Erik Christensen rides in on his white horse to replace the injured captain and single-handedly (or single-legedly) snap the three-game losing streak. Or not.
Here are the pre-game notes, courtesy of the New York Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at MONTREAL CANADIENS
Saturday, Feb. 5, 2:00 p.m.
Bell Centre • Montreal, Quebec
Rangers: 29-21-4 (62 pts)
Canadiens: 29-18-5 (63 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Feb. 3
The Rangers will begin a three-game road trip when they face-off against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre (2:00 p.m.), in an Original Six match-up. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 29-21-4 (62 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the New Jersey Devils, 3-2, on Thursday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 10-7-2 in their last 19 games at home. New York has registered a point in 25 of their last 39 games (22-14-3). The Canadiens enter the contest with a 29-18-5 (63 pts) record to rank sixth in the Eastern Conference, and have registered a point in seven of their last eight games (5-1-2). Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, Feb. 7, at Joe Louis Arena (7:00 p.m.), in an Original Six match-up.
- TV: MSG Network
1:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
2:00 p.m. – Rangers at Canadiens
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst)
- Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
1:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
2:00 p.m. – Rangers at Canadiens
Broadcasters: Joe Tolleson (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. CANADIENS:
- All-Time: 188-317-94-3 overall (124-122-54-1 at home, 64-195-40-2 on the road)
- 2010-11: Today’s contest marks the third of four meetings this season, and the second and final meeting at Bell Centre. Each of their two meetings this season have been decided by one goal.
- Last Season: New York was 1-2-1 overall and 0-1-1 on the road. Marian Gaborik led the Rangers with five points (two goals, three assists) in the season series.
- The Rangers rank fourth with a 17-9-1 (35 pts) record on the road; the Canadiens rank third with a 17-6-4 (38 pts) mark at home
- The Rangers are 7-4-1 vs. the Northeast Division; the Canadiens are 8-6-0 against the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist is 10-8-2 with a 2.94 goals against average and one shutout in 21 career regular season appearances vs. Montreal; Martin Biron has posted a record of 14-10-1 with a 2.41 goals against average and two shutouts in 27 career regular season contests vs. Montreal
- Vinny Prospal has recorded a team-high, 15 goals, 19 assists and 34 points in 46 career regular season games vs. Montreal; Chris Drury has also tallied 19 assists in 43 career regular season contests vs. the Canadiens
- New York lists no former Canadiens on their roster
- Montreal lists two former Rangers on their roster: Scott Gomez (2007-08 – 2008-09); Alex Auld (2009-10)
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-seven 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 (9:37) on Thursday vs. New Jersey, and are now 5-26 (19.2%) in their last seven games. New York ranks 23rd overall (31-193, 16.1%) and 20th on the road (13-89, 14.6%). The Rangers are 2-8 (7:01) in five-on-three situations (last – 2/3 vs. NJD), 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 Devils scoreless in three shorthanded situations (4:12) on Thursday at MSG, and are now 111-127 (87.4%) over the last 42 games. New York ranks ninth overall (151-180, 83.9%) and 13th on the road (83-101, 82.2%). The Rangers are 7-9 (6:45) in three-on-five situations (last – 2/3 vs. NJD), 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 (1:08) on Thursday vs. New Jersey, and are now plus-three in 43, four-on-four situations (87:22). 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).
ORIGINAL SIX SINCE 2005-06
New York has posted a record of 43-23-12 (98 pts) against Original Six opponents since the 2005-06 season, including a 10-9-3 mark vs. Montreal over the span. The Rangers’ .628 winning percentage ranks third, trailing Detroit (.688%, 36-15-5) and Montreal (.630%, 63-35-10), and ahead of Boston (.514%, 48-45-17), Toronto (.509%, 47-45-18) and Chicago (.466%, 24-28-7).
The Rangers completed their 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 7-14-3 when trailing after the second period. The Rangers’ seven wins, 17 points and .292 winning percentage rank first 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 (24-23-7, 55 points in 2009-10), having tallied 15 more goals (153 this season, 138 last season) while allowing 17 fewer goals against (133 this season, 150 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
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS
The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (nine) and hits (1,545), are tied for first in road wins (17), eighth in wins (29), rank eighth in goals against (133), 10th in points (62), fourth in blocked shots (838), 11th in goals for (153), and are tied for seventh with a plus-20 goal differential.
The Blueshirts are tied for seventh in the league with a .577 winning percentage in one-goal games, posting a record of 15-7-4 in those contests. Their 15 wins are tied for fourth in the NHL.
New York is currently eight games over .500 with a 29-21-4 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 Rangers have had 17 different players credited with at least one game winning goal this season, which is the most in the NHL.
The Rangers were represented by Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal and Derek Stepan at the 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina last 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 in 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:
- Mats Zuccarello enters the contest with a three-game assist streak (five assists over the span), and has recorded nine points (two goals, seven assists) in the last nine games
- Marian Gaborik enters the contest with a four-game scoring streak (one goal, three assists over the span), and has recorded nine points (five goals, four assists) in the last seven games
- Artem Anisimov has registered six points (one goal, five assists) in the last seven games
- Brian Boyle has tallied six points (four goals, two assists) in the last nine games, including four points (two goals, two assists) in the last five contests
- Wojtek Wolski has recorded eight points (three goals, five assists) in 11 games as a Ranger, with seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last eight contests
- Henrik Lundqvist: 2 wins from 200 NHL career
- Marc Staal: 2 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)
- Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 24
- Erik Christensen (sprained knee on Dec. 29) – 16
- Alex Frolov (injured knee on Jan. 8, expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season) – 11
- Ruslan Fedotenko (shoulder separation on Jan. 19/appendectomy on Feb. 2, 3 weeks) – 6
Total Man-Games Lost: 202
- Feb. 1 – Assigned forward Evgeny Grachev to Connecticut (AHL)
- Feb. 3 – Assigned forward Kris Newbury to Connecticut (AHL)