Penguins at Rangers tonight … in the snow and ice

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Went by a house with a huge homemade sign on the front yard: “Free Snow. Take as much as you want.”

The Penguins are in town for a 7:30 Versus game, minus Sid the Skid, and probably Evgeni Malkin, too.

The Rangers welcome back Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi, and possibly Brandon Dubinsky.

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

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Tuesday, Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m.
Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
Rangers: 29-20-3 (61 pts)
Penguins: 31-15-4 (66 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Jan. 31

TONIGHT’S GAME:
The Rangers will face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.), in their first game following the All-Star break. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and sixth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 29-20-3 (61 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Florida Panthers, 4-3, on Jan. 25 at Madison Square Garden, and are now 10-6-1 in their last 17 games at home. New York has registered a point in 24 of their last 37 games (22-13-2). The Penguins enter the contest with a 31-15-4 (66 pts) record to rank fourth in the Eastern Conference, and have won five of their last six games. Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, Feb. 3, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), before beginning a three-game road trip on Saturday, Feb. 5, at Montreal.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

  • TV: Versus
    7:30 p.m. – Rangers vs. Penguins
    Broadcasters: Joe Beninati (Play-By-Play), Billy Jaffe (Analyst), Bob Harwood (In-Game Reporter)
  • Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
    7:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
    7:30 p.m. – Rangers vs. Penguins
    Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)

RANGERS vs. PENGUINS:

  • All-Time: 113-97-23-7 overall (63-46-9-2 at home, 50-51-14-5 on the road)
  • 2010-11: Tonight is the fourth of six meetings this season, and the second at Madison Square Garden. New York is 2-1-0 thus far, following a 4-1 victory at CONSOL Energy Center on Dec. 15. The Rangers’ penalty kill is 10-10 (100%) in the season series.
  • Last Season: The Rangers were 1-4-1 vs. Pittsburgh, including a 0-2-1 mark at MSG. Four of their six meetings were decided by two goals or less, including two that required overtime.
  • The Rangers rank 21st with a 12-11-2 (26 pts) record at home; the Penguins rank 9th with a 14-6-3 (31 pts) mark on the road
  • New York is 8-5-0 vs. the Atlantic Division; Pittsburgh is 6-5-2 against the Atlantic Division
  • Henrik Lundqvist is 18-13-4 with a 2.39 goals against average and two shutouts in 35 career regular season games vs. Pittsburgh; Martin Biron is 13-15-3-2 with a 2.98 goals against average and two shutouts in 33 career regular season games vs. Pittsburgh
  • Chris Drury leads the Rangers with 13 goals, 21 assists and 34 points in 40 career regular season games vs. Pittsburgh
  • New York lists two former Penguins on their roster: Erik Christensen (2005-06 – 2007-08); Ruslan Fedotenko (2008-09 – 2009-10)
  • Pittsburgh lists one former Ranger on their roster: Pascal Dupuis (2006-07)

SPECIAL TEAMS:
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-six rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which ranks seventh in the league.

  • Power Play: The Rangers tallied one goal in four power play opportunities (7:07) on Jan. 25 vs. Florida. New York ranks 24th overall (29-181, 16.0%) and are tied for 20th at home (16-92, 17.4%). 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 Panthers scoreless in one shorthanded situation (2:00) on Jan. 25 at MSG, and are now 106-121 (87.6%) over the last 40 games. New York ranks eighth overall (146-174, 83.9%) and seventh at home (63-73, 86.3%). 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 Jan. 25 vs. Florida, and are now plus-three in 40, four-on-four situations (80:26). 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).

ALL-STAR WEEKEND RECAP
The Rangers were represented by three players – Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal and Derek Stepan – at the 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina this past weekend. Lundqvist, who turned aside the first ever penalty shot attempt in an NHL All-Star Game at 6:13 of the third period, faced 14 shots in the third, allowing three goals and picking up the loss for Team Staal. Marc Staal logged 17:01 of ice time for Team Staal while making his first All-Star Game appearance.  Stepan participated in the SuperSkills competition as part of Team Lidstrom, breaking all four targets in the Accuracy Shooting event and hitting the crossbar on his Elimination Shootout attempt against Lundqvist.

