Matinee at the new igloo, on NBC. You know what I’d really like to see today. A couple of Crosby Updates. Maybe even a Crosby interview. How great would that be? And a lot of talk about the Staal brothers. Lots and lots of that. Oh, and as much Mike Milbury opinions as they can spare. And a few dozen “Edzos.” And finally, maybe a thing about how Matt Cooke is misunderstood.
That piece of carcillo.
Well, actually, I would like to see all of that, because I’m at the state hoops tournament and I’m going to be scrambling to find a TV in a bar or restaurant where I can watch part or most of the game … and of course it is going to have to be someplace where the other 99.9 percent of the people don’t want to watch hoops.
Anyway, we don’t know about Lundqvist yet. We only know that the Rangers have taken care of the Penguins, pre-Sid-the-Skid injury and post. And that they’ve won five of six. And that we expect they will play well, especially on the road, and maybe even extra well if they have Ocho Cinco playing in Lundqvist’s place.
Here are today’s pre-game notes, from the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Sunday, Mar. 20, 12:30 p.m.
CONSOL Energy Center • Pittsburgh, PA
Rangers: 38-30-4 (80 pts)
Penguins: 41-22-8 (90 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Mar. 18
The Rangers will face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center (12:30 p.m.), in an Atlantic Division match-up. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 38-30-4 (80 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 6-3, on Friday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 5-1-0 in their last six games. The Penguins enter the contest with a 41-22-8 (90 pts) record to rank fourth in the Eastern Conference, and have registered at least one point in seven of their last eight games (5-1-2). Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, Mar. 22, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.).
* TV: NBC 12:30 p.m. – Rangers at Penguins
* Radio: 970 The Apple and newyorkrangers.com
12:00 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
12:30 p.m. – Rangers at Penguins
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. PENGUINS:
* All-Time: 114-97-23-8 overall (64-46-9-3 at home, 50-51-14-5 on the road)
* 2010-11: Tonight is the sixth and final meeting this season, and the third at Pittsburgh. New York is 3-1-1 thus far and 2-0-0 at Pittsburgh. Four of their five meetings have been decided by two goals or less.
* Last Season: The Rangers were 1-4-1 overall, including a 1-2-0 mark at Pittsburgh. Four of their six meetings were decided by two goals or less, with two that required overtime.
* The Rangers rank eighth with a 21-14-1 (43 pts) record on the road; the Penguins are tied for sixth with a 22-12-2 (46 pts) mark at home
* New York is 11-8-1 vs. the Atlantic Division; Pittsburgh is 8-7-3 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist is 19-13-5 with a 2.42 GAA and two shutouts in 37 career regular season games vs. Pittsburgh
* Vinny Prospal has recorded 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 49 games vs. Pittsburgh; Bryan McCabe leads all team defensemen with 11 goals, 18 assists and 29 points in 48 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 two former Rangers on their roster: Pascal Dupuis (2006-07); Alex Kovalev (1992-93 – 1998-99, 2002-03 – 2003-04)
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-12 rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which is tied for third in the league.
* Power Play: The Rangers tallied one goal in five power play opportunities (7:45) on Friday vs. Montreal, and are now 11-42 (26.2%) in their last 11 games. New York is tied for 13th overall (46-259, 17.8%) and ranks 21st on the road (18-119, 15.1%). The Rangers are 3-11 (9:00) in five-on-three situations (last – 3/15 vs. NYI), and 0-5 (7:02) when four-on-three (last – 3/18 vs. MTL). 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 yielded one goal to the Canadiens in four shorthanded situations (6:38) on Friday at MSG. New York ranks 13th overall (200-241, 83.0%) and seventh on the road (107-128, 83.6%). 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 (11): 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); 3/15 vs. NYI (Prust).
* Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in two, four-on-four situations (1:48) on Friday vs. Montreal, and are now plus-four in 59, four-on-four situations (116:05). The Rangers are even in one, three-on-three situation (2:00) this season (2/17 vs. LAK). Four-on-four goals for (7): 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); 3/4 at OTT (Stepan); 3/6 vs. PHI (Zuccarello). Four-on-four goals allowed (3): 10/15 vs. TOR (Kessel); 1/1 at TBL (Thompson); 3/15 vs. NYI (Moulson).
