Panthers at Rangers tonight

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Pre-game notes from the Rangers:

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS
Thursday, Jan. 5, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden – New York, New York
Rangers: 24-9-4 (52 pts)
Panthers: 20-12-7 (47 pts)

* All information through NHL games on Jan. 3

TONIGHT’S GAME:
The Rangers will face-off against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to begin a back-to-back set. The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and rank first in the league overall, with a record of 24-9-4 (52 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, on Monday in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, and have won seven of their last eight games. New York has posted a record of 21-6-2 since Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark. The Panthers enter the contest with a 20-12-7 (47 pts) record to rank third in the Eastern Conference, and have lost each of their last four road games. This will be the second meeting in six days between the Rangers and Panthers, with New York having defeated Florida, 4-1, on Friday at BankAtlantic Center to take a 2-1-0 series lead. Following the  contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, Jan. 6, at CONSOL Energy Center (7:00 p.m.), to conclude their back-to-back set.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:
* TV: MSG Network

6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig and Brian Leetch
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
Broadcaster: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)

RANGERS vs. PANTHERS:
* All-Time: 40-26-6-4 overall (20-13-4-0 at home; 20-13-2-4 on the road)
* 2011-12: Tonight is the fourth and final meeting this season, and the second of two at Madison Square Garden. New York is 2-1-0 overall and 1-0-0 at home. The Rangers have out-scored the Panthers, 11-4, in the series. The Blueshirts are 2-8 (25.0%) on the power play and 14-15 (93.3%) on the penalty kill in three games. Derek Stepan leads all skaters with three goals and four points in the season series, while Ryan McDonagh has tallied a series-high, three assists. Henrik Lundqvist is 2-1-0 with a 1.34 GAA and .954 Sv% in three games.
* Last Season: New York was 2-2-0 overall, with a 1-1-0 mark at home. Three of their four meetings resulted in a shutout, including two for the Rangers. New York’s power play tallied two goals in nine attempts (22.2%) in the season series. Brandon Prust and Derek Stepan each notched a team-high, two goals, while Henrik Lundqvist posted a record of 2-1-0 with a 1.35 GAA, .949 Sv% and two shutouts in three appearances.
* The Rangers have won seven of their last 10 games against the Panthers, having out-scored Florida, 28-14, over the span
* New York ranks 14th with an 11-3-2 (24 pts) record at home; Florida ranks eighth with a 10-8-2 (22 pts) mark on the road
* The Rangers have posted an 8-2-1 record vs. Southeast Division opponents; the Panthers are 5-4-1 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 14-7-1 record with a 1.74 GAA and five shutouts in 22 career regular season contests vs. Florida; Martin Biron is 7-12-1-0 with a 2.68 GAA in 21 career regular season games vs. the Panthers
* Brad Richards leads the Rangers with 16 goals, 27 assists and 43 points in 49 career regular season contests vs. Florida; Derek Stepan has tallied five goals and six points in seven career regular season games vs. the Panthers
* New York lists one former Panther on their roster: Steve Eminger (2008-09)
* Florida lists one former Ranger on their roster: Mikael Samuelsson (2001-02 – 2002-03)

SPECIAL TEAMS:
The Rangers rank seventh in the NHL with a plus-five rating on special teams [(PPG+SHG)-(PPGA+SHGA)]. New York is 12-65 (18.5%) with the man advantage in the last 19 games. The Blueshirts’ penalty kill has held their opponent scoreless in each of their last four games (11-11, 100.0%), and are 36-40 (90.0%) with four shorthanded goals in the last 13 contests. The Rangers are tied for third in the NHL with five shorthanded goals. The Blueshirts have posted a record of 14-1-2 in games when tallying a power play goal, and are 16-4-2 when holding their opponent scoreless on the power play.
* Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in one power play attempt (0:49) on Monday at Philadelphia. New York is tied for 21st overall (21-139, 15.1%) and ninth at home (14-70, 20.0%). The Rangers are 2-12 (8:51) in five-on-three situations (last – 12/23 vs. PHI), and 0-4 (3:46) when four-on-three (last – 11/3 vs. ANA). Shorthanded goals allowed (3): 12/5 vs. TOR (Steckel); 12/8 vs. TBL (Moore); 12/17 at PHX (Korpikoski).
* Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Flyers scoreless in two shorthanded situations (2:49) on Monday at Philadelphia. New York ranks sixth overall (113-131, 86.3%) and seventh at home (47-54, 87.0%). The Rangers are 5-6 (3:26) in three-on-five situations (last – 12/17 at PHX), and 0-1 (1:17) when three-on-four (last – 10/7 at LAK). Shorthanded goals for (5): 10/20 at CGY (Prust); 12/8 vs. TBL (Anisimov); 12/10 at BUF (Hagelin); 12/10 at BUF (Callahan); 12/20 at NJD (Hagelin).
* Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in two four-on-four situations (2:17) on Monday at Philadelphia. The Rangers are plus-three in 38 four-on-four situations (65:53), and even in one three-on-three situation (0:01). Four-on-four goals for (3): 10/18 at VAN (Gaborik); 10/20 at CGY (McDonagh); 10/27 vs. TOR (Girardi). Four-on-four goals allowed (0).

