Rangers at Canes tonight

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This three game trip, and stretch of four against the Southeast (which leads into the much-needed all-star break) doesn’t look so bad on paper. But, the Rangers’ band-aided lineup notwithstanding, it’s going to be tough.

Because anybody who saw Cam Ward and the Canes come to MSG two weeks ago knows that is a team on the rise, one that will make noise for a playoff berth before the season is out. And everybody knows that Washington will be way better than its record when all is said and done (and the Capitals will want some payback for that 7-0 shellacking at MSG). And because we have seen Atlanta and Florida beat the Rangers already this season.

Here are the pre-game notes, courtesy of the Rangers:

NEW YORK RANGERS at CAROLINA HURRICANES
Thursday, Jan. 20, 7:00 p.m.
RBC Center • Raleigh, North Carolina
Rangers: 27-18-3 (57 pts)
Hurricanes: 22-18-6 (50 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Jan. 19

TONIGHT’S GAME:
The Rangers will begin a three-game road trip when they face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes at RBC Center (7:00 p.m.), in the first of four consecutive games vs. Southeast Division opponents. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and sixth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 27-18-3 (57 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 7-0, last night at Madison Square Garden to improve to 10-5-1 in their last 16 games at home. New York has registered a point in 22 of their last 33 games (20-11-2), and are now 10-5-2 in their last 17. The Hurricanes enter the contest with a 22-18-6 (50 pts) record to rank ninth in the Eastern Conference, and have lost three of their last four games. Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday, Jan. 22, at Philips Arena (7:00 p.m.), in their third game in four nights.
BROADCAST INFORMATION:

*       TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at 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 at Hurricanes
Broadcasters: Joe Tolleson (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)

RANGERS vs. HURRICANES:

*       All-Time: 54-47-7-2 overall (34-17-4-2 at home, 20-30-3-0 on the road)
*       2010-11: Tonight is the third of four meetings this season, and first of two at RBC Center. New York is 1-1-0 thus far, following a 2-1 overtime victory at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 5.
*       Last Season: New York was 2-1-1 overall and 2-0-0 on the road. 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 fourth with a 15-8-1 (31 pts) record on the road; the Hurricanes rank 23rd with an 11-8-2 (24 pts) mark at home
*       The Rangers are 3-5-2 vs. the Southeast Division; the Hurricanes are 3-3-2 vs. the Atlantic Division
*       Henrik Lundqvist is 9-7-1 with a 2.33 goals against average and one shutout in 17 career regular season games vs. Carolina; Martin Biron is 10-4-1-2 with a 2.53 goals against average and one shutout in 19 career regular season games vs. Carolina
*       Marian Gaborik has tallied seven goals and seven assists for 14 points in 13 career regular season contests vs. the Hurricanes; Ruslan Fedotenko leads the team with 14 goals in 45 career regular season contests vs. Carolina, and Chris Drury has recorded a team-high, eight assists in 30 career appearances
*       New York lists no former Hurricanes on their roster
*       Carolina lists no former Rangers on their roster

SPECIAL TEAMS:

The Blueshirts have posted a plus-six rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which is tied for sixth in the league.

*       Power Play: The Rangers tallied two goals in four power play opportunities (5:50) last night vs. Toronto. New York ranks 21st overall (28-171, 16.4%) and ranks 19th on the road (13-83, 15.7%). 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 (4): 11/20 at MIN (Cullen); 12/5 vs. OTT (Kelly); 1/2 at FLA (Weiss); 1/16 vs. PHI (Richards).
*       Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Maple Leafs scoreless in three shorthanded situations (6:00) last night at MSG, and are now 99-113 (87.6%) over the last 36 games. New York ranks seventh overall (139-166, 83.7%) and 11th on the road (77-94, 81.9%). The Rangers are 6-8 (6:05) in three-on-five situations (last – 1/13 vs. VAN), 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 (2:00) last night vs. Toronto, and are now plus-three in 37, four-on-four situations (68:26). 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).

