Ugh. It’s a Versus exclusive game. And a 7:30 start.
As I’ve said many times these past few days, I expect the Capitals to be still stinging from that 7-0 slapping the Rangers handed them at the Garden in December. And I expect the Rangers will have to be better than they’ve been, and from start to finish, in this game. That won’t be easy, given the injuries and newbies in the lineup. But we’ve also come to expect the Rangers to do the unexpected.
Don’t know yet if Brandon Prust and/or Dan Girardi will play, or whether Michael Del Zotto and/or Evgeny Grachev get into the game. The Rangers could surely use some offense, and Del Zotto could provide some. We haven’t seen the same from Grachev in his limited opportunities so far.
Here are the pre-game notes, courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Monday, Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m.
Verizon Center • Washington, D.C.
Rangers: 28-19-3 (59 pts)
Capitals: 27-14-8 (62 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Jan. 22
The Rangers will conclude their three-game road trip when they face-off against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m.), in the first game of a back-to-back set. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 28-19-3 (59 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Atlanta Thrashers, 3-2, in the shootout on Saturday at Philips Arena to improve to 11-6-2 in their last 19 games, and have now registered a point in 23 of their last 35 (21-12-2). The Capitals enter the contest with a 27-14-8 (62 pts) record to rank fifth in the Eastern Conference, and have registered a point in each of their last four games (3-0-1). Following thecontest, the Rangers will conclude their league-high, 14th back-to-back set when they face-off against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in their fifth game in seven nights heading into the All-Star break.
* TV: Versus
7:30 p.m. – Rangers at Capitals
* Radio: 970 The Apple and newyorkrangers.com
7:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:30 p.m. – Rangers at Capitals
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. CAPITALS:
* All-Time: 81-84-18-5 overall (46-37-9-2 at home, 35-47-9-3 on the road)
* 2010-11: Tonight is the third of four meetings this season, and the first of two at Verizon Center. New York is 1-1-0 thus far, following a 7-0 victory at MSG on Dec. 12.
* Last Season: New York was 1-3-0 overall with a 1-1-0 mark at Washington. Each of the four meetings were decided by two goals or less, including two games decided by one goal.
* The Rangers notched six goals in 17 power play opportunities (35.3%) in the season series, which were the most by the Blueshirts against any team last season
* New York ranks third with a 16-9-1 (33 pts) record on the road; Washington ranks first with a 16-5-5 (37 pts) mark at home
* The Rangers are 4-6-2 vs. the Southeast Division; the Capitals are 7-2-3 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist has posted a record of 10-6-2 with a 2.89 goals against average and two shutouts in 18 career games vs. Washington; Martin Biron is 10-8-1-2 with a 2.58 goals against average and one shutout in 21 career games vs. Washington
* Chris Drury leads the team with 17 assists and 23 points in 29 career games vs. Washington
* New York lists one former Capital on their roster: Steve Eminger (2002-03 – 2007-08)
* Washington lists two former Rangers on their roster: Mike Knuble (1998-99 – 1999-00); Tom Poti (2001-02 – 2005-06)
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-five 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 two power play opportunities (2:36) on Saturday at Atlanta. New York ranks 23rd overall (28-175, 16.0%) and is tied for 19th on the road (13-87, 14.9%). The Rangers are 1-6 (6:25) in five-on-three situations (last – 1/22 at ATL), 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 Thrashers scoreless in three shorthanded situations (6:00) on Saturday at Atlanta, and are now 103-118 (87.3%) over the last 38 games. New York ranks seventh overall (143-171, 83.6%) and 14th on the road (81-99, 81.8%). 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 (5:00) on Saturday at Atlanta, and are now plus-three in 38, four-on-four situations (73:26). 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 will begin their league-high, 14th of 18 back-to-back sets tomorrow at Washington. 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 50 games (24-19-7, 55 points in 2009-10), having tallied eight more goals (143 this season, 135 last season) while allowing 12 fewer goals against (121 this season, 133 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 nine games over .500 with a 28-19-3 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).
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 first in road wins (16), sixth in goals against (121), ninth in points (59), 10th in goals for (143), and rank seventh in wins (28), and sixth with a plus-22 goal differential.
LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
The Rangers currently lead the NHL with 1,433 hits and rank second with 787 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 143 blocked shots and Brian Boyle ranks eighth in the NHL with 147 hits.
THE HOT LIST:
* Henrik Lundqvist is 14-7-2 with a 1.80 goals against average, a .937 save percentage and five shutouts in his last 23 games, and has held opponents to two or fewer goals in nine of his last 11 contests
* Derek Stepan has tallied 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in the last 34 games, including five points (one goal, four assists) in the last five
* Mats Zuccarello has recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last 10 games, with four points (two goals, two assists) in the last five
* Wojtek Wolski has recorded six points (three goals, three assists) in seven games as a Ranger, including five points (two goals, three assists) in the last four
* Brian Boyle has notched three goals in the last five games
* Brandon Prust has registered three points (one goal, two assists) in the last five games
* Henrik Lundqvist: 2 wins from 200 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
* Brodie Dupont: 1st career NHL game (1/22 at ATL)
* Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18) – 50
* Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 20
* Ryan Callahan (broken hand on Dec. 15) – 17
* Erik Christensen (sprained knee on Dec. 29) – 12
* Alex Frolov (injured knee on Jan. 8, expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season) – 7
* Brandon Dubinsky (stress fracture in left leg, 3 – 4 weeks) – 3
* Ruslan Fedotenko (shoulder separation on Jan. 19, 2 – 4 weeks) – 2
Total Man-Games Lost: 177
* Jan. 19 – Recalled forwards Chad Kolarik and Brodie Dupont from Connecticut (AHL)
* Jan. 22 – Recalled defenseman Michael Del Zotto and forward Evgeny Grachev from Connecticut (AHL), and assigned forward Dale Weise to Connecticut