BACK-TO-BACKS
The Rangers will begin their sixth of 14 back-to-back sets this season tonight vs. Florida at Madison Square Garden. New York has posted a record of 4-0-1 (2-0-0 at home, 2-0-1 on the road) in the first game of the set, and are 4-0-1 (4-0-0 at home, 0-0-1 on the road) in the second game. Since 2009-10, New York is 25-8-3 in the second game of back-to-back sets, with a 13-3-1 mark at MSG and 12-5-2 on the road over the span. Henrik Lundqvist has started on consecutive days 56 times in his career, posting a record of 35-14-7 with a 1.82 GAA, .935 Sv% and six shutouts in the second game. The Rangers will complete the back-to-back set tomorrow at Pittsburgh.

PLACE IN HISTORY
The Rangers’ .703 winning percentage (24-9-4) is the team’s best start through 37 games since their 1993-94 Stanley Cup Championship season (26-8-3, .743 win%), and is tied for fourth best start in franchise history. *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau

HOME SWEET HOME
The Blueshirts’ 11-3-2 (24 pts) mark at MSG is their best start at home through 16 games since 1995-96 (12-2-2, 26 pts).

WORLD JUNIOR UPDATE
Rangers’ prospects J.T. Miller (USA) and Peter Ceresnak (Slovakia) are currently competing at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship in Alberta, Canada.
* Miller is tied for eighth on USA in scoring with four points (two goals, two assists), fifth with a plus-three rating and ranks sixth with 16 shots on goal. Team USA defeated Latvia, 12-2, on Tuesday, and will complete their tournament play against Switzerland in a relegation round match-up today.
* Ceresnak has registered two shots on goal in five contests with Slovakia, who was defeated by Finland, 8-5, in a Quarterfinal match-up on Monday. Slovakia will face-off against the Czech Republic in the Fifth Place game today.

MEASURING UP
The Rangers rank among the league leaders in several statistical categories, including…
* T-1st in points (52)
* 1st in win% (.703)
* T-2nd in wins (24)
* T-2nd in regulation/overtime wins (23)
* 1st in fewest regulation losses (nine)
* 2nd in fewest goals against (76)
* 2nd in GAA (2.05)
* 3rd in hits (1,010)
* 7th in blocked shots (598)
* 3rd in +/- rating (plus-30)
* 4th in goal differential (plus-31)

QUICK HITS:
* The last time the Rangers sat atop the Eastern Conference standings this late into the season was Mar. 15, 1996 (game #68). *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
* New York has registered at least one point in 23 of their last 29 games (21-6-2), dating back to Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark; The Rangers have out-scored their opponent, 94-61, during the stretch
* New York is 7-1-1 when leading after the first period and 15-0-2 when leading after the second
* The Rangers lead the league with a .300 win% when trailing after two periods (3-6-1), and their three third period comeback victories are tied for sixth in the NHL
* New York leads the NHL with a .786 win% when out-shooting their opponent (11-3-0)
* The Rangers lead the league when scoring first, posting an 18-1-1 mark (.900 win%) in those contests; Their 18 wins rank third in the NHL

