Don’t forget, it’s an 8:30 start. Something to do on a snowy night.
Here are the pre-game notes, courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at DALLAS STARS
Friday, Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m.
American Airlines Center • Dallas, TX
Rangers: 23-15-3 (49 pts)
Stars: 24-13-4 (52 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Jan. 5
The Rangers will face-off against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center (8:30 p.m.), in the first game of a back-to-back road set. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 23-15-3 (49 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1, in overtime on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden, to improve to 8-3-1 in their last 12 games at home. New York has now registered a point in 18 of their last 26 games (16-8-2), and eight of their last 10 (6-2-2). The Stars enter the contest with a 24-13-4 (52 pts) record to rank third in the Western Conference, and have won each of their last two games. Following the contest, the Rangers will conclude their back-to-back road set when they face-off against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, Jan. 8, at Scottrade Center (8:00 p.m.).
* TV: MSG Plus
8:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
8:30 p.m. – Rangers at Stars
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
* Radio: 970 The Apple and newyorkrangers.com
8:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
8:30 p.m. – Rangers at Stars
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. STARS:
* All-Time: 68-37-22-1 overall (37-17-11-0 at home, 31-20-11-1 on the road)
* 2010-11: Tonight is the first and only meeting between New York and Dallas this season
* Last Season: New York was 1-0-0 overall, following a 5-2 victory on Jan. 6 at MSG
* The Rangers rank first with a 13-7-1 (27 pts) record on the road; the Stars rank eighth with a 12-6-3 (27 pts) mark at home
* The Rangers are 1-0-0 vs. the Pacific Division; the Stars are 3-0-0 against the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist is 2-2-0 with a 2.27 goals against average and .923 save percentage in four career games vs. the Stars; Martin Biron is 6-3-0-0 with a 2.68 goals against average and .900 save percentage in nine career contests vs. Dallas
* Marian Gaborik has tallied 14 goals, 15 assists and 29 points in 28 career games vs. the Stars
* New York lists one former Star on their roster: Sean Avery (2008-09)
* Dallas 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 ranks 11th in the league.
* Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in three power play opportunities (4:46) on Wednesday vs. Carolina. New York ranks 22nd overall (24-146, 16.4%) and 16th on the road (12-70, 17.1%). 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 held Carolina scoreless in three shorthanded situations (4:46) on Wednesday at MSG, and are now 76-87 (87.4%) over the last 29 games. New York ranks 11th overall (116-140, 82.9%) and 10th on the road (66-80, 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 tallied one goal in two, four-on-four situations (4:23) on Wednesday vs. Carolina, and are now plus-three in 31, four-on-four situations (55:57). Four-on-four goals for (5): 10/18 vs. COL (Frolov); 11/11 vs. BUF (Anisimov); 11/15 at PIT (Callahan); 12/12 vs. WSH (Callahan); 1/5 vs. CAR (Zuccarello). 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) in the first game of back-to-backs, 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 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.
COMPARED TO LAST SEASON…
The Rangers have registered four more wins and six more points compared to last season through 41 games (19-17-5, 43 points in 2009-10), having tallied 13 more goals (121 this season, 108 last season) while allowing 11 fewer goals against (104 this season, 115 last season). New York has also shown a four-goal improvement while shorthanded compared to 2009-10 (eight this season, four last season).
New York is currently eight games over .500 with a 23-15-3 record. New York was never more than six games over .500 last season, having last been at least eight games over on April 12, 2009 (43-30-9).
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS
The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (eight) and road wins (13), are tied for seventh in wins (23), rank ninth in points (49) and goals (121), and seventh with a plus-17 goal differential.
The Blueshirts have tallied the first goal of the game in 23 of their 41 games, posting a record of 17-5-1 in those contests, and own a record of 10-1-1 when leading after the first period.
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
New York ranks second in the NHL with 11 points when trailing after two periods, having registered a 4-9-3 mark in those games. New York won back-to-back games on Dec. 15 at Pittsburgh (4-1) and Dec. 16 vs. Phoenix (4-3, SO), despite trailing by a goal entering the third period in both games. 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 Rangers have had 15 different players credited with at least one game winning goal this season, which is the most in the NHL.
LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
The Rangers currently lead the NHL with 1,179 hits and rank second with 651 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 118 blocked shots and Brian Boyle ranks eighth in the NHL with 125 hits.
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.
THE HOT LIST:
* Henrik Lundqvist is 10-4-2 with a 1.78 goals against average, a .934 save percentage and three shutouts in his last 16 games
* Brandon Dubinsky has registered 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in the last 15 contests, including seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last six
* Matt Gilroy has registered four points (three goals, one assist) in his last five contests, and has posted a plus-10 rating in his last 16 games
* Marian Gaborik has recorded 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) in his last 23 games
* Derek Stepan has registered 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in the last 25 contests, with six points (four goals, two assists) in the last eight
* Brian Boyle has recorded 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the last 14 games, and five points (two goals, three assists) in the last six
* Dan Girardi has recorded six points (one goal, five assists) in the last 10 games
* Marc Staal has tallied 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in the last 19 games
* Mats Zuccarello has registered three points (one goal, two assists) in his last five games
* Alex Frolov: 3 points from 400 NHL career
* Brandon Dubinsky: 4 assists from 100 NHL career
* Matt Gilroy: 6 games from 100 NHL career
* Henrik Lundqvist: 6 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) – 41
* Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 11
* Ryan Callahan (broken hand on Dec. 15) – 8
* Erik Christensen (sprained knee on Dec. 29) – 3
Total Man-Games Lost: 127
* Jan. 3 – Recalled defenseman Ryan McDonagh from Connecticut
* Jan. 3 – Assigned defenseman Michael Del Zotto to Connecticut