FOUR SCORE AND MORE

The Rangers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 7-0, last night at Madison Square Garden…

*       New York’s seven-goal margin of victory tied their season-high, set on Dec. 12 vs. Washington (7-0)
*       Five Rangers registered multi-point efforts, and seven Blueshirts posted a plus-two or better rating
*       Marian Gaborik (four goals, one assist) posted his third hat trick of the season, the most by a Ranger in a single season since Jaromir Jagr posted three hat tricks during the 2005-06 season
*       The last Ranger to tally four goals in a game was Radek Dvorak on Mar. 29, 2001 at Long Island, and the last Blueshirt to register five points in a single game was Mike York on Jan. 23, 2002 vs. Boston (two goals, three assists)
*       The Rangers have now registered four hat tricks this season (Derek Stepan, Marian Gaborik – 3), which is the most for the team since the 2005-06 season (Jaromir Jagr – 3, Martin Straka)
*       Henrik Lundqvist (22 saves) posted his seventh shutout of the season to pass Jon Ross Roach for third on the Rangers’ all-time career regular season shutouts list (31), and moved ahead of Mike Richter for fourth on the Rangers’ all-time career shutouts list (regular season + playoffs) with 34
*       Lundqvist also registered his 20th win of the season to become the third goalie in NHL history to record 20 or more wins in their first six seasons (Bill Durnan, 7 seasons from 1943 to 1949; George Hainsworth, 6 seasons from 1926 to 1931), and now owns the second longest active streak of 20-plus win seasons (six), behind Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo (eight)
*       Artem Anisimov tallied a career-high, four assists, the most by a Ranger since Marian Gaborik recorded four assists on Jan. 19, 2010 in an 8-2 win vs. Tampa Bay

SIBLING RIVALRY

Rangers’ defenseman Marc Staal has faced off against his older brother, Carolina forward Eric Staal, 14 times in his career, amassing a 7-6-1 record with five points (two goals, three assists), 10 penalty minutes and a plus-one rating. Eric has registered a 7-5-2 mark behind five goals and five assists, along with eight penalty minutes and an even plus/minus rating in those 14 games.

YOUTH IS SERVED
The Rangers have the sixth youngest team in the league with an average age of 26 years and 210 days, and the youngest defensive corp in the league with an average age of 24 years and 328 days. *based on NHL rosters on Jan. 11

BACK-TO-BACKS
The Rangers will complete their 13th of 18 back-to-back sets tomorrow at Carolina. New York is 7-5-1 (2-1-0 at home, 5-4-1 on the road) in the first game of back-to-backs. The Blueshirts are 10-2-0 (4-1-0 at home, 6-1-0 on the road) in the second game this season, having out-scored their opponent, 35-16, in those games. Over the last two seasons, New York is 19-4-2 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including a 8-2-1 mark at MSG and 11-2-1 on the road over the span.

COMPARED TO LAST SEASON…

The Rangers have registered five more wins and six more points compared to last season through 48 games (22-19-7, 51 points in 2009-10), having tallied 18 more goals (139 this season, 121 last season) while allowing 14 fewer goals against (115 this season, 129 last season).  New York has also shown a five-goal improvement while shorthanded compared to 2009-10 (nine this season, four last season).

WILD WEST
The Rangers rank first among Eastern Conference teams in winning percentage (.692), tied for first in wins (nine) and second in points (18) vs. Western Conference teams this season, having posted a 9-4-0 record in 13 games.

WINNING HABIT
New York is currently nine games over .500 with a 27-18-3 record.  New York was never more than six games over .500 last season, having last been at least nine games over on Apr. 12, 2009 (43-30-9).

AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS

The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (nine), rank second in road wins (15), are tied for sixth in wins (27), rank ninth in points (57), sixth in goals against (115), 10th in goals for (139), and fifth with a plus-24 goal differential.

ONE-GOAL GAMES
The Blueshirts rank fourth in the league with a .619 winning percentage in one-goal games, posting a record of 13-5-3 in those contests. Their 13 wins are tied for fifth in the NHL.

TEAM EFFORT
The Rangers have had 17 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 1,387 hits and rank second with 762 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 139 blocked shots and Brian Boyle ranks eighth in the NHL with 143 hits.

THE HOT LIST:

*       Henrik Lundqvist is 13-6-2 with a 1.69 goals against average, a .940 save percentage and five shutouts in his last 21 games
*       Derek Stepan enters the contest with a three-game assist/point streak (one goal, three assists over the span), and has registered 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) in the last 32 games
*       Mats Zuccarello enters the contest with a three-game scoring streak (two goals, two assists over the span), and has recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last eight games
*       Wojtek Wolski has recorded five points (two goals, three assists) in five games as a Ranger, including four points (one goal, three assists) in the last two contests
*       Marian Gaborik has registered seven points (four goals, three assists) in the last six games

MILESTONES APPROACHING:

*       Henrik Lundqvist: 3 wins from 200 NHL career

MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:

*       Matt Gilroy: 100th career NHL game (1/16 vs. PHI)

