Vinny Prospal is scheduled to make his season debut after knee surgery. John Tortorella said yesterday that Marc Staal will keep the alternate captaincy he was given in Prospal’s absence.
I imagine that Kris Newbury will be scratched to make room for Prospal … but maybe we’ll be surprised?
I’m headed to MSG later on.
Here are tonight’s pre-game notes, courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Thursday, Feb. 3, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
Rangers: 29-20-4 (62 pts)
Devils: 17-30-3 (37 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Feb. 1
The Rangers will face-off against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in an Atlantic Division match-up. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and sixth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 29-20-4 (62 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-3, in the shootout on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 10-6-2 in their last 18 games at home. New York has registered a point in 25 of their last 38 games (22-13-3). The Devils enter the contest with a 17-30-3 (37 pts) record to rank 15th in the Eastern Conference, and have registered a point in eight of their last nine games (7-1-1). Following the contest, the Rangers will begin a three-game road trip when they face-off against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, Feb. 5, at Bell Centre (2:00 p.m.), in an Original Six match-up.
- TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig and Brian Leetch
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Devils
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), Al Trautwig 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. Devils
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. DEVILS:
- All-Time: 97-80-27-5 overall (53-28-20-2 at home, 44-52-7-3 on the road)
- 2010-11: Tonight is the fourth of six meetings this season, and the second at Madison Square Garden. New York is 3-0-0 thus far, including a 1-0-0 mark at home, having out-scored the Devils, 9-2, in the season series.
- Last Season: New York was 3-2-1 overall and 1-1-1 at home. Five of their six meetings were decided by two goals or less, including three that were decided by one goal and two that required the shootout.
- The Rangers rank 20th with a 12-11-3 (27 pts) record at home; the Devils rank 30th with a 7-17-1 (15 pts) mark on the road
- New York is 8-5-1 vs. the Atlantic Division; New Jersey is 4-10-0 against the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist is 21-7-5 with a 1.81 goals against average and five shutouts in 33 career regular season games vs. New Jersey; Martin Biron is 8-15-2-2 with a 3.20 goals against average and two shutouts in 29 career regular season games vs. New Jersey
- Chris Drury leads the Rangers with 13 goals in 40 career regular season contests vs. the Devils; Vinny Prospal has tallied a team-high, 21 assists and 31 points in 47 career regular season games vs. New Jersey
- New York lists no former Devils on their roster
- New Jersey lists no former Rangers on their roster
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 six power play opportunities (10:17) on Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh, and are now 4-20 (20.0%) in their last six games. New York ranks 23rd overall (30-187, 16.0%) and are tied for 19th at home (17-98, 17.4%). The Rangers are 1-7 (6:35) in five-on-three situations (last – 2/1 vs. PIT), 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 Penguins in three shorthanded situations (3:22) on Tuesday at MSG, and are now 108-124 (87.1%) over the last 41 games. New York ranks ninth overall (148-177, 83.6%) and ninth at home (65-76, 85.5%). 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 two, four-on-four situations (5:48) on Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh, and are now plus-three in 42, four-on-four situations (86:14). 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).
The Rangers own a record of 16-5-2 vs. the Devils since the start of the 2007-08 season, including an 8-2-1 mark at Madison Square Garden during the stretch, dating back to a 2-0 win on Oct. 25, 2007. Henrik Lundqvist, who has started in each of the Rangers’ last 28 meetings with the Devils, has registered a 2.03 goals against average, .929 save percentage and five shutouts in the 23-game stretch.
Henrik Lundqvist has faced-off against Martin Brodeur in 28 career regular season contests, posting a record of 19-4-5 with a 1.69 goals against average, .939 save percentage and four shutouts over the span.
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.
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.
The Blueshirts are tied for fifth in the league with a .600 winning percentage in one-goal games, posting a record of 15-6-4 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 seven more points compared to last season through 53 games (24-22-7, 55 points in 2009-10), having tallied 14 more goals (151 this season, 137 last season) while allowing 15 fewer goals against (130 this season, 145 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 29-20-4 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) and hits (1,522), are tied for first in road wins (17), seventh in wins (29), rank seventh in goals against (130), ninth in points (62), third in blocked shots (826), 12th in goals for (151), and are tied for sixth with a plus-21 goal differential.
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.
THE HOT LIST:
- Henrik Lundqvist is 14-8-3 with a 1.93 goals against average, a .928 save percentage and five shutouts in his last 25 games, and has held opponents to two or fewer goals in nine of his last 13 contests
- Brian Boyle enters the contest with a career-high, four-game scoring streak (two goals, two assists over the span), and has tallied six points (four goals, two assists) in the last eight games
- Mats Zuccarello has recorded 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in the last 13 games, with eight points (two goals, six assists) in the last eight
- Wojtek Wolski has recorded eight points (three goals, five assists) in 10 games as a Ranger, with seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last seven
- Marian Gaborik enters the contest with a three-game scoring streak (one goal, two assists over the span), and has recorded eight points (five goals, three assists) in the last six games
- Derek Stepan has tallied six points (two goals, four assists) in the last eight games
- Brandon Prust has recorded five points (three goals, two assists) in the last eight games
- Henrik Lundqvist: 2 wins from 200 NHL career
- Marc Staal: 3 games from 300 NHL career
- Steve Eminger: 5 games from 400 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
- Brandon Dubinsky: 100th career NHL assist (2/1 vs. PIT)
- Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18) – 53
- Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 23
- Erik Christensen (sprained knee on Dec. 29) – 15
- Alex Frolov (injured knee on Jan. 8, expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season) – 10
- Ruslan Fedotenko (shoulder separation on Jan. 19, 2 – 4 weeks) – 5
Total Man-Games Lost: 198
- Jan. 30 – Recalled defenseman Michael Del Zotto and forwards Evgeny Grachev and Kris Newbury from Connecticut (AHL)
- Feb. 1 – Assigned forward Evgeny Grachev to Connecticut (AHL)