INDIVIDUAL NOTES:
* Henrik Lundqvist enters the contest with a five-game winning streak, posting a 1.20 GAA, .962 Sv% and one shutout over the span
* Lundqvist has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 19 games this season, and is 15-4-1 with a 1.74 GAA, .942 Sv% and two shutouts over the last two months (20 games)
* Lundqvist ranks third in the NHL in GAA (1.92), fourth in Sv% (.937) and is tied for fifth in wins (17) and shutouts (three)
* Martin Biron has held opponents to two or fewer goals in six of his nine starts this season
* Marian Gaborik has tallied eight points (seven goals, one assist) and a plus-seven rating in the last eight games
* Gaborik is tied for second in the NHL with 22 goals
* Michael Del Zotto has tallied 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in the last 18 games, including six points (two goals, four assists) in the last six contests
* Del Zotto leads all NHL defensemen and ranks second in the league overall with a plus-25 rating
* Ryan Callahan enters the contest with a five-game point streak (one goal, five assists over the span), including a four-game assist streak (five assists)
* Callahan has recorded 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in the last 19 games
* Brandon Dubinsky enters the contest with a three-game point streak (two goals, one assist over the span), and has tallied six points (three goals, three assists) in the last six games
* Brad Richards has notched the game-winning goal in two straight games entering tonight’s contest, and now ranks second in the NHL with six game-winning goals
* Marc Staal made his season debut in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Monday after missing the first 36 games of the season with a concussion suffered last season
* Carl Hagelin has tallied four points (three goals, one assist) in the last four games, and four goals in the last seven contests
* Stu Bickel has tallied four assists in seven games since being recalled on Dec. 18
* Anton Stralman has tallied four assists in the last six games, has posted a plus-nine rating in the last seven and has logged 20:00+ of ice time in six of the last nine contests

MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
* Brandon Dubinsky: 2 points from 200th NHL career
* Marian Gaborik: 1 assist from 300th NHL career
* Dan Girardi: 3 assists from 100th NHL career

INJURIES:
* Wojtek Wolski (groin, 11/3) – 26
* Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) – 13
* Steve Eminger (shoulder, 12/17) – 7
Total Man-Games Lost: 118

RECENT TRANSACTIONS:
* Dec. 28 – Assigned defenseman Tim Erixon to Connecticut (AHL)
* Dec. 31 – Assigned forward Sean Avery to Connecticut (AHL)


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76 Comments

  1. Thanks, m….Had no clue Cooke had to deal with that. And he really wants to clean up his act, I’ll be happy to remove him from my carcillo list….

  2. Sorry, wicky, just catching up…I used to have TWC until day before yesterday….I’ve decided not to wait this time. Last time they had similar peeing contest (2005), it took 2 months. Luckily, there was no hockey that year. Besides, I’ve been looking for an excuse to switch to FiOS for a while.

  3. anyway i can watch this even though i live about 15 mins away from msg

    thanks time warner and msg network

  4. The more I learn about this incident near Geno’s, the more furious I get…

    By the way, have I mentioned how much I hate Philly lately?

  5. I’ll say this in hopes nobody takes offense, re: All Star voting.

    Rangers fans are passionate fans. When the Rangers travel to Florida, Tampa, Phoenix, LA, Washington, Carolina and now even Philadelphia, the fans show up.

    But we don’t sit around stuffing All Star ballots for our team. Tim Thomas, fine, Jim Reimer, Fine, but Carey Price getting more votes than Hank is a joke.

    Gabby, Hank and Girardi deserve to be All Stars this year, all three of em should be on the team.

    Lastly, the next number of games are: Florida, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. We put together a good strong run here and bump our win total to 29/30 wins before the middle of January, 30-10? 20 games over? Who would of thunk it?

  6. Now Rodent says if Torts turns down the money, he’ll give it to the guys that were beat up. That sounds better.

  7. NYR_FAN – The Philly fans are actually doing a great job trying to get these idiots who did this. I think over the last couple of years, they realize that the stereotype they get is deserved, but now since their teams are doing well (especially the Phillies) a lot of those idiots have been priced out from going to games.

    So the fans that do go to games don’t want these idiots to ruin their reputation and would be more than happy to turn the guys in if they find him.

    As I said, at the game I had no issues with Philly fans. Most of them were loud, rowdy, and said things to my friend and I that were pretty typical and hilarious. But we laughed, they knew we had a good sense of humor and we took jabs back and forth at each other and ended up having some good hockey convo with them. There were a couple of idiots at the game, but even the Flyers fans couldn’t believe how idiotic they were being. Plus we can’t act like NY fans have never started fights because. Jets fans especially (and I’m a Jets fan) are definitely guilty of it.

