Pre-game notes courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. NASHVILLE PREDATORS
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m.
Madison Square Garden – New York, New York
Rangers: 28-11-4 (60 pts)
Predators: 26-15-4 (56 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Jan. 15
The Rangers will face-off against the Nashville Predators at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.; TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio), in their third game in four days. The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and rank first in the league overall, with a record of 28-11-4 (60 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1, on Sunday at Bell Centre to snap their four-game road winning streak, and are now 11-3-0 in their last 14 games. New York has posted a record of 25-8-2 since Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark. The Predators have posted a record of 26-15-4 (56 pts) after their win yesterday at Long Island, and have won their last five games. Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, Jan. 19, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in an Atlantic Division match-up.
RANGERS vs. PREDATORS:
* All-Time: 7-5-1-2 overall (2-4-1-1 at home; 5-1-0-1 on the road)
* 2011-12: Tonight is the first and only meeting this season
* Last Season: New York was 1-0-0 overall, having won their only meeting, 2-1, in the shootout on Nov. 27 at Nashville. Ryan Callahan notched the game-tying goal with 6:56 remaining in regulation, and Erik Christensen tallied the only goal in the shootout. Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves through regulation and overtime, and stopped all three shots faced in the shootout.
* New York ranks 11th with a 13-4-2 (28 pts) record at home; Nashville ranks 13th with an 11-8-1 (23 pts) mark on the road
* The Rangers have posted a 0-1-0 record vs. Central Division opponents; the Predators are 1-0-1 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 3-2-0 record with a 1.79 GAA in five career regular season contests vs. Nashville; Martin Biron is 4-2-1-0 with a 2.24 GAA and one shutout in seven career regular season games vs. the Predators
* Marian Gaborik leads the Rangers with 12 goals and is tied for the team-high with 23 points in 26 career regular season contests vs. Nashville; Brad Richards leads the team with 18 assists and is tied for the team-high with 23 points in 20 career regular season games vs. the Predators
* New York lists no former Predators on their roster
* Nashville lists no former Rangers on their roster
The Rangers are tied for seventh in the NHL with a plus-six rating on special teams [(PPG+SHG)-(PPGA+SHGA)]. New York is 13-78 (16.7%) with the man advantage in the last 25 games. The Blueshirts penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in nine of the last 10 games (20-21, 95.2% over the span), and is 45-50 (90.0%) with five shorthanded goals in the last 19 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 20-5-2 when not allowing a power play goal.
* Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in one power play attempt (2:00) on Sunday at Montreal. New York ranks 23rd overall (22-152, 14.5%) and 12th at home (63-78, 19.2%). 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 Canadiens scoreless in one power play attempt (2:00) on Sunday at Montreal. New York is tied for fifth overall (122-141, 86.5%) and ranks eighth at home (49-57, 86.0%). 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 (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 on Sunday at Montreal. 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 have played seven of 14 scheduled back-to-back sets this season. 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 5-1-1 (4-0-0 at home, 1-1-1 on the road) in the second game. Since 2009-10, New York is 26-9-3 in the second game of back-to-back sets, with a 13-3-1 mark at MSG and 13-6-2 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’ next back-to-back set is Jan. 31 – Feb. 1, with road games in New Jersey and Buffalo.
PLACE IN HISTORY
The Rangers’ .698 win% through 43 games is the team’s best start in 40 years, when the 1971-72 Blueshirts began the season with a 29-7-7 record (.756 win%), and is the third best start in franchise history.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Rangers have won six of their last eight games at Madison Square Garden entering tonight’s contest. The Blueshirts’ 13-4-2 (28 pts) mark at MSG is their best start at home through 19 games since 1995-96 (14-2-3, 31 pts).
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…
* T-1st in points (60)
* 1st in win% (.698)
* T-1st in wins (28)
* T-1st in regulation/overtime wins (26)
* 1st in fewest regulation losses (11)
* 2nd in fewest goals against (87)
* T-2nd in GAA (2.02)
* 1st in hits (1,245)
* 3rd in blocked shots (704)
* T-3rd in +/- rating (plus-30)
* 4th in goal differential (plus-32)
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 35 games (25-8-2), dating back to Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark; The Rangers have out-scored their opponent, 106-72, during the stretch
* The Rangers have won four of their last five road games, and are 10-3-0 in their last 13 games away from MSG
* New York is 7-1-1 when leading after the first period and 17-0-2 when leading after the second
* The Rangers are tied for fourth in the league with a .250 win% when trailing after two periods (3-8-1), and their three third period comeback victories are tied for seventh in the NHL; New York has trailed entering the third period in 12 games this season, which is tied for 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 12 games, and has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 21 games this season
* Lundqvist ranks fourth in the NHL in Sv% (.935), is tied for third in GAA (1.95), fifth in shutouts (three) and sixth in wins (19)
* Martin Biron has held opponents to two or fewer goals in eight of his 11 starts this season
* Marian Gaborik is tied for fifth in the NHL in goals (23)
* Derek Stepan has tallied 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in the last 22 games, including five points (two goals, three assists) in the last six
* Carl Hagelin has tallied six points (three goals, three assists) in the last 10 games
* Brian Boyle has tallied two points (one goal, one assist) in the last four games
* Ryan McDonagh has tallied four assists in the last eight games
* Ryan Callahan has tallied 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in the last 25 games, including eight points (two goals, six assists) in the last 11
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
* Dan Girardi: 1 assist from 100th NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
* Wojtek Wolski: 400th career NHL game (1/12 vs. OTT)
* Marian Gaborik: 300th career NHL assist (1/15 at MTL)
* Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) – 19
* Steve Eminger (shoulder, 12/17) – 13
* Jeff Woywitka (foot, 12/30) – 7
* Brandon Dubinsky (shoulder, 1/10) – 3
* Ruslan Fedotenko (back spasms, 1/14) – 1
Total Man-Games Lost: 142
* Jan. 11 – Assigned Erik Christensen to Connecticut (AHL) on a conditioning stint
* Jan. 15 – Recalled forward Kris Newbury from Connecticut (AHL)
* Jan. 16 – Assigned forward Kris Newbury to Connecticut (AHL)