It was pointed out to me by a highly-placed friend of the blog that last night was not only Brian Leetch’s 43rd birthday, but it was also the seven-year anniversary of the wonderful and classy trade of Leetch to Toronto.
So, the friend points out, last night should be the end of the “seven years of bad luck” the organization brought upon itself on 3/3/2004.
(editor’s note: the trade brought Maxim Kondratiev, Jarkko Immonen, a 1st round pick (later traded to Calgary – Calgary selected Kris Chucko) in 2004 and a 2nd round selection (Michael Sauer) in 2005. So it wasn’t a total loss).
Maybe tonight we will begin to see the seven-year curse turn? The statue of limitations is up. What’s that? It’s statute?
But bring your umbrellas in case any more of the sky falls. It’s a 7:30 start on MSG2.
Here are the pre-game notes from the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at OTTAWA SENATORS
Friday, Mar. 4, 7:30 p.m.
Scotiabank Place • Ottawa, Ontario
Rangers: 33-29-4 (70 pts)
Senators: 22-33-9 (53 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Mar. 3
The Rangers will face-off against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m.), in the second game of a back-to-back set. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 33-29-4 (70 pts). The Rangers enter tonight’s contest having been defeated by the Minnesota Wild, 3-1 last night at Madison Square Garden. The Senators enter the contest with a 22-33-9 (53 pts) record to rank 15th in the Eastern Conference, and have won four of their last six games. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, Mar. 6, at Madison Square Garden (12:30 p.m.), in their fifth game in eight days.
* TV: MSG 2
7:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with John Giannone and Mike Keenan
7:30 p.m. – Rangers at Senators
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), Stan Fischler (In-Game Reporter)
* Radio: 970 The Apple and newyorkrangers.com
7:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:30 p.m. – Rangers at Senators
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. SENATORS:
* All-Time: 31-33-3-1 overall (14-20-0-0 at home; 17-13-3-1 on the road)
* 2010-11: Tonight’s contest marks the third of four meetings this season, and the second of two at Scotiabank Place. The Blueshirts own a 1-1-0 record thus far, and are 1-0-0 on the road following a 5-3 victory at Ottawa on Dec. 9.
* Last Season: New York was 3-1-0 in the season series, including a 2-0-0 mark at Ottawa. The Rangers’ penalty kill held the Senators scoreless in 13 power play opportunities in their four meetings.
* New York ranks sixth with a 19-13-1 (39 pts) record on the road; Ottawa ranks 30th with an 11-17-5 (27 pts) mark at home
* The Rangers are 7-6-1 vs. the Northeast Division; the Senators are 6-7-1 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist is 9-11-0 with a 2.03 goals against average and one shutout in 21 career regular season appearances vs. Ottawa
* Bryan McCabe leads the Rangers with nine goals, 23 assists and 32 points in 64 career regular season contests vs. the Senators; Marian Gaborik has registered 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 11 career regular season games vs. Ottawa
* New York lists one former Senator on their roster: Vinny Prospal (1997-98 – 2000-01)
* Ottawa lists no former Rangers on their roster
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-eight rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which ranks sixth in the league.
* Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in four power play opportunities (8:00) last night vs. Minnesota, and are now 11-59 (18.6%) with the man advantage in their last 15 games. New York is tied for 22nd overall (39-236, 16.5%) and ranks 18th on the road (17-111, 15.3%). The Rangers are 2-10 (8:17) in five-on-three situations (last – 2/22 at CAR), and 0-4 (5:41) when four-on-three (last – 3/1 vs. MIN). 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 Wild in one shorthanded situation (1:28) last night at MSG, and have allowed only 10 power play goals against in the last 24 games (64-74, 86.5% over the span). New York ranks 11th overall (183-220, 83.2%) and sixth on the road (100-119, 84.0%). The Rangers are 7-10 (7:21) in three-on-five situations (last – 2/27 vs. TBL), and 4-6 (2:41) when three-on-four (last – 11/15 at PIT). Shorthanded goals for (10): 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); 2/27 vs. TBL (Prust).
* Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation last night vs. Minnesota, and are now plus-three in 49, four-on-four situations (98:57). The Rangers are even in one, three-on-three situation (2:00) this season (2/17 vs. LAK). 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).