    Me personally? I’ve never understood why people feel the need to fight at a sporting event. It’s a team you support and you have no direct impact on the game. It’s almost like they need to make themselves feel like they actually have some importance in the sport since they were never good enough to cut it out there on the playing field.

  8. This carsillo Cooke penguins marketing “tear jerking” story didn’t change my opinion on him at all. If a guy and I mean ANY guy, dedicated his entire career to INTENTIONALY take out, hurt and injured people and do it again and again after seeing the “fruits” of his “job”, he is in a same category for me as a contract killer or mob enforcer. He didn’t changed inside, didn’t find God all of the sudden (like some prison’s dwellers-despicable criminals), just realized, as incredibly stupid, as he is , that he IS in rat’s corner finally, his destroyer career is over after he was getting 2nd, 3rd…,n chance and he can’t do anything else for living. Then he start playing hockey…There should be boundaries of personal responsibility for you action and damage you inflicted. IMO, he and a hockey become incompatible.
    What really surprise me in this article is mentioned son who is18. Cooke is 33. Do the math. That’s characterizing him too…isn’t it?
    I feel for his sick wife, I really do, like I do for all suffering people and even more, I’m totally against bloodthirsty idiotic comments about physical implementation on him, but there is not credible link between that unfortunate event and his transformation or inner self. I would prefer him to change at least after talking to Savard wife. Just as great Stanislavsky said: “I Do Not Believe!”

  9. Also, I don’t want any of our stars going to the ASG. It’s a meaningless game and I’d rather have them rest for the run down the stretch.

    Send EC to the ASG. It’s perfect for him. So much open ice for him to stickhandle and with nobody playing defense, he’ll score 4 goals with that shot. And imagine what the Skills Competition will look like with his shootout skills!!!

    SEND EC TO THE ASG!!!

  10. CT – anyone who eats at MomoFuku, ever, should receive infinite lunch points. Oh man that place is great.

  11. Well I can’t watch tonight. My fave team having a great season and I have to suffer at the hands of Dolan. I hate him. If anyone could help with a link I would greatly appreciate it.

  12. pepper – Not sure they deserved it. I took my family to the Alumni game and had idiots walk up and yell in our faces when we were just standing on the bathroom line between periods.

    Also, I wasn’t doing anything other than enjoying the game when some 75 – 80 year old guy points in my face and yelled something incoherent when LeClair scored.

    Philly fans are idiots and no one needs to deserve to be beaten for attending a sporting event for them to be boligerant.

  13. 4ever – I understand your stance and I always believe in the thought that “a leopard can’t change it’s spots”, but you have to at least give him some credit for trying. I won’t give him benefit of the doubt if he does something stupid again, but I will give him credit for trying to clean up his game and proving it in the stat line with less PIMs and less cheap hits.

  14. I sure liked watching Messier, Leetch, Graves and Richter play in the All Star game. I think it’s good for the fans and for the team to have as many players there as possible.

  15. I agree with you Jonny D, on the Philly fans, and NYR’s at the ASG.

    I’ve always said, I don’t like our guys there. Especially goalies, because they’re the only players that actually have to play the game, as opposed to the skaters who really only half ass it.

    Hate the ASG!

  16. vogs – it’s cool for sure, but what if Henrik pulls a DiPi and gets hurt in the Skills Comp and is out for the second half of the season? People haven’t cared much about the ASG since the 90s anyway. It’s a big event for the league so they can show off their top names to otehr cities, I get that, but from a selfish perspective, I don’t want the top Rangers going.

  17. The victims likely were looking for a beat down and they received it. You cannot expect to go into enemy territory and talk smack and get away with it.

  18. Jonny,
    What you basically saying are that we have to melt our hearts for simple fact that he becomes a NORMAL hockey player and be grateful for that and give him credit for not to be an outlaw? I reject this notion after thinking of all this people, injured, premature ended careers, life continued pain, player’s families dealing with that, etc. I rather feel deeply sorry for them.

  19. Aside from the comments from Pepper being pretty stupid in content I think that the name “pepper” as a reference to Modern Family is relatively brilliant.

