Pre-game notes courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at MONTREAL CANADIENS
Sunday, Jan. 15, 7:00 p.m.
Bell Centre – Montreal, Quebec
Rangers: 28-10-4 (60 pts)
Canadiens: 16-20-8 (40 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Jan. 14
The Rangers will face-off against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre (7:00 p.m.; TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio), to conclude a back-to-back weekend set against Original Six opponents. The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and rank first in the league overall, with a record of 28-10-4 (60 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-0, last night at Air Canada Centre to extend their road winning streak to four games, and are now 11-2-0 in their last 13 games. New York has posted a record of 25-7-2 since Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark. The Canadiens enter the contest with a 16-20-8 (40 pts) record to rank 12th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost their last three games. Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.), in their third game in four days.
RANGERS vs. CANADIENS:
* All-Time: 190-319-95-3 overall (126-122-54-1 at home; 64-197-40-2 on the road)
* 2011-12: Tonight is the third of four meetings this season, and the second and final at Bell Centre. New York is 1-1-0 following a 4-0 loss on Nov. 19 at Bell Centre. The Rangers have out-scored the Canadiens, 3-1, in first periods this season. Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan are tied for the team lead with two assists apiece in the season series.
* Last Season: New York was 1-3-0 overall, with a 0-2-0 mark on the road. Dan Girardi led the team in scoring with four points, including a team-high three assists, and Brian Boyle notched a team-leading two goals in four games. The Rangers out-scored the Canadiens, 7-4, in first periods during the season series.
* New York ranks third with a 15-6-2 (32 pts) record on the road; Montreal ranks 28th with a 7-8-7 (21 pts) mark at home
* The Rangers have posted a 4-4-1 record vs. Northeast Division opponents; the Canadiens are 4-6-1 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 12-8-2 record with a 2.95 GAA and one shutout in 23 career regular season contests vs. Montreal; Martin Biron is 14-12-0-1 with a 2.42 GAA and two shutouts in 29 career regular season games vs. the Canadiens
* Brad Richards leads the Rangers with eight goals, 11 assists and 19 points in 32 career regular season contests vs. Montreal; Anton Stralman has tallied six points (three goals, three assists) in seven career regular season games vs. the Canadiens
* New York lists no former Canadiens on their roster
* Montreal lists one former Rangers on their roster: Scott Gomez (2007-08 – 2008-09)
The Rangers are tied for seventh in the NHL with a plus-six rating on special teams [(PPG+SHG)-(PPGA+SHGA)]. New York is 13-77 (16.9%) with the man advantage in the last 24 games. The Blueshirts penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in eight of the last nine games (19-20, 95.0% over the span), and is 44-49 (89.8%) with five shorthanded goals in the last 18 contests. The Rangers are tied for third in the NHL with six shorthanded goals. The Blueshirts have posted a record of 15-1-2 in games when tallying a power play goal, and are 20-4-2 when not allowing a power play goal.
* Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in two power play attempts (4:00) last night at Toronto. New York ranks 23rd overall (22-151, 14.6%) and 29th on the road (7-73, 9.6%). 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 Maple Leafs scoreless in two power play attempts (4:00) last night at Toronto. New York ranks sixth overall (121-140, 86.4%) and sixth on the road (72-83, 86.8%). 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 (6): 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); 1/6 at PIT (Dubinsky).
* Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation last night at Toronto. The Rangers are plus-four in 42 four-on-four situations (77:59), and even in one three-on-three situation (0:01). Four-on-four goals for (4): 10/18 at VAN (Gaborik); 10/20 at CGY (McDonagh); 10/27 vs. TOR (Girardi); 1/2 vs. FLA (Gaborik). Four-on-four goals allowed (0).
BACK TO BACKS
The Rangers opened their seventh of 14 back-to-back sets this season with a 3-0 win last night at Toronto. New York has posted a record of 6-0-1 (3-0-0 at home, 3-0-1 on the road) in the first game of the set, and are 5-0-1 (4-0-0 at home, 1-0-1 on the road) in the second game. Since 2009-10, New York is 26-8-3 in the second game of back-to-back sets, with a 13-3-1 mark at MSG and 13-5-2 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.
