You won’t have Doc Emrick to kick around for this one. Feel free to rip on Joe Micheletti, though. Anyone else still miss JD?
Tonight’s pregame notes, courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at ATLANTA THRASHERS
Friday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Philips Arena • Atlanta, GA
Rangers: 29-23-4 (62 pts)
Thrashers: 24-22-10 (58 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Feb. 9
The Rangers will conclude a three-game road trip when they face-off against the Atlanta Thrashers tonight at Philips Arena (7:30 p.m.). The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 29-23-4 (62 pts). The Rangers enter tonight’s contest having been defeated by the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2, on Monday at Joe Louis Arena. Fourteen of the Blueshirts’ last 18 games have been decided by one goal (6-6-2 in those games), including seven of their last 10 road games (4-2-1 in those games). The Thrashers enter the contest with a 24-22-10 (58 pts) record to rank ninth in the Eastern Conference, and have lost 11 of their last 13 games (2-7-4). Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday at Madison Square Garden (3 p.m.) in an Atlantic Division matchup.
• TV: MSG 2
7:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
7:30 p.m. – Rangers at Thrashers
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst)
• Radio: 970 The Apple and newyorkrangers.com
7:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:30 p.m. – Rangers at Thrashers
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. THRASHERS:
• All-Time: 19-13-1-9 overall (7-8-1-5 at home, 12-5-0-4 on the road)
• 2010-11: Tonight marks the third of four meetings this season, and second of two at Philips Arena. New York is 1-1-0 thus far, following a 3-2 shootout victory at Atlanta on Jan. 22.
• 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.
• Six of the last nine meetings between the Rangers and Thrashers have required overtime, and five of their last eight have ended in the shootout
• New York ranks sixth with a 17-11-1 (35 pts) record on the road; Atlanta ranks 21st with a 12-11-5 (29 pts) mark at home
• New York is 5-7-2 vs. the Southeast Division; Atlanta is 4-6-1 vs. the Atlantic Division
• Henrik Lundqvist is 7-3-6 with a 2.14 goals against average and one shutout in 17 career regular season appearances vs. Atlanta; Martin Biron is 6-11-0-0 with a 3.31 goals against average and three shutouts in 18 career regular season contests vs. Atlanta
• Vinny Prospal has registered a team-high, 21 goals, 36 assists and 57 points in 52 career regular season contests vs. Atlanta; his 57 points against Atlanta is a career-high
• 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-seven rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which ranks fifth in the league.
• Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in five power play opportunities (7:40) on Monday at Detroit. New York ranks 24th overall (31-202, 15.4%) and 23rd on the road (13-98, 13.3%). The Rangers are 2-9 (7:45) in five-on-three situations (last – 2/7 at DET), 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 Red Wings scoreless in two shorthanded situations (4:00) on Monday at Detroit, and have allowed only two power play goals against in the last 14 games (36-38, 94.7% over the span). New York ranks seventh overall (155-184, 84.2%) and is tied for ninth on the road (87-105, 82.9%). 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 skate in a four-on-four situation on Monday at Detroit, 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).
40 IN FOUR
Brandon Dubinsky registered his 40th point of the season with a goal at Detroit on Monday, marking the fourth consecutive season he has reached the 40-point plateau to begin his career. Dubinsky is currently two goals, six assists and four points shy of his career-highs in goals (20, 2009-10), assists (28, 2008-09) and points (44, 2009-10).
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. The Rangers’ next back-to-back set is Feb. 17 vs. Los Angeles and Feb. 18 at New Jersey.
New York has posted a record of 7-16-3 when trailing after the second period. The Rangers’ seven wins, 17 points and .269 winning percentage rank first in the NHL. The Blueshirts have out-shot their opponent, 91-26, in the third period of their last seven games.
COMPARED TO LAST SEASON…
The Rangers have registered four more wins and five more points compared to last season through 56 games (25-24-7, 55 points in 2009-10), having tallied 12 more goals (155 this season, 143 last season) while allowing 16 fewer goals against (138 this season, 154 last season). New York has also shown a four-goal improvement while shorthanded compared to 2009-10 (nine this season, five last season).
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS
The Rangers lead the league in shorthanded goals (nine) and hits (1,589), are tied for first in road wins (17), ninth in road penalty killing (82.9%), rank seventh in penalty killing (84.2%), eighth in goals against (138), fourth in blocked shots (868), and are tied for seventh with a plus-17 goal differential.
The Blueshirts are tied for ninth in the league with a .556 winning percentage in one-goal games, posting a record of 15-8-4 in those contests. Their 27 one-goal games and 15 wins are tied for fourth 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.
LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
The Rangers currently lead the NHL with 1,589 hits and rank fourth with 868 blocked shots. Dan Girardi currently leads the league with 143 blocked shots, while Brian Boyle (10th, 161 hits) and Ryan Callahan (21st, 140 hits) rank among the league leaders in hits.
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
THE HOT LIST:
• The Rangers penalty kill has allowed only two power play goals against in the last 14 games (36-38, 94.7% over the span)
• New York has out-shot their opponent, 91-26, in the third period of their last seven games
• Mats Zuccarello has recorded nine points (two goals, seven assists) in the last 11 games, including five assists in the last five contests
• Marian Gaborik has recorded 10 points (five goals, five assists) in the last nine games
• Wojtek Wolski has recorded nine points (three goals, six assists) in 13 games as a Ranger, with eight points (two goals, six assists) in the last 10 contests
• Artem Anisimov has registered six points (one goal, five assists) in the last nine games
• Brian Boyle has tallied four points (two goals, two assists) in the last seven contests
The Rangers were represented by Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal and Derek Stepan at the 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina on Jan. 30. 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.
• Henrik Lundqvist: 2 wins from 200 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
• Marc Staal: 300th career NHL game (2/7 at DET)
• Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 26
• Alex Frolov (injured knee on Jan. 8, expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season) – 13
• Ruslan Fedotenko (shoulder separation on Jan. 19/appendectomy on Feb. 2, 3 weeks) – 8
• Chris Drury (injured knee on Feb. 3) – 2
Total Man-Games Lost: 210
• Feb. 3 – Assigned forward Kris Newbury to Connecticut (AHL)