These next two games, at home against non-playoff bound teams, could really put your heroes in a solid playoff position before they hit the road for four straight. They’ve won four in a row, six of seven, and are on a three-game home winning streak. Imagine that? That piece of cooke is gone for a while. Life is good for Blueshirts fans.
Scoreboard watching tonight:
Buffalo Baby Buffaloes-Habs
Air Canada Leaves-Wilds
I’m headed to MSG tonight, then one final weekend of state hoops, then it’s all hockey for the final two weeks of the regular season right through the finals (just wanted to see if you’re paying attention).
Here are the pre-game notes, from the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS
Tuesday, Mar. 22, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
Rangers: 39-30-4 (82 pts)
Panthers: 29-33-10 (68 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Mar. 20
The Rangers will face-off against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to begin a two-game homestand. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 39-30-4 (82 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-2, on Sunday at CONSOL Energy Center to extend their season-high winning streak to four games, and are now 6-1-0 in their last seven contests. The Panthers enter the contest with a 29-33-10 (68 pts) record to rank 13th in the Eastern Conference, and have registered at least one point in four of their last six games (3-2-1). Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, Mar. 24, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to close out their two-game homestand.
- TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig and Mike Keenan
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Panthers
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
- Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. Panthers
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. PANTHERS:
- All-Time: 37-25-6-4 overall (18-13-4-0 at home; 19-12-2-4 on the road)
- 2010-11: Tonight is the fourth and final meeting this season, and the second at Madison Square Garden. New York is 1-2-0 overall, and 0-1-0 at home following a 4-3 loss vs. Florida on Jan. 25. The Rangers power play is 2-8 (25.0%) in the season series.
- Last Season: New York was 3-1-0 overall and 1-1-0 at home. The Rangers out-scored the Panthers, 12-6, in the season series.
- The Rangers rank 23rd with a 17-16-3 (37 pts) record at home; the Panthers rank 27th with a 14-18-2 (30 pts) mark on the road
- New York is 7-9-2 vs. the Southeast Division; Florida is 7-9-1 vs. the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist is 11-6-1 with a 1.90 goals against average and four shutouts in 18 career regular season games vs. Florida; Chad Johnson has yet to face the Panthers
- Vinny Prospal leads the team with 14 goals, 31 assists and 45 points in 57 career regular season contests vs. Florida
- New York lists three former Panthers on their roster: Steve Eminger (2008-09); Bryan McCabe (2008-09 – 2010-11); Vinny Prospal (2000-01)
- Florida lists one former Ranger on their roster: Patrick Rissmiller (2008-09)
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-13 rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) this season, which is tied for fourth in the league.
- Power Play: The Rangers tallied two goals in three power play opportunities (7:03) on Sunday at Pittsburgh, and are now 13-45 (28.9%) in their last 12 games. New York ranks 13th overall (48-263, 18.2%) and 11th at home (28-140, 20.0%). The Rangers are 4-12 (10:42) in five-on-three situations (last – 3/20 at PIT), and 0-5 (7:02) when four-on-three (last – 3/18 vs. MTL). Shorthanded goals allowed (5): 11/20 at MIN (Cullen); 12/5 vs. OTT (Kelly); 1/2 at FLA (Weiss); 1/16 vs. PHI (Richards); 3/20 at PIT (Kunitz).
- Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Penguins scoreless in three shorthanded situations (6:00) on Sunday at Pittsburgh. New York ranks 12th overall (203-244, 83.2%) and 19th at home (93-113, 82.3%). 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 skate in a four-on-four situation on Sunday at Pittsburgh, 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).
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.
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. BOS (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. LAK (six goals). It was the first time in 25 years the Blueshirts notched at least five goals in a period vs. MTL, 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 NYI.
Henrik Lundqvist faced 40 shots in a 5-2 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday, marking the fourth time this season he faced 40 or more shots in a game. He is 3-1-0 with a 1.51 goals against average, a .964 save percentage and one shutout in those contests.
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 13 goals and 23 points in 21 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 20 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 10 goals in 37 attempts (27.0%) in 10 games. McCabe has registered five power play points (one goal, four assists) over the span.
COMPARED TO LAST SEASON…
The Rangers have posted seven more wins and nine more points compared to last season through 73 games (32-32-9, 73 points in 2009-10), having tallied 24 more goals (215 this season, 191 last season) while allowing 18 fewer goals against (179 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 (2,084) and players with at least one game-winning goal (18), are tied for first in shootout wins (eight), second in shorthanded goals (11), fourth in road wins (22), rank fourth in blocked shots (1,160), seventh in goals against (179), and fourth with a plus-36 goal differential.
THE HOT LIST:
- Henrik Lundqvist enters the contest with a four-game winning streak, and is 6-1-0 in the last seven games
- Ryan Callahan enters the contest with a three-game goal/point streak (three goals, three assists over the span), and has recorded 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in the last 16 contests
- Marian Gaborik enters the contest with a five-game scoring streak (five goals, one assist over the span), and a three-game goal streak (four goals)
- Erik Christensen enters the contest with a four-game scoring streak (two goals, four assists over the span), and has registered at least one point in seven of his last nine games (five goals, seven assists)
- Vinny Prospal has tallied 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in the last 12 contests
- Artem Anisimov enters the contest with a three-game assist/point streak (two goals, three assists over the span), and has tallied nine points (four goals, five assists) in the last seven games
- Brandon Dubinsky enters the contest with a three-game assist/point streak (one goal, four assists over the span)
- Mats Zuccarello enters the contest with a three-game assist streak (three assists)
- Derek Boogaard (shoulder, 12/9) – 43
- Alex Frolov (knee, 1/8) – 30
- Chris Drury (knee, 2/4) – 19
- Martin Biron (fractured collarbone, 2/28) – 9
- Marc Staal (injured) – 1
Total Man-Games Lost: 289
- Mar. 16 – Agreed to terms with forward Ryan Bourque and defenseman Dylan McIlrath