NEW ACT ON BROADWAY
On Saturday, the Rangers acquired defenseman Bryan McCabe from Florida, in exchange for forward Tim Kennedy and a third round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. McCabe has eclipsed the 40-point plateau five times, including three seasons of 50 or more points, and was named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 2004. The 15-year NHL veteran skated in his 1,000th career game on Nov. 6, 2009 vs. Washington, and was named Florida’s captain on Sept. 23, 2009. McCabe made his Rangers’ debut on Sunday vs. Tampa Bay, and recorded his first point as a Blueshirt with a power play assist on Tuesday vs. Buffalo.
The Rangers will conclude their 15th of 18 back-to-back sets tomorrow at Ottawa. New York is 9-6-1 (3-2-0 at home, 6-4-1 on the road) in the first game of back-to-backs. The Blueshirts are 10-5-0 (4-2-0 at home, 6-3-0 on the road) in the second game this season, having out-scored their opponent, 39-25, in those games. Over the last two seasons, New York is 19-7-2 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including an 8-3-1 mark at MSG and 11-4-1 on the road over the span.
New York has posted a record of 7-20-3 when trailing after the second period. The Rangers’ 17 points lead the league, while their seven wins are tied for first in the NHL and their .233 winning percentage ranks fourth. The Blueshirts have out-shot their opponent, 178-97, in the third period of their last 15 games.
COMPARED TO LAST SEASON…
The Rangers have posted four more wins and three more points compared to last season through 66 games (29-28-9, 67 points in 2009-10), having tallied 12 more goals (182 this season, 170 last season) while allowing 16 fewer goals against (163 this season, 179 last season). New York has also shown a five-goal improvement while shorthanded compared to 2009-10 (10 this season, five last season).
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS
The Rangers lead the league in hits (1,875), are tied for first in shorthanded goals (10), rank fourth in blocked shots (1,038), fifth in road wins (19), sixth in penalty killing on the road (84.0%), are tied for seventh in goals against (163), and rank eighth with a plus-19 goal differential.
The Blueshirts have skated in 33 one-goal games this season, which is tied for the fifth most in the league, having posted a record of 17-12-4 in those contests. Their 17 wins are tied for seventh in the NHL. Twenty of the Rangers’ last 28 games have been decided by one goal, including 10 of their last 14 road games.
The Rangers have had 18 different players credited with at least one game winning goal this season, which is the most in the NHL.
THE HOT LIST:
* Ryan Callahan has recorded 10 points (six goals, four assists) in the last 14 games, with eight points (four goals, four assists) in the last nine contests
* Vinny Prospal has recorded seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last 10 contests, including five points (one goal, four assists) in the last five games
* Erik Christensen has tallied at least one point in three of the last four games, registering six points (three goals, three assists) in the last four games
* Brandon Prust has registered three points (two goals, one assist) in the last five games
* Ryan McDonagh has tallied three assists in the last six games
Henrik Lundqvist posted his 200th career win in a 4-3 shootout win vs. Los Angeles on Feb. 17, becoming only the fifth goalie in franchise history to reach the 200-win mark. He currently ranks fourth on the Rangers’ all-time wins list (202).
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
* Steve Eminger: 1 game from 400 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
* Henrik Lundqvist: 200th career NHL win (2/17 vs. LAK)
* Brandon Dubinsky: 300th career NHL game (3/3 vs. MIN)
* Derek Boogaard (injured shoulder on Dec. 9) – 36
* Alex Frolov (injured knee on Jan. 8, expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season) – 23
* Chris Drury (injured knee on Feb. 4, 6 weeks) – 12
* Marian Gaborik (concussion-like symptoms) – 5
* Martin Biron (fractured collarbone on Feb. 28) – 2
Total Man-Games Lost: 258
* Feb. 26: Acquired defenseman Bryan McCabe from Florida in exchange for forward Tim Kennedy and a third round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft
* Feb. 26: Assigned defenseman Michael Del Zotto to Connecticut (AHL)
* Feb. 28: Acquired forward John Mitchell from Toronto in exchange for a seventh round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft
* Feb. 28: Recalled goaltender Cam Talbot from Greenville (ECHL)
* Mar. 2: Recalled goaltender Chad Johnson from Connecticut (AHL)
* Mar. 2: Assigned goaltender Cam Talbot to Connecticut (AHL)
* Mar. 3: Assigned forward Kris Newbury to Connecticut (AHL)