INJURIES:

*       Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 48
*       Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 18
*       Ryan Callahan (broken hand on Dec. 15) – 15
*       Erik Christensen (sprained knee on Dec. 29) – 10
*       Alex Frolov (injured knee on Jan. 8, expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season) – 5
*       Brandon Dubinsky (stress fracture in left leg, 3 – 4 weeks) – 1

Total Man-Games Lost: 163

RECENT TRANSACTIONS:

*       Jan. 19 – Recalled forward Chad Kolarik from Connecticut (AHL)
*       Jan. 19 – Recalled forward Brodie Dupont from Connecticut (AHL)

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60 Comments

  1. now here is a truly remarkable stat, Ryan McDonagh is a +7 in 7 games so far this season…

  2. Goals, to continue on your Gravhev point from the last thread, I think they want Grachev to be consistently effective down there before bringing him up for a couple games like they’re doing with the DNW line. He’s had a good last couple of games, probly don’t want to mess with his (hopeful) continued development.

  3. Blue Seat Horror on

    I hate to disappoint everybody who’d like to see that kid Todd White get the nod to the bigs, but I think he’s injured.

  4. Carp I would find it very sexy as well- Prust-Boyle and Gaborik…
    I have just have the feeling that those two would complement him very good and he would score more frequently…..

    You are right, the Leaves were very porous but the way Gabby scored the first and the last one of his four goals was absolutely special, the way he got around the goalie and the placement of that shout exactly in the corner of the net, was a sign of a superstar sniper…those who really makes it worth the money of the ticket…!!!!

    Those are the ones I like to see when they have that kind of magic to do it..

  5. I read an interesting comment on Blue Shirt Banter re: Grachev. It was based on a tweet or blog posting from Jess Rubenstein at Prospect Park. “If the promotion of another player ahead of Grachev doesn’t get his attention then nothing will”.

    Now there’s also the way of looking at it that the guys they have called up from Hartford so far have the ceiling of a 4th liner in the NHL. Maybe Weise could turn into a Prust type player, but aside from his willingness to hit and drop the gloves, I haven’t been terribly impressed with his game. The organization has bigger hopes for Grachev beyond being a 4th line plugger and maybe they feel its best to leave him down there to continue to develop.

  6. btw I usually don’t like to side with mostly unintelligent part of the fan base that think every player that doesnt live up to their contract is a garbage (aka those who would boo Rozsival) but contract aside Chris Drury has been terrible.

    I am well aware that his days as 50 point player are gone but last night he actually saw some playing time and did nothing but turn the puck over with shots that completely missed the net, bad passes and terrible play on the boards. I know the effort is there and despite claims from some not so bright fans, he is a very good captain but when the injured players finally return, if he keeps this up he’s gotta be out of the lineup.

    I cant justify playing him over Zuccarello or even Christensen when he returns…

  7. Carp, looks like there are two Lev’s as i only post as Lev not Lev_rangers. congrats to Matt, enjoy the tix.

  8. CTBlueshirt

    Jess is absolutely right. Up until the last few weeks he has looked like an ECHL player. Hopefully seeing teammates getting the call over him will motivate him to play harder as his effort level has continued to be a problem since he came to North America.

  9. Carp, can you bring the Rangers to Berlin next fall for an exihibition game ????

    That would be great :)

  10. oleo, I think that’s the risk attached to bigger skilled players as they advance through the developmental stages, the effort. They’re probably used to be dominating the play through their size and skill that when they finally go up against competition that’s as big as they are with equal or greater skill, they don’t know what to do. Whereas you got guys like MZA or Marty StL that have always needed to be quicker and smarter no matter what level.

  11. ilb and CCCP, I have.

    chapico, agreed, but if the goalie has a stick he doesn’t score that first goal.

    oleo, i think Tortorella feels the same way you do. Zuccarello and Christensen will play before him. Maybe not Weise and Newbury or any of tonight’s debut rookies.

  12. GOALS for GAB-orik on

    Oleo… tell your GM/owner that he’s paying someone $7 million a year to not play, see how that convo goes.

    They won’t send him down, they have too much respect for him to bury him in Reddenville. And i can think of a team or two who would claim him on waivers if they have cap room. There’s 2 or 3 teams near the cap floor no?

  13. Carp

    you really think they will make Drury a healthy scratch? Personally, I just can’t see it happening but I would really love to see it not only b/c I feel it makes us better but it might influence management’s decision to buy him out or even convince him to retire or at least take a year off.