  20. How close are you to Philadelphia, pepper?

    On Cooke- I believe that anyone who has to go through that kind of life experience has to get a different look at his own values, and life in general.

  21. Poor Savard is pretty much forced to retire. The guy was given a Stanley Cup ring, pretty much out of sympathy. He probably doesn’t even feel like he’s a part of that team

    All because of Cooke.

    Anyway, speaking of Modern Family, those gonzagas on Sofia Vergara are “all world”, as Joe Mich always says!

  22. I live one half hour from the Garden.

    I am a believer in violence as I am a believer of fighting in hockey. Some people need to learn the hard way that they can not run their mouth whenever they want. Treat people with respect and you will be afforded the same respect.

  23. Johnny D – I don’t mean generalize that all Philly fans are the same.

    They are not. But a few bad apples can spoil the tree. You know what I mean?

    A+ to the Philly blog for exposing these criminals…hopefully justice will be served…

    But, when your city “icon” Bob Clarke gloats about a two-handed slash to a Russian hockey legend and says he would do it again…what are hockey fans outside Philly supposed to think?

  24. You can stream it to your TV from your computer/iPhone/iPad via Apple TV, sure. But the game will be blacked out unless you’re 50 miles from NY and not in Bufallo coverage area

  25. So ILB, are DirectTV or RCN the only two options for TWC customers who live in Manhattan?

    Thanks JPG for response in earlier post.

  26. Comments like this make my blood boil (From Puck Daddy)

    “Hes a army boy thinking he can run his mouth but not against philly dudes they dont need army training to make you say uncle good maybe he’ll stop being a tough guy against white ppl & stick to abusing minorities like he was trained to do.”

    Who would even think of writing something like that?

  27. 4ever – I never said that at all. I’m just saying you have to sit back, look at Cooke and say “well at least he’s trying”. You don’t have to like the guy, you don’t have to cheer for him, just recognize the fact that the stats are at least proving he’s trying to make an adjustment.

  28. Jonny – by that rationale there should be no goalies in the ASG and the players should use shooter-tutors or AHL goalies

    They should get rid of the stupid breakaway competition if the goalies are at risk of being injured.

    But watching my teams’ players in the ASG is a sense of pride. We haven’t had much representation in a long time.

  29. ILB,

    I’ve never met you or any of the other leading ‘heads but will be at the game tonight…where are your seats? (I sit in 114…get to about 30 games a season + playoffs)

  30. NYR_FAN- comments like that make me laugh because they are produced by ignorant idiots who will never be able to comprehend that there is real life out there that doesn’t only consist of getting drunk and spending your time in jail….

  31. I know what I think because I saw when it happened.I’d like to show Clarke’s two handed chop to a group at a Russian social club and the send him in to face the music what an f’ing slime bag.

  32. vogs – I think the ASG is useless, so I would be fine without it. The only thing the league uses it for is to market it’s stars and it doesn’t even do a great job of that anyway.

    It’s no surprise viewership for ASGs in all of the major sports leagues has decreased significantly in the last 10-15 years. Nobody really wants to watch a no-defense/half-assed hockey game. Maybe basketball can get away with it since you’ll see flashy dunks and such, but hockey is a much more physical sport and when you take that aspect out of it, it ends up looking like a pond game or an open ice session.

  33. Interesting situation for Florida, who will really look bad if they don’t stand up against what happened after their postgame comments last Friday, but at the same time who know they’re outgunned without Barch. You shouldn’t NEED a heavyweight to have toughness as a team, but there’s no doubt we’d have the last word with Rupp in the lineup. This is why teams still carry enforcers…

  34. Wicky©"I think the NHL Network host was named Kathryn Tappen" on

    btw, carped last thread…thanks carp!!!

  35. Afternoon gang. Sadly, even with the TWC/MSG pissing match, I won’t be around tonight to see the game and blog with you all. I have dinner plans with a good friend. AND I wont be able to 24/7 since we don’t get HBO in NY.

    Here’s to the boys not letting up one bit tonight and a great final episode! Catch you all later on!

  36. January 5, 2010…2 years ago today: Derek Stepan, Ryan Bourque, and Chris Kreider lead the USA past Canada in the WJC Gold medal game.

    USA! Youth movement, baby!

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