BACK-TO-BACKS
The Rangers completed their league-high, 14th of 18 back-to-back sets on Jan. 25 vs. Florida. New York is 8-5-1 (2-1-0 at home, 6-4-1 on the road) in the first game of back-to-backs. The Blueshirts are 10-4-0 (4-2-0 at home, 6-2-0 on the road) in the second game this season, having out-scored their opponent, 39-24, in those games. Over the last two seasons, New York is 19-6-2 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including an 8-3-1 mark at MSG and 11-3-1 on the road over the span.

COMEBACK KIDS
New York has posted a record of 7-13-3 when trailing after the second period. The Rangers’ seven wins, 17 points and .304 winning percentage rank first in the NHL.

ONE-GOAL GAMES
The Blueshirts rank fourth in the league with a .625 winning percentage in one-goal games, posting a record of 15-6-3 in those contests. Their 15 wins are tied for fourth in the NHL.

COMPARED TO LAST SEASON…
The Rangers have registered five more wins and six more points compared to last season through 52 games (24-21-7, 55 points in 2009-10), having tallied 13 more goals (148 this season, 135 last season) while allowing 15 fewer goals against (126 this season, 141 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

WINNING HABIT
New York is currently nine games over .500 with a 29-20-3 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).

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.

AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS
The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (nine) and hits (1,485), are tied for first in road wins (17), rank seventh in wins (29) and goals against (126), ninth in points (61), third in blocked shots (816), 12th in goals for (148), and sixth with a plus-22 goal differential.

SIBLING RIVALRY
Rangers’ defenseman Marc Staal has faced off against his younger brother, Pittsburgh forward Jordan Staal, 20 times in his career, amassing a 9-10-1 record with six points (two goals, four assists) and 20 penalty minutes. Jordan has registered an 11-4-5 mark behind six goals and six assists, along with 14 penalty minutes in those 20 games.

THE HOT LIST:

  • Henrik Lundqvist is 14-8-2 with a 1.90 goals against average, a .930 save percentage and five shutouts in his last 24 games, and has held opponents to two or fewer goals in nine of his last 12 contests
  • Derek Stepan has tallied 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in the last 36 games, with six points (two goals, four assists) in the last seven
  • Mats Zuccarello has recorded 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the last 12 games, with seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last seven
  • Wojtek Wolski has recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) in nine games as a Ranger, with six points (two goals, four assists) in the last six
  • Brian Boyle enters the contest with a three-game scoring streak (two goals, one assist over the span), and has tallied five points (four goals, one assist) in the last seven games
  • Brandon Prust has tallied four points (two goals, two assists) in the last seven games
  • Marian Gaborik has recorded seven points (five goals, two assists) in the last five games, including a point (one goal, one assist) in each of the last two games
  • Michael Sauer has registered two assists in the last three games

MILESTONES APPROACHING:

  • Henrik Lundqvist: 2 wins from 200 NHL career
  • Marc Staal: 4 games from 300 NHL career
  • Steve Eminger: 5 games from 400 NHL career

MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:

  • Brodie Dupont: 1st career NHL game (1/22 at ATL)

INJURIES:

  • Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18) – 52
  • Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 22
  • Ryan Callahan (broken hand on Dec. 15) – 19
  • Erik Christensen (sprained knee on Dec. 29) – 14
  • Alex Frolov (injured knee on Jan. 8, expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season) – 9
  • Brandon Dubinsky (stress fracture in left leg, 3 – 4 weeks) – 5
  • Ruslan Fedotenko (shoulder separation on Jan. 19, 2 – 4 weeks) – 4
  • Dan Girardi (injured on Jan. 22) – 2

Total Man-Games Lost: 193

RECENT TRANSACTIONS:

  • Jan. 25 – Assigned defenseman Michael Del Zotto and forwards Brodie Dupont, Evgeny Grachev, Chad Kolarik, and Kris Newbury to Connecticut (AHL)
  • Jan. 30 – Recalled defenseman Michael Del Zotto and forwards Evgeny Grachev and Kris Newbury from Connecticut (AHL)

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64 Comments

  1. MickeyM needs a new phone on

    Good morning gang!

    I have a snow day today thanks to the blizzard warning and 1-2 feet of snow we are predicted to get, plus the up to an inch of ice just a little south of here. I haven’t had a snow days in years, but I’ll take it :)

    Cally and Danny back. Maybe Dubi. Can it be 7:30 already?

