We had a major outage of all of our LoHud blogs last night, as I’m sure you are all aware. So apologies all around. Just glad it wasn’t my fault. I worried that maybe I pushed a wrong button or something, you know, being the techno wizard that I am.
Anyway, here are the belated pre-game notes, courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Thursday, Jan. 19, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden – New York, New York
Rangers: 29-11-4 (62 pts)
Penguins: 24-17-4 (52 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Jan. 17
The Rangers will face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.; TV: MSG; Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio), in an Atlantic Division match-up. The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and rank first in the league overall, with a record of 29-11-4 (62 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Nashville Predators, 3-0, on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 12-3-0 in their last 15 games. New York has posted a record of 26-8-2 since Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark. The Penguins enter the contest with a 24-17-4 (52 pts) record to rank seventh in the Eastern Conference, and have won their last three games. Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Boston Bruins on Saturday, Jan. 21, at TD Garden (1:00 p.m.), in an Original Six matinee match-up.
RANGERS vs. PENGUINS:
- All-Time: 117-97-23-8 overall (65-46-9-3 at home; 52-51-14-5 on the road)
- 2011-12: Tonight is the third of six meetings this season, and the second of three at Madison Square Garden. New York is 2-0-0 overall (1-0-0 at home; 1-0-0 on the road) following a 3-1 win on Jan. 6 at CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers are 2-8 (25.0%) on the power play, and have out-scored the Penguins, 7-4, in two games. Brad Richards leads the team with two goals and four points, and Henrik Lundqvist is 2-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA and .938 Sv% in the series.
- Last Season: New York was 4-1-1 overall (1-1-1 at home; 3-0-0 on the road). The Rangers power play was 7-22 (31.8%) in the season series, while the penalty kill was 20-22 (90.9%). New York out-scored Pittsburgh, 21-15, including a 10-4 margin in the third period and overtime. Ryan Callahan led the Rangers with five goals, nine points, four power play goals and three game-winning goals in six games, while Brandon Dubinsky tallied a team-high, six assists in the season series. Henrik Lundqvist was 4-1-1 with a 2.29 GAA and .926 Sv%.
- The Rangers have registered at least one point in nine of their last 10 meetings with the Penguins, posting a record of 7-1-2 over the span
- The Blueshirts have won four straight games against the Penguins, having out-scored Pittsburgh, 17-9, during the streak
- New York ranks eighth with a 14-4-2 (30 pts) record at home; Pittsburgh ranks eighth with a 12-10-2 (26 pts) mark on the road
- The Rangers have posted a 9-1-0 record vs. Atlantic Division opponents; the Penguins are 5-6-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
- Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 22-13-5 record with a 2.39 GAA and two shutouts in 40 career regular season contests vs. Pittsburgh; Martin Bironis 13-15-3-2 with a 2.98 GAA and two shutouts in 33 career regular season games vs. the Penguins
- Brad Richards leads the Rangers with 24 assists and 32 points in 29 career regular season contests vs. Pittsburgh; Marian Gaborik has notched a team-high, nine goals (19 points) in 20 career regular season games vs. the Penguins
- New York lists three former Penguins on their roster: Erik Christensen (2005-06 – 2007-08); Ruslan Fedotenko (2008-09 – 2009-10); Mike Rupp(2009-10 – 2010-11)
- Pittsburgh lists one former Ranger on their roster: Pascal Dupuis (2006-07)
The Rangers are tied for eighth in the NHL with a plus-six rating on special teams [(PPG+SHG)-(PPGA+SHGA)]. The Blueshirts penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in 10 of the last 11 games (23-24, 95.8% over the span), and is 48-53 (90.6%) with five shorthanded goals in the last 20 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 21-5-2 when not allowing a power play goal.
- Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in two power play attempts (2:05) on Tuesday vs. Nashville. New York ranks 24th overall (22-154, 14.3%) and is tied for 12th at home (63-80, 18.8%). 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 Predators scoreless in three power play attempt (4:05) on Tuesday at MSG. New York is tied for fourth overall (125-144, 86.8%) and seventh at home (52-60, 86.7%). 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 tally/yield a goal in two four-on-four situations (1:55) on Tuesday vs. Nashville. The Rangers are plus-four in 44 four-on-four situations (79:54), 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).
New York enters the contest with a nine-game winning streak against Atlantic Division opponents. The Rangers are 9-1-0 in divisional play this season, having out-scored their opponent, 33-17, in those contests.
PERFECT IN PITTSBURGH
The Rangers completed last season’s series against Pittsburgh with a 3-0-0 record at CONSOL Energy Center, marking the first time the Blueshirts swept the season series in Pittsburgh since 1996-97 (2-0-0) and the first time since 1973-74 that a Rangers team won three games at Pittsburgh in the same season (3-0-0). New York has now won five straight in Pittsburgh, dating back to a 3-2 overtime win on Feb. 12, 2010
KING HENRIK’S REIGN
Henrik Lundqvist recorded his 20th win of the season with a 27-save shutout in a 3-0 win vs. Nashville on Tuesday at MSG. It is the seventh straight season Lundqvist has reached the 20-win plateau to begin his career. He is the third goaltender in Rangers’ history to reach the 20-win mark in seven consecutive years, and the first since Mike Richter accomplished the feat from 1995-96 to 2001-02. Ed Giacomin holds the franchise record with eight straight seasons of 20 or more wins (1966-67 to 1973-74). Miikka Kiprusoff (Calgary) is the only other goalie in the league with an active streak of 20+ wins in seven or more consecutive seasons. *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
PLACE IN HISTORY
The Rangers’ .705 win% through 44 games is the team’s best start in 40 years, when the 1971-72 Blueshirts began the season with a 30-7-7 record (.761 win%), and is the third best start in franchise history.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Rangers have won seven of their last nine games at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts’ 14-4-2 (30 pts) mark at MSG is their best start at home through 20 games since 1995-96 (15-2-3, 33 pts).
The Rangers rank among the league leaders in several statistical categories, including…
- 1st in points (62)
- 1st in win% (.705)
- T-2nd in wins (29)
- T-1st in regulation/overtime wins (27)
- 1st in fewest regulation losses (11)
- T-1st in fewest goals against (87)
- T-1st in GAA (1.98)
- 1st in hits (1,281)
- 3rd in blocked shots (722)
- 3rd in +/- rating (plus-33)
- 3rd 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 28 of their last 36 games (26-8-2), dating back to Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark; The Rangers have out-scored their opponent, 109-72, 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 8-1-1 when leading after the first period and 18-0-2 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 .789 win% when out-shooting their opponent (15-4-0)
- The Rangers lead the league when scoring first, posting a 21-1-1 mark (.913 win%) in those contests; Their 21 wins rank third 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 eight of his last 13 games, and has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 22 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 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in the last 23 games, including five points (two goals, three assists) in the last seven
- Carl Hagelin has tallied seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last 11 games
- Ryan Callahan has tallied 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in the last 26 games, including nine points (three goals, six assists) in the last 12
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
- Dan Girardi: 1 assist from 100th NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
- Marian Gaborik: 300th career NHL assist (1/15 at MTL)
- Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) – 20
- Steve Eminger (shoulder, 12/17) – 14
- Jeff Woywitka (foot, 12/30) – 8
Total Man-Games Lost: 145