  14. iDoodie machetto on

    No way is dreary (haha, my phone autocorrected drury to that) back next year. He’s getting bought out for sure

  15. Gab,

    They can’t send him down because he has a full No Movement Clause. He’s not getting traded unless they throw in a top prospect or draft pick, which in essence makes Drury a poison pill.

    The two plausible options for a Drury-less 2011-12 are they buy him out or he retires on his own. I doubt they ask him to retire because if he refuses that creates an ugly situation for next year.

  16. GOALS for GAB-orik

    they can’t Redden him b/c Drury has a no movement clause. I dont expect him to be Prucha’d but when everyone comes back (im going to assume Prospal and Boogaard are done for the season for arguments sake). Just look at a sample lineup that we could have going into the playoffs. Putting the contract aside and judging ONLY on their play, I can’t justify playing Drury over anyone of those 12 forwards

    Wolski-Stepan-Gaborik
    Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan
    Fedotenko-Boyle-Prust
    Avery-Christensen-Zuccarello

  17. Noah-el Zotto-ospal-allahan-insky-tenko, 28 on

    Boy, when we have all forwards healthy, that looks like a pretty darn good team.

  18. GOALS for GAB-orik on

    Oleo,

    No argument from me. His play has been off, he’s noticeable different this year. Whether his age is catching up to him, or his confidence is flat out gone… he’s struggling. At this moment, if i had only one roster spot, and i had a choice between Zuke or Drury, i’d take Zuke.

    But Christensen over Drury? Not sure i’d make that move. In a shootout maybe haha, but put Drury with Gaborik and i’m sure he’d put up points. And he defends well, and is a good faceoff guy. EC is just too inconsistent.

  19. sloppy seconds chant sealed the deal. good stuff.

    i just hope torts doesn’t break up aves and gabby up after a one bad shift tonight. they play well together, as seen earlier on in the season. torts needs to stick with it.

  20. Gab

    you can be inconsistent on the 4th line b/c well its the 4th line and you barely play. The reason you need to keep Christensen in the lineup is b/c when he is playing well, he has the ability to score at any given moment.

    the game against Pittsburgh is a perfect example of why Christensen is an asset. Goals are at a premium in the playoffs and Christensen’s wrist shot can win a game for you at any point despite the fact you might not notice him on any of his other shifts…

  21. GOALS for GAB-orik on

    Zherdev is arguably more talented than EC, or at least talent wise on the same level, and he disappeared in the playoffs. No guarantees EC would fare any better, but i can’t say he wouldn’t either. But I would trust Drury more than EC on a line with Gabby playing 1st line minutes. just my opinion.

  22. So if they’re re-doing the Garden, they’re re-doing the Garden.

    Not much anyone can about it it, and the place sure needs a facelift.

    It’s just that with next year possibly lining up to be THE year we’re a full bore, kick-ass contender, this seems like a lousy way to start a season (i.e. jet-lagged and out of sorts).

    Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov reported last night that Alexei Zhamnov, the general manager of Vityaz of the KHL told Soviet Sport that representatives of the Rangers will be in Moscow today to discuss arranging an exhibition game for next fall between the clubs. There’s no official confirmation from the Rangers but the Rangers were one of six teams invited to begin next season in Europe and given this summer’s renovations at Madison Square Garden, it’s a safe bet the Rangers will play overseas. The Garden will not be ready until mid-October (providing the work progresses on schedule) so the Rangers will play all their preseason games away from the Garden as well as start the 2011-12 season on the road. It’s likely Vityaz will not be the only European/Russian team the Rangers speak to about possible exhibition games.

  23. Gab,

    I don’t see Drury and Gaborik meshing at all. The only time I think those two would fit on the ice together is if Drury is hounding the net on the PP while Gaborik is at the point.

    Between EC and Drury, it’s a tough call. I have major concerns whether Drury can keep up with pace of the game anymore. He looked better last night, but before that he simply couldn’t engage the play because he was too slow to pressure the forecheck or carry the puck on the rush. He’s not big enough to create havoc with his checking and he’s flubbed a lot of pucks both in passing and shooting. Ignoring his contract and veteran status, if this was training camp I doubt he’d make the team.

  24. Since moving to NYC I have infrequently defended Drury… I do believe he is a leader, I love his past, and his intangibles have historically been strong (PK, ASST, FO, etc).

    Last night frustrated me though and I would like to see more out of the man wearing the C.

    ZUC is sick…. loving this kid.

    Big game tonight & I’m cautiously optimistic that we can take it!