    Stay safe, everyone. I’m going back to bed. Cause I can :P

  2. MSG, slew foot free zone tonight. Unless the Skid and FrankenMalkin’s replacements believe imitation is highest form of flattery.

  3. BACKDOOR BULLSEYE!

    Whatever you think about Versus and Beninati, they are approximately 8,000,000 times better than my usual alternative of Steigerwald/Errey on FSN Pittsburgh.

    Late on the Boyle discussion, but as impressive as his offensive breakout has been, I have to agree that his production is likely to regress next year, whether or not another top-six forward is added.

    He’s clearly no longer the 4-goal scorer he was up until this year, but playing the odds, you’d have to suggest a modest fall is the likeliest thing. That’s not the same as saying a(nother) 25-30 goal year is impossible.

    Equally, expecting a raise as an RFA to $2.5m-$3m per based on less than 60 games of production doesn’t really add up.

  4. I think Boyle has shown he is a capable 3rd line center who can chip in double digits for goals, play PK and he deserves a payrise, maybe $1.5m for 2-3 years is right, but anything over is too much.

    On another note i saw that Robyn Regehr may be available (depending on Calgary’s playoffs chances) he has 2 more years at $4m and is a good hard-hitting d-man, anyone think he would be a good placeholder while we wait for McIlrath to develop? Or is $4m too much to take on given that Slats will want to throw the kitchen sink at Brad Richards in July?

  5. Although I think that the initial outpourings of play by play by Versus speakers was sophomoric by hockey standards, they have improved. My biggest beef with them is their totally unacceptable camera work. These guys should all be forced to take a crash course from the Rangers folks if they want to learn how to really photo a game.

    btw

    Someone asked the question in an earlier posting “how many years does the group think that Lundqvist can maintain his goaltending standards?” The answer of course has to be directed at his exceptional athleticism and quickness. As long as he can keep up those standards he will most likely do well. The end will be approaching if he begins to flag in those departments, and that is when the flaws in his technique will do him in.

  6. The thing with Boyle is that he substantially improved a tangible skill, his skating and that’s probably been the biggest factor in his improvement. It’s not as if he is the same player with an absurd amount of luck. LW as I’m sure you know some of the better predictors of goal scoring are shots and shooting percentage. With 30 games left in the season he’s taken just about as many shots that he took in his previous 3 season/100 games combined. I think a strong argument can be made that his improved skating ability has allowed his feet to finally catch up with his hands. He has a pretty deft touch with the puck for a big guy. Maybe his shooting percentage comes down next year but as long as he’s able to generate shots at a rate similar to this year he’ll score goals.

  7. Hey guys n gals, I have a question.

    I live in Dutchess County (an hour + from MSG) and I have tickets for tonight’s game.
    With the forecast for ice and snow in NYC what do you think the chances are of the game being cancelled (I’m sure between slim and none)?

    Concerned obviously of driving in but also concerned about rtain service shutting down.

  8. If the D develops into as strong as we think/hope it can then that should lessen the burden on Lundqvist as he ages. It can work wonders when you’re facing a below average amount of shots and premium scoring chances. Just ask Brodeur.

  9. The truth is, nobody really knows what Boyle’s production will be next year. It’s pretty clear, however, that he will not revert to a 4-goal season. Having said that, I agree with UKRanger that 3-4 year deal with yearly increase and cap hit at around $1.5-1.8M is more realistic than giving him $3M contract.

    I think Regehr will solve some of our issues on defense. He is signed through 2012-2013. He has NMC, there is no guarantee he is waiving it to come to NY. And do we want to acquire another player with NMC?

    Don’t forget to refresh :-)

  10. JAB, I wouldn’t count on them cancelling tonight’s game. Not likely at all.

    I can only remember one instance of MSG cancelling a game due to weather and that was during ’94 (I believe a game against quebec)

    There was also one other game, but I think it was a road game a couple of years ago…anybody remember?

  11. They didn’t cancel the Islanders game during the giant snowstorm. A little freezing rain isn’t going to stop them from having a game tonight, especially if Crosby is back.

    He should get fined for skipping the ASG.

  12. I do not believe the Rangers should be in the market for a stay at home d-man like Komisarek or Reghyr. Instead we should be looking for a PP QB but someone who is also defensively responsible. No contracts over 2 years for 30+ yr old players!!!