Rangers’ defenseman Marc Staal has faced off against his younger brother, Pittsburgh forward Jordan Staal, 22 times in his career, amassing a 10-10-2 record with eight points (two goals, six assists) and 20 penalty minutes. Jordan has registered a 12-5-5 mark behind six goals and seven assists, along with 24 penalty minutes in those 22 games.
New York notched five goals in the first period vs. Montreal on Friday, which is a season-high for goals in a single period, and tallied three goals in a 67-second span. The last time the Rangers scored at least five goals in a period was on 3/17/07 vs. Boston (six goals in Period 2), and the last time the Rangers tallied at least five goals in the first period of a game was on 12/15/99 vs. Los Angeles (six goals). It was the first time in 25 years the Blueshirts notched at least five goals in a period vs. Montreal, having last done so on 1/10/86 (five goals in Period 2). The Rangers’ three goals in 67 seconds is the fastest three goals by the Blueshirts since they notched three in 65 seconds of the first period on 11/8/01 at Long Island.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Blueshirts have tallied six or more goals in each of their last three home games, recording 19 goals over the span. The last time the Rangers tallied 19 or more combined goals in three consecutive home games was 12/26/95 to 1/10/96 (20 goals). Friday’s contest vs. Montreal was the 10th time this season New York recorded six or more goals in a game, marking the 26th time in franchise history they accomplished the feat and first time since they tallied six or more goals in 11 games during the 1996-97 season.
Henrik Lundqvist posted his 30th win of the season on Friday vs. Montreal to extend his NHL record by recording 30 or more wins in six consecutive seasons to begin his career. He also extended his franchise record by posting his sixth straight 30-win season.
Rangers’ forwards Ryan Callahan and Vinny Prospal rank first and second on the team in scoring, respectively, since returning from injury in early February. Callahan leads the team with 12 goals and 20 points in 20 games since returning from injury on Feb. 1 vs. Pittsburgh, following a 19-game hiatus due to a broken hand suffered on Dec. 15 at Pittsburgh. Prospal leads the team with 11 assists and ranks second with 16 points in 19 games since he made his season debut on Feb. 3 vs. New Jersey after missing the first 53 games of the season with a knee injury.
Since acquiring defenseman Bryan McCabe on Feb. 26, the Rangers power play has tallied eight goals in 34 attempts (23.5%) in nine games. McCabe has registered four power play points (one goal, three assists) over the span.
COMPARED TO LAST SEASON…
The Rangers have posted seven more wins and nine more points compared to last season through 72 games (31-32-9, 71 points in 2009-10), having tallied 24 more goals (210 this season, 186 last season) while allowing 20 fewer goals against (177 this season, 197 last season). New York has also shown a six-goal improvement while shorthanded compared to 2009-10 (11 this season, five last season).
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS
The Rangers lead the league in hits (2,045) and players with at least one game-winning goal (18), rank second in shorthanded goals (11), fourth in blocked shots (1,144), seventh in goals against (177) and road wins (21), are tied for first in shootout wins (eight), and rank fifth with a plus-33 goal differential.
THE HOT LIST:
* Henrik Lundqvist enters the contest with a three-game winning streak, and is 5-1-0 in the last six games
* Vinny Prospal enters the contest with a Rangers’ season-high, eight-game scoring streak (two goals, eight assists over the span), and has tallied 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in the last 11 contests
* Ryan Callahan has recorded 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) in the last 20 games, including 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) in the last 15 contests
* Marian Gaborik enters the contest with a four-game scoring streak (four goals, one assist over the span)
* Erik Christensen enters the contest with a three-game scoring streak (two goals, three assists over the span), and has registered at least one point in six of his last eight games (five goals, six assists)
* Artem Anisimov has tallied seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last six games
* Brandon Prust enters the contest with a three-game scoring streak (one goal, two assists over the span)
* Derek Boogaard (shoulder, 12/9) – 42
* Alex Frolov (knee, 1/8) – 29
* Chris Drury (knee, 2/4) – 18
* Martin Biron (fractured collarbone, 2/28) – 8
Total Man-Games Lost: 284
* Mar. 16 – Agreed to terms with forward Ryan Bourque and defenseman Dylan McIlrath