  25. GOALS for GAB-orik on

    Not making excuses.. but he missed alot of time being injured… and it takes awhile to get back in game form and get your legs.

    I’m not an EC fan, and for all they hype (see Zherdev) the guy doesn’t produce on a nightly basis. One good goal every so often isn’t enough for me to trust him in the playoffs.

  26. GAB

    but the difference is Zherdev was our leading scorer and we needed to rely on him for goals where as we arent relying on Christensen for anything except the shear possibility that he comes out flying one night while Anisimov or Stepan might be struggling and Tortorella realizes this and makes a line change that leads to some goals.

    Drury will never ever be in a situation where him and Gabby are on the same line but Christensen has shown that when he is on, he is a real dangerous player.

  27. TheREALMikeyNJ on

    Agree with all that has been said of Drury, but as I think i woudl with any Captain of our tema, I WANT to see him succeed.

    I mean yeah he’s not getting 50 points a season anymore, but he’s not that old (35) has barely played 20 games( I think) and the guys obviously respect him in that room as does the coaching staff.

    I don’t know, i’m still rooting for him to pop some goals in, or who knows, if we make the playoffs, becomes a great palyoff perfromer and starts lighting the lamp every game.

    Either way, lets go Rangers tongiht, two more points!!!

    And congrats to MAtt on those free tickets

  28. GOALS for GAB-orik on

    EC has played 37 games this season, and has 14 points (6G, 8A)

    To put it in perspective… Frolov has more points, as does Ryan Callahan, playing a similar amount of games. For a guy who was paired with Gabby on the top line… 14 points in 37 games just don’t cut it.

  29. GOALS for GAB-orik on

    When he is on? When is that, like a woman’s ‘cycle’? Once a month?

    Brandon Prust has more points than EC, and he’s hardly a sniper. EC is a bum, a bust, and a waste of a roster spot. A weapon? yea a cap gun maybe.

  30. TheRealMike –

    Agreed completely… I’d like nothing more than to have our Captain Shine but I became a little less blind in my defense of him last night.

  31. Christensen is too inconsistent to be a top 6 player on a playoff team however his wrist shot is nasty and when he is playing well, he can score at any moment.

    he might only play like that for 1 game in a 7 series but its still worth keeping him on that 4th line just in case. And btw over an 82 game season, Christensen is on pace for 13 goals and 18 assists.

  32. So I just realized that the Rangers scored a goal for every injured player last night. In memoriam: Fankist, Boogeyman, EC, Cally, Froggins, Dubi, and Fedotenko.

  33. wow i missed a lot. is it time for me to get carp’d yet? Congrats to Matt! and youse can all keep your mitts off mama :) geez……

  34. Happy Birthday Spider!!!!

    anybody here see Black Swan? One of my cats just Natalie Portman’d my back…..hartnelling ouch!

  35. GOALS for GAB-orik on

    So he’s on pace to get as many points as Stepan has right now?

    EC is a joke. And a bad teammate. Ask Avery.

    The only good thing for him, is he makes 1/7th of what Drury makes to not play well.
    I’ll trade his maybe 1 important goal in a 7 game series for Drury’s experience and hockey IQ any day.

  36. Happy Birthday, spider! 26, I’m sure….

    Uhm, mama, I suppose you just woke up…My monster post was from this am, not yesterday.

  37. ah so now we know why u prefer Drury over Christensen.

    If Christensen were a problem in the lockerroom, not liked and a bad teammate he would have been waived or traded months ago. You are simply assuming that b/c he said he thought Avery sucker punched him that it is a problem. Using these suppositions to suggest things is foolish…

    unless you are in the lockerroom and you talk to the players, there is no way we can know and from what I recall Carp or any other beat writer has said nothing to the tone of Christensen being a bad teammate or disliked at all.

  38. GOALS for GAB-orik on

    Ask yourself if anyone not named EC would make such a statement about a teammate after a game.

    Regardless of who reports what, and your assumptions that he would just be traded or waived, guys know better.

    There is a reason Carp referred to him as foot in mouth. He’s made dumb comments before. Avery STILL stood up for him in a game, cuz Avery is a good teammate.

    And I prefer Drury because I believe he is a better, more responsible hockey player. His intangibles make him more usable than that waste of a jersey EC.

  39. GOALS for GAB-orik on

    From Carp, 11/15/10,

    6) You know how you guys called Christensen “Foot in Mouth” last year? Did you see him on NHL Network when he admitted that Avery suckered Smid?

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