at Florida, and have now registered an 18.8% success rate (9-48) in the last 15 games. New York ranks 20th overall (24-143, 16.8%) and is tied for 25th at home (12-73, 16.4%). 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 (3): 11/20 at MIN (Cullen); 12/5 vs. OTT (Kelly); 1/2 at FLA (Weiss).
- Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Panthers in three shorthanded situations (5:09) on Sunday at Florida, and are now 73-84 (86.9%) over the last 28 games. New York ranks 11th overall (113-137, 82.5%) and 19th at home (47-57, 82.5%). 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 Sunday at Florida, 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).
The Rangers completed their 10th of 18 back-to-back sets with a 3-0 loss at Florida on Sunday. New York is 5-4-1 (1-0-0 at home, 4-4-1 on the road) following a 2-1 overtime loss at Tampa Bay on Jan. 1. The Blueshirts are 9-1-0 (4-0-0 at home, 5-1-0 on the road) in the second game of back-to-backs this season, having out-scored their opponent, 31-12, in those games. Over the last two seasons, New York is 18-3-2 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including a 8-1-1 mark at MSG and 10-2-1 on the road over the span.
Rangers’ defenseman Marc Staal has faced off against his older brother, Carolina forward Eric Staal, 13 times in his career, amassing a 6-6-1 record with five points (two goals, three assists), 10 penalty minutes and a plus-one rating. Eric has registered a 7-5-1 mark behind four goals and five assists, along with six penalty minutes and an even plus/minus rating in those 13 games.
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 10 fewer goals against compared to last season through 40 games.
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 1,158 hits and rank third with 638 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 114 blocked shots and Brian Boyle is tied for eighth in the NHL with 121 hits.
THE HOT LIST:
- The last time the Rangers were at least seven games over .500 in the standings was on Apr. 12, 2009 (43-30-9)
- The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (eight) and road wins (13), are tied for eighth in wins (22), 10th in points (47), and rank 10th in goals (119), and seventh with a plus-16 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 22 games, including three points (two goals, one assist) in the last four contests
- Derek Stepan has registered 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in the last 24 contests, with six points (four goals, two assists) in the last seven
- Brian Boyle has recorded 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the last 13 games, and five points (two goals, three assists) in the last five
- Brandon Dubinsky has registered 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in the last 14 contests, including five points (two goals, three assists) in the last five
- Matt Gilroy has registered three points (two goals, one assist) in his last four contests, and has posted a plus-nine rating in his last 15 games
- Dan Girardi has recorded six points (one goal, five assists) in the last nine games
- Marc Staal has tallied 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in the last 18 games, including six points (two goals, four assists) in the last 10
- Artem Anisimov has recorded six points (two goals, four assists) in the last nine games, with three assists in the last five
The Blueshirts were credited with a season-high, 52 shots in their 7-2 win vs. the Islanders on Dec. 27, 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 Dec. 27 (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).
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.
- Alex Frolov: 3 points from 400 NHL career
- Brandon Dubinsky: 6 assists from 100 NHL career
- Matt Gilroy: 7 games from 100 NHL career
- Henrik Lundqvist: 7 wins from 200 NHL career; 1 shutout from 30 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
- Dan Girardi: 100th career NHL point (1/1 at TBL)
- Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 40
- Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 10
- Ryan Callahan (broken hand on Dec. 15) – 7
- Erik Christensen (sprained knee on Dec. 29) – 2
Total Man-Games Lost: 123
- Dec. 29 – Assigned forward Todd White to Connecticut
- Dec. 29 – Recalled forward Dale Weise from Connecticut
- Jan. 3 – Recalled defenseman Ryan McDonagh from Connecticut
- Jan. 3 – Assigned defenseman Michael Del Zotto to Connecticut