You know how John Tortorella acknowledged that the win over Toronto at home was an important one in this stretch of five in seven nights? Well, you might throw this one into that category, too.
Because I foresee Washington being really motivated in D.C. on Monday, following that 7-0 bombing the Capitals took at MSG in December.
And I foresee a dog-tired, banged-up Rangers team coming home from the dreaded three-game trip (the first game back almost always bites them) and having a problem with Florida on Tuesday.
So a win in Atlanta would go a long, long way toward getting the Rangers to the all-star break finish line and six days off and Ryan Callahan’s return. And a loss in Atlanta would be a fourth in five games and might turn this into a very, very bad streak very quickly.
In an unrelated note, our contest winner Matt has still not surfaced, which kind of makes me think it was somebody making up multiple personalties/screennames to cheat at the contest, somebody who doesn’t want to come forward. So, Matt, if you’re out there, you have until puck drop tonight to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I don’t hear from you, then Lev will be declared the winner.
Here are tonight’s pre-game notes, courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at ATLANTA THRASHERS
Saturday, Jan. 22, 7:00 p.m.
Philips Arena • Atlanta, GA
Rangers: 27-19-3 (57 pts)
Thrashers: 23-18-8 (54 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Jan. 20
The Rangers will face-off against the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena (7:00 p.m.), in the second game of their three-game road trip. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and sixth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 27-19-3 (57 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-1, on Thursday at RBC Center, to conclude their league-high, 13th back-to-back set of the season. New York has registered a point in 22 of their last 34 games (20-12-2), and are now 10-6-2 in their last 18. The Thrashers enter the contest with a 23-18-8 (54 pts) record to rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, and have lost five of their last six games. Following the contest, the Rangers will conclude their three-game road trip when they face-off against the Washington Capitals on Monday, Jan. 24, at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m.), in the first game of a back-to-back set.
- TV: MSG Plus
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig and Ron Duguay
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Thrashers
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
- Radio: 970 The Apple and newyorkrangers.com
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Thrashers
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. THRASHERS:
- All-Time: 18-13-1-9 overall (7-8-1-5 at home, 11-5-0-4 on the road)
- 2010-11: Tonight is the second of four meetings this season, and first of two at Philips Arena. New York is 0-1-0 thus far, following a 6-4 loss at MSG on Oct. 27.
- Last Season: New York was 1-1-2 overall, with a 1-0-1 mark at Atlanta. Two of their four meetings were decided in the shootout.
- The Rangers rank seventh with a 15-9-1 (31 pts) record on the road; the Thrashers rank 18th with an 11-9-4 (26 pts) mark at home
- The Rangers are 3-6-2 vs. the Southeast Division; the Thrashers are 4-5-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist is 6-3-6 with a 2.17 goals against average and one shutout in 16 career regular season games vs. Atlanta; Martin Biron is 6-11-0-0 with a 3.31 goals against average and three shutouts in 18 career regular season games vs. Atlanta
- Chris Drury has registered a team-high, 20 assists and 26 points in 29 career regular season contests vs. Atlanta
- New York lists one former Thrasher on their roster: Erik Christensen (2007-08 – 2008-09)
- Atlanta lists one former Ranger on their roster: Nik Antropov (2008-09)
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-five rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which ranks seventh in the league.
- Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in two power play opportunities (4:00) on Thursday at Carolina. New York ranks 22nd overall (28-173, 16.2%) and ranks 20th on the road (13-85, 15.3%). 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 surrendered one goal to the Hurricanes in two shorthanded situations (2:42) on Thursday at Carolina, and are now 100-115 (87.0%) over the last 37 games. New York ranks eighth overall (140-168, 83.3%) and is tied for 15th on the road (78-96, 81.2%). 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 skate in a four-on-four situation on Thursday at Carolina, 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, on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden…
- 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 recorded three in 2005-06
- 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 2005-06 (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, 1943-1949; George Hainsworth, 6 seasons, 1926-1931), and now owns the second longest active streak of 20-plus win seasons (six), behind 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
The Rangers completed their league-high, 13th of 18 back-to-back sets on Thursday 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 10-3-0 (4-1-0 at home, 6-2-0 on the road) in the second game this season, having out-scored their opponent, 36-20, in those games. Over the last two seasons, New York is 19-5-2 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including an 8-2-1 mark at MSG and 11-3-1 on the road over the span.
COMPARED TO LAST SEASON…
The Rangers have registered four more wins and four more points compared to last season through 49 games (23-19-7, 51 points in 2009-10), having tallied 13 more goals (140 this season, 127 last season) while allowing 12 fewer goals against (119 this season, 131 last season). New York has also shown a four-goal improvement while shorthanded compared to 2009-10 (nine this season, five last season).
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
New York is currently eight games over .500 with a 27-19-3 record. New York was never more than six games over .500 last season, having last been at least eight games over on Apr. 12, 2009 (43-30-9).
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.
The Rangers have had 17 different players credited with at least one game winning goal this season, which is the most in the NHL.
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS
The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (nine), are tied for second in road wins (15), sixth in goals against (119), 10th in points (58), and rank seventh in wins (27), 11th in goals for (140), and sixth with a plus-21 goal differential.
LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
The Rangers currently lead the NHL with 1,413 hits and rank second with 772 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 142 blocked shots and Brian Boyle ranks eighth in the NHL with 145 hits.
THE HOT LIST:
- Henrik Lundqvist is 13-7-2 with a 1.80 goals against average, a .938 save percentage and five shutouts in his last 22 games
- Derek Stepan has tallied 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) in the last 33 games, including four points (one goal, three assists) in the last four
- Mats Zuccarello has recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last nine games, with four points (two goals, two assists) in the last four
- Wojtek Wolski has recorded five points (two goals, three assists) in six games as a Ranger, with four points (one goal, three assists) in the last three
- Brandon Prust has registered three points (one goal, two assists) in the last four games
- Henrik Lundqvist: 3 wins from 200 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
- Matt Gilroy: 100th career NHL game (1/16 vs. PHI)
- Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18) – 49
- Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 19
- Ryan Callahan (broken hand on Dec. 15) – 16
- Erik Christensen (sprained knee on Dec. 29) – 11
- Alex Frolov (injured knee on Jan. 8, expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season) – 6
- Brandon Dubinsky (stress fracture in left leg, 3 – 4 weeks) – 2
- Ruslan Fedotenko (shoulder separation on Jan. 19, 2 – 4 weeks) – 1
Total Man-Games Lost: 170
- Jan. 19 – Recalled forward Chad Kolarik from Connecticut (AHL)
- Jan. 19 – Recalled forward Brodie Dupont from Connecticut (AHL)