    Some FA options are: Christian Erhoff, Bryan McCabe, Andrei Markov, Roman Hamrlik, James Wisniewski, Ed Jovanovski, Tomas Kaberle, Joni Pitkinen, Kevin Bieksa,

  13. oleo, the 6 young defensemen they currently have are almost certainly the 6 defensemen you’ll see next year. They like Gilroy, they like Sauer, and the other 4 are under contract.

    Disagree with me if you want, but that’s the reality of the situation. They will not let anybody just walk.

  14. Oleo

    Just one man’s opinion.

    I’d take McCabe or Markov over Kaberle at this stage of the game. Kaberle just isn;t the same controlling D man he used to be..why I don;t know. Age perhaps?

  15. fran

    Personally, i like Wisniewski the best. He’s only 26, he’s 4th out of all defenseman in PP points (8th overall) and he plays a very physical game.

    doodie

    I can certainly see them keeping Gilroy and give him one last shot but given the Rangers depth on defense it really doesn’t make sense to bring back Gilroy at 2.1 mil and hope he produces in year 3, when they can get a proven guy, with much better production who’s the same age.

  16. fran,

    McCabe or Markov for next year or this year? Markov is out for the year and McCabe is recovering from a broken jaw. Beyond this year, McCabe would be a 35+ contract so if he continues to decline as he has been the last few seasons he becomes extreme dead weight. Markov has had major issues staying on the ice the last couple of seasons. Kaberle is young enough to demand a decent sized contract, one which the Rangers should avoid.

  17. Thx CJP and Doodie…frustrating, live too far away to take my family of 4 out in this weather.

    Laid out some serious coin for this game tonight, ugh.

  18. hedberg, please drop me an email at rcarpini@lohud.com

    Good morning, Sally!

    JAB, I was on a trip to Washington in the early 90s where we got snowed in and the game was called off. The Rangers have had, I believe, two games snowed out in the past couple of decades. But not very likely tonight, mostly because the arena is reachable for most by mass transit.

  19. Boom Boom Bathgate on

    Can’t wait for Prospal’s return. Giddy with anticipation. 2 goals per month, max. But at least he will be skating like he is in quicksand.

  20. I think this season is only the start of a long productive career for Boyle. He has only started to realize his potential. CT, I wholeheartedly agree about his skating. His skating has allowed him to become a beast in all parts of his game. I think there is even more room for improvement in his game. He is hungry and wants to get better….

    Luckily, the Rangers have leverage via RFA. If Boyle were on the open market (a guy who plays in all situations and is a 30-goal scorer that is 6’7″) market value is anywhere between $3.5-5m. If he was able to string together consecutive 30 goal seasons…more like $4-6m

  21. i think i’ll go outside and get a snowcone o_O

    this weather is ridiculous

    but glad rangers are back in action, and healthing up!!! or is it healthying up? ;)~

  22. NYR Fan, Boyle is worth 3.5 tops on the open market. Think of Hagman as a comparable player. Yes, he’s a little smaller, but his goals were more consistent than Boyle’s. He only got 3 million per. 3.5 is Boyle’s max worth.

  23. Tiki - my roughie toughie snoots! on

    Last Versus game b/w the NYR and Caps, the commentary wasn’t that bad. We actually heard positive stuff about the Rangers, and didn’t hear any unnecessary lauding of the Bruins.

    I hope for another nice broadcast tonight!

    Frontside Bullseye!

  24. except Hagman had established himself in the NHL before getting the contract. One 40 point season doesn’t get you a contract like that especially when Boyle mostly wont have an offensive role next season…

  25. Carp,
    Thx for your thoughts….planned on taking my family tonight, not worth the risk of even driving to the train station, especially w ice on the way.

    Doodie,
    I doubt I can sell the tickets, weather is terrible where I live.

    I WILL be watching tonight that’s for sure.

  26. JAB, they’re hard copy tickets? maybe you should shoot down to the Garden and try and pawn them off there. If they were e-tickets, you can just send the e-mail to an online purchaser.

  27. oleo, right, except Hagman signed his contract 3 years ago. The cap will be about 5 million higher next season than it was then.

