OK, let’s try this again.
I began yesterday with a warning post that it would be a slow day. I believe my actual words were “So I’m not sure if there will be anything of substance here today.”
So, five posts, one fairly major trade, and a 2010-11 season record for traffic later …
Anyway, today I predict a busy day, starting with this morning preview, going through the naming today of the all-star participants, a pre-game post, the start of yet another potentially major snow storm, and a fairly important Original Six game against a conference rival, including the probable Rangers debut of Wojtek Wolski and the start of the post-Rozsival era.
Here are the pre-game notes, courtesy of the New York Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. MONTREAL CANADIENS
Tuesday, Jan. 11, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
Rangers: 25-15-3 (53 pts)
Canadiens: 23-16-3 (49 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Jan. 9
The Rangers will face-off against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in an Original Six match-up. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and sixth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 25-15-3 (53 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the St. Louis Blues, 2-1, on Saturday at Scottrade Center to improve to 8-2-2 in their last 12 games, and have won each of their last three games. New York has registered a point in 20 of their last 28 games (18-8-2), and is 8-3-1 in their last 12 games at home. The Canadiens enter the contest with a 23-16-3 (49 pts) record to rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, and each of their last four games have gone into overtime (3-0-1). Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, Jan. 13, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.).
- TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig and Brian Leetch
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Canadiens
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), Al Trautwig, John Giannone and Brian Leetch (In-Game Reporters)
- Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Canadiens
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. CANADIENS:
- All-Time: 188-315-94-3 overall (124-121-54-1 at home, 64-194-40-2 on the road)
- 2010-11: Tonight’s contest marks the first of four meetings this season, and the first of two meetings at Madison Square Garden
- Last Season: New York was 1-2-1 overall and 1-1-0 at home. Marian Gaborik led the Rangers with five points (two goals, three assists) in the season series.
- The Rangers rank 19th with a 10-8-2 (22 pts) record at home; the Canadiens are tied for 22nd with a 9-11-0 (18 pts) mark on the road
- The Rangers are 6-2-1 vs. the Northeast Division; the Canadiens are 6-4-0 against the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist is 10-6-2 with a 2.98 goals against average and one shutout in 19 career regular season appearances vs. Montreal; Martin Biron has posted a record of 14-10-0-1 with a 2.41 goals against average and two shutouts in 27 career regular season games against the Canadiens
- Chris Drury has registered a team-high, 14 goals, 19 assists and 33 points in 41 career regular season contests vs. Montreal
- New York lists no former Canadiens on their roster
- Montreal lists two former Rangers on their roster: Scott Gomez (2007-08 – 2008-09); Alex Auld (2009-10)
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-six rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which is tied for eighth in the league.
- Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in five power play opportunities (7:50) on Saturday at St. Louis. New York ranks 22nd overall (25-155, 16.1%) and ranks 26th at home (12-76, 15.8%). 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 the Blues scoreless in six shorthanded situations (10:49) on Saturday at St. Louis, and are now 85-97 (87.6%) over the last 31 games. New York ranks 10th overall (125-150, 83.3%) and 14th at home (50-60, 83.3%). The Rangers are 5-7 (5:18) in three-on-five situations (last – 1/8 at STL), and 4-6 (2:41) when three-on-four (last – 11/15 at PIT). Shorthanded goals for (9): 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); 1/7 at DAL (Fedotenko).
- Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (1:01) on Saturday at St. Louis, and are now plus-three in 33, four-on-four situations (61:58). 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).
ORIGINAL SIX SINCE 2005-06
New York has posted a record of 42-21-12 (96 pts) against Original Six opponents since the 2005-06 season, including a 10-7-3 mark vs. Montreal over the span. The Rangers’ .640 winning percentage ranks second, trailing Detroit (.713%, 36-13-5) and ahead of Montreal (.621%, 61-35-11), Boston (.523%, 48-43-17), Toronto (.519%, 47-43-18), and Chicago (.447%, 22-28-7).
A NORTHEAST FEAST
The Rangers have posted a record of 6-2-1 (13 pts) in nine games vs. Northeast Division opponents this season, and are now 17-8-4 (36 pts) vs. the Northeast Division since the start of 2009-10 after posting an 11-6-3 (25 pts) mark against the Northeast Division in 20 games last season.
The Rangers completed their 11th of 18 back-to-back sets with a 2-1 win at St. Louis on Saturday. New York is 6-4-1 (1-0-0 at home, 5-4-1 on the road) in the first game of back-to-backs, following a 3-2 shootout win at Dallas on Friday. The Blueshirts are 10-1-0 (4-0-0 at home, 6-1-0 on the road) in the second game this season, having out-scored their opponent, 33-13, in those games. Over the last two seasons, New York is 19-3-2 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 43 games (21-17-5, 47 points in 2009-10), having tallied 10 more goals (126 this season, 116 last season) while allowing 12 fewer goals against (107 this season, 119 last season). New York has also shown a five-goal improvement while shorthanded compared to 2009-10 (nine this season, four last season).
New York is currently 10 games over .500 with a 25-15-3 record. New York was never more than six games over .500 last season, having last been at least 10 games over on April 12, 2009 (43-30-9).
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS
The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (nine) and road wins (15), are tied for fifth in wins (25), rank eighth in points (53), ninth in goals (126), and are tied for sixth with a plus-19 goal differential.
The Blueshirts have tallied the first goal of the game in 23 of their 43 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.
New York leads the NHL with 13 points when trailing after two periods, having registered a 5-9-3 mark in those games. The Blueshirts’ five wins are tied for first in the league. 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 16 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 1,227 hits and rank second with 680 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 125 blocked shots and Brian Boyle is tied for ninth in the NHL with 128 hits.
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 11-4-2 with a 1.78 goals against average, a .934 save percentage and three shutouts in his last 17 games
- Brandon Dubinsky has registered 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in the last 17 contests, including nine points (two goals, seven assists) in the last eight
- Matt Gilroy has registered four points (three goals, one assist) in his last seven contests, and has posted a plus-11 rating in his last 18 games
- Marian Gaborik has recorded 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in his last 25 games
- Derek Stepan has registered 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in the last 27 contests, with seven points (five goals, two assists) in the last 10
- Brian Boyle has recorded 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the last 16 games, and five points (two goals, three assists) in the last eight
- Mats Zuccarello has registered four points (one goal, three assists) in the last seven games
- Brandon Dubinsky: 2 assists from 100 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
- Ryan McDonagh: 1st career NHL game (1/7 at DAL)
- Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 43
- Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 13
- Ryan Callahan (broken hand on Dec. 15) – 10
- Erik Christensen (sprained knee on Dec. 29) – 5
Total Man-Games Lost: 137
- Jan. 3 – Recalled defenseman Ryan McDonagh from Connecticut
- Jan. 3 – Assigned defenseman Michael Del Zotto to Connecticut
- Jan. 10 – Acquired forward Wojtek Wolski from Phoenix in exchange for defenseman Michal Rozsival