No other teams in the race playing today.
As you know, the Rangers are 4-1 vs. the Isles this season. How they got there is a different story. When the Rangers have matched the Isles’ intensity and played their grinding game, they have handled the Islanders. When they have allowed the game to open up and traded chances with the Isles, they gave gotten into trouble within games, and in the only loss.
Here are the pre-game notes, courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Thursday, Mar. 31, 7:00 p.m.
Nassau Coliseum • Uniondale, NY
Rangers: 41-31-5 (87 pts)
Islanders: 29-36-12 (70 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Mar. 30
The Rangers will face-off against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum (7:00 p.m.), to close out their back-to-back set. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 41-31-5 (87 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Buffalo Sabres, 1-0, last night at HSBC Arena to end their season-high point streak at seven games (6-0-1 over the span), and are now 8-2-1 in their last 11 contests. The Islanders enter the contest with a 29-36-12 (70 pts) record to rank 14th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost their last three games. Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, Apr. 3, at Wells Fargo Center (12:30 p.m.), in the first game of a back-to-back set.
* TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Islanders
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), Al Trautwig and John Giannone (In-Game Reporters)
* Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Islanders
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. ISLANDERS:
* All-Time: 112-97-19-5 overall (65-37-11-4 at home, 47-60-8-1 on the road)
* 2010-11: Tonight is the sixth and final meeting this season, and the third at Nassau Coliseum. New York is 4-1-0 thus far, including a 1-1-0 mark on the road.
* Last Season: The Rangers were 3-2-1 overall and 1-1-1 at home. The Rangers’ power play converted at a 22.7% (5-22) success rate in the season series.
* The Blueshirts have notched 14 goals in 37 power play opportunities (37.8%) in their last nine games vs. the Islanders, including 9-20 (45.0%) in five meetings this season
* The Rangers rank eighth with a 23-15-1 (47 pts) record on the road; the Islanders rank 27th with an 16-17-5 (37 pts) mark at home
* The Rangers are 12-8-1 vs. the Atlantic Division; the Islanders are 5-12-4 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist is 21-9-5 with a 2.14 GAA and three shutouts in 36 career regular season games vs. the Islanders; Chad Johnson has yet to face the Islanders
* Marian Gaborik has registered 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) in 20 career regular season contests vs. the Islanders
* The Rangers list three former Islanders on their roster: Martin Biron (2009-10); Ruslan Fedotenko (2007-08); Bryan McCabe (1995-96 – 1997-98)
* The Islanders list four former Rangers on their roster: Al Montoya (2005-06 – 2007-08); Mike Mottau (2000-01 – 2001-02); P.A. Parenteau (2009-10); Doug Weight (1991-92 – 1992-93)
The Blueshirts have posted a plus-12 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 one power play opportunity (2:00) last night at Buffalo, and are now 13-53 (24.5%) in their last 16 games. New York ranks 15th overall (48-271, 17.7%) and 18th on the road (20-128, 15.6%). The Rangers are 4-12 (10:42) in five-on-three situations (last – 3/20 at PIT), and 0-6 (8:36) when four-on-three (last – 3/24 vs. OTT). 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 surrendered one goal to the Sabres in one shorthanded situation (0:38) last night at Buffalo. New York ranks 13th overall (206-248, 83.1%) and is tied for ninth on the road (111-133, 83.5%). 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 one four-on-four situation (2:00) last night at Buffalo, and are now plus-four in 62, four-on-four situations (123:31). 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).
The Rangers will conclude their 17th of 18 back-to-back sets tonight at Long Island. New York is 9-7-1 (3-2-0 at home, 6-5-1 on the road) in the first game of back-to-backs. The Blueshirts are 11-5-0 (4-2-0 at home, 7-3-0 on the road) in the second game this season, having out-scored their opponent, 43-26, in those games. Over the last two seasons, New York is 20-7-2 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including an 8-3-1 mark at MSG and 12-4-1 on the road over the span.
The Blueshirts are the only team in the NHL who are undefeated when leading after two periods, posting a record of 27-0-0 in those contests. The Rangers rank fourth in the league with a plus-21 goal differential in the third period (80 goals for, 59 goals against).
PLACE IN HISTORY
* The Rangers’ 41 wins are tied for 11th most in franchise history, just one win shy of moving into a tie for eighth
* The Blueshirts’ plus-12 rating on special teams is tied for 16th in team history
* Henrik Lundqvist’s 33 wins are tied for ninth in Rangers’ history, and two wins shy of moving into a tie for seventh
THE PUCK STOPS HERE
Henrik Lundqvist was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week for the period ending Mar. 27 after posting a 2-0-1 record, 0.32 goals against average, .987 save percentage and two shutouts in three games. On Saturday, Lundqvist stopped 26 shots in a 1-0 victory at Boston to establish a new career-high with his league leading, 11th shutout of the season, while appearing in his 400th career game. His 11 shutouts are tied for second in team history for most shutouts in a season, and are the most by a Ranger since John Ross Roach posted 13 shutouts in 1928-29. Lundqvist also posted his 30th win of the season on Mar. 18 vs. Montreal to extend his NHL record by recording 30 or more wins in six consecutive seasons to begin his career, and extend his franchise record by posting his sixth straight 30-win season. Lundqvist tied his career-high, making his 21st consecutive appearance (beginning on Feb. 11) earlier tonight at Buffalo. He last appeared in 21 straight games from Dec. 23, 2006 to Feb. 15, 2007.
New York won its 40th game of the season with a 1-0 victory vs. Florida on Mar. 22. It is the fifth time in the last six years the Rangers posted 40 or more wins in a season, marking only the second time in franchise history the team accomplished the feat (1968-69 – 1973-74). The Blueshirts are one of five Eastern Conference teams to have registered at least five seasons of 40+ wins since 2005-06 (Montreal, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh).
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 24 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 12 assists and ranks second with 17 points in 23 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 45 attempts (22.2%) in 14 games. McCabe has registered five power play points (one goal, four assists) over the span.
COMPARED TO LAST SEASON…
The Rangers have posted six more wins and seven more points compared to last season through 77 games (35-32-10, 80 points in 2009-10), having tallied 12 more goals (218 this season, 206 last season) while allowing 24 fewer goals against (182 this season, 206 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 (2,164), are tied for third in goals against (181), fifth in road wins (23), rank second in players with at least one game-winning goal (18), fourth in blocked shots (1,213), shorthanded goals (11) and shootout wins (eight), and fourth with a plus-37 goal differential.
THE HOT LIST:
* Henrik Lundqvist is 8-2-1 with a 1.61 GAA, .945 Sv% and three shutouts in the last 11 games
* Ryan Callahan has recorded 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in the last 20 contests
* Artem Anisimov has tallied 10 points (four goals, six assists) in the last 11 games
* Vinny Prospal has tallied 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in the last 16 contests
* Marc Staal has recorded four assists in his last five games
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
* Henrik Lundqvist: 400th career NHL game (3/26 at BOS)
* Derek Boogaard (shoulder, 12/9) – 47
* Alex Frolov (knee, 1/8) – 34
* Chris Drury (knee, 2/4) – 23
* Martin Biron (fractured collarbone, 2/28) – 13
Total Man-Games Lost: 306
* Mar. 29 – Agreed to terms with free agent forward Tommy Grant