ORIGINAL SIX SINCE 2005-06
New York has posted a record of 48-28-12 (108 pts) against Original Six opponents since the 2005-06 season, including a 12-11-3 mark vs. Montreal over the span. The Rangers’ .614 win% over the span ranks second, trailing Detroit (.691, 44-18-6) and ahead of Montreal (.602, 71-45-12), Boston (.519, 59-54-19), Toronto (.508, 56-54-18) and Chicago (.493, 29-30-11).
PLACE IN HISTORY
The Rangers’ .714 win% through 42 games is the team’s best start in 40 years, when the 1971-72 Blueshirts began the season with a 28-7-7 record (.750 win%), and is the third best start in franchise history.
The Rangers enter the contest with a four-game winning streak on the road, and have won 10 of their last 12 games away from MSG. The Blueshirts have out-scored their opponent, 13-4, during their current four-game road winning streak.
New York has posted four winning streaks of five games or longer this season, which is the most in the league, and marks the first time in franchise history the Rangers have done so through the team’s opening 40 games.
The Rangers rank among the league leaders in several statistical categories, including…
* 1st in points (60)
* 1st in win% (.714)
* T-1st in wins (28)
* T-1st in regulation/overtime wins (26)
* 1st in fewest regulation losses (10)
* 2nd in fewest goals against (83)
* 2nd in GAA (1.98)
* 2nd in hits (1,219)
* 3rd in blocked shots (692)
* 3rd in +/- rating (plus-33)
* 4th in goal differential (plus-35)
Three Rangers were selected for the 2012 NHL All-Star Game – Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik and Dan Girardi. It is the first time since the 1996-97 season the Rangers had three players selected for the All-Star Game (Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch). Head Coach John Tortorella also clinched an All-Star berth, becoming the first Rangers coach in franchise history to coach in the All-Star Game.
* This is the latest the Rangers have been in first place of the Eastern Conference standings since the 1995-96 season, when New York held the top position through games played on Mar. 15, 1996 (NYR game #68). *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
* New York has registered at least one point in 27 of their last 34 games (25-7-2), dating back to Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark; The Rangers have out-scored their opponent, 105-68, during the stretch
* New York is 7-1-1 when leading after the first period and 17-0-2 when leading after the second
* The Rangers rank third in the league with a .273 win% when trailing after two periods (3-7-1), and their three third period comeback victories are tied for seventh in the NHL; New York has trailed entering the third period in 11 games this season, the fewest in the league
* New York leads the NHL with a .778 win% when out-shooting their opponent (14-4-0)
* The Rangers lead the league when scoring first, posting a 20-1-1 mark (.909 win%) in those contests; Their 20 wins are tied for second in the NHL
* Henrik Lundqvist posted a career-high, seven-game winning streak from Dec. 20 – Jan. 10 (1.13 GAA, .962 Sv% and one shutout over the span)
* Lundqvist has allowed one goal or less in seven of his last 11 games, and has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 21 games this season
* Martin Biron has held opponents to two or fewer goals in eight of his 11 starts this season
* Derek Stepan has tallied 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in the last 21 games
* Carl Hagelin has tallied six points (three goals, three assists) in the last nine games
* Brian Boyle has tallied two points (one goal, one assist) in the last three games
* Ryan McDonagh has tallied four assists in the last seven games
* Ryan Callahan has tallied 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in the last 24 games, with eight points (two goals, six assists) in the last 10
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
* Marian Gaborik: 1 assist from 300th NHL career
* Dan Girardi: 1 assist from 100th NHL career
* Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) – 18
* Steve Eminger (shoulder, 12/17) – 12
* Jeff Woywitka (foot, 12/30) – 6
* Brandon Dubinsky (shoulder, 1/10) – 2
Total Man-Games Lost: 137