    As I said, Boyle’s max UFA value would be 3.5. But, he’s just a RFA with arbitration rights. If he signs long-term, I figure it’s in the 2-2.5 range. Cut it any way you like, but he’s leading the team in goals after 52 games. So long as he keeps up his pace, there’s no way they can pay him less.

  28. I don’t know, I found weather normal for this part of the coutry in February.Nature doesn’t have a bad weather; any type of it is a blessing, as much as any periods and seasons in people’s life. No complains.
    Hockey weather is a different story, where seasons and periods have all different meanings. It’s created by participants and leave us wide open field for complains…or praise. So, what it going to be today – storm or calm, ecstasies roar or bitter cry? I can’t wait.

  29. Tiki - my roughie toughie snoots! on

    cccp – you better come down to see me next week! If you dont, Im gonna huff and puff and blow you sexy Russian accent down! :)

    refresh, refresh, refresh! Cally, Dubi, Prospal! refresh, refresh, refresh!

    How much longer is EC out for? I thought only 4-6 weeks?

  30. Tiki - my roughie toughie snoots! on

    correction: *blow your sexy Russian accent down!

    I did not mean anything inappropriate by that. just left an “r” off “you”

  31. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    Huge mistake to go after a PP d man and lose assests to acquire one when there is one in the system with a booming shot. Dumb move.

    If the powers in control think that we even have a remote shot of doing damage in the playoffs, they will make a trade or two.

    I really don’t see how one of mdz, gilly, or mcdonut isn’t moved by the trade deadline in some sort of deal. Too many similar players on the blueline with a couple of styles not present back there.

  32. WoWo-ekuh - Its Just Pain on

    What’s the couple of styles not present wicky? The only one I really see us NOT having is a booming shooter, but we’re not the only team with that problem in the NHL..

  33. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    wo wo
    we do not have a booming shooter or a real physical presence.

  34. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    thank you thank you, we will be donating all of these hats that all of you tossed on the ice!!!

  35. 4generations 4 cups on

    I wouldnt mind picking Gonchar up out of Ottawa, I wanted him on Free Agency. Contract is a little hefty though

  36. WoWo-ekuh - Its Just Pain on

    LMAO @ the NHL 94 celebration. I see what I’ll be playing on the emulator tonight during commercial breaks.

    As far as the physical presence, I don’t worry too much about that, as long as people are in the places they’re supposed to be. When you’re running around trying to get big hits, someone’s usually sneaking in for the backside bullseye..

  37. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    no way on gonchar.

    wo wo
    yep, thought that celebration thing was awesome! I agree that having a player that delivers big hits will sometimes lead to them being out of position, but to me it is no different than having a guy that is an “offencive” threat that gives 100% 25% of the time or 75% 40% of the time and doesn’t always play with the same vigor in all three zones…it comes with that style of player, take the good with the bad.

    With a physical presence, I also mean the obvious crease clearer we are lacking!!!

  38. The current D are either cost controlled or the Rangers retain their rights, a huge benefit in the salary cap era. Gilroy is the only one that presents some sort of obstacle, but he’d be smart to opt for a short term deal at around his current cap hit. I doubt you’d see any of the younger forwards getting moved. I can’t see the Rangers giving up cost controlled players for a rental.

  39. Tiki - my roughie toughie snoots! on

    Happy early Anniversary!

    It’s the 13th, just in case!

    Our Fozzy Wozzy bear is coming to NY at the end of February. And of course, our great Mama is going to show her around and welcome the Fozzy!

    Hi wickster! How’s work?

  40. The report over on the NYR blog says that Dubi skated at the poptional skate this AM and that ‘the leg felt good this morning and it felt good after I skated.’ I’d say that means there’s a pretty good chance that he plays tonight.

  41. C T

    I did not knwo about McCabe’s broken jaw…I was going by what I had seen of him in several games earlier this year, and he looked terrific. As for Markov, I know about his age, and just recently in a game he played like a one man band on defense and was awesome on the pP. No deterioration there that I could discern…but I’ve also watched Kaberle in several games and he quite frankly had a very Redden like demeanor in the games that I saw.

    And I had always been a big Kaberle fan…but he’s not the same guy anymore. I used to hope that Rangers would trade for him several years ago, but didn’t know about his desire to stay in Toronto.

    But then again…you are much more tuned in to the details, and I bow to your expertise.

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