It’s a 7:30 start for Vers … er, I mean, NBCSports.
Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at BUFFALO SABRES
Wednesday, Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m.
First Niagara Center — Buffalo, NY
Rangers: 31-12-5 (67 pts)
Sabres: 21-24-5 (47 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Jan. 31
The Rangers will face-off against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center (7:30 p.m.; TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio), in the second game of a back-to-back set. The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and rank second in the league overall, with a record of 31-12-5 (67 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the New Jersey Devils, 4-3, in the shootout last night at Prudential Center, and are now 14-4-1 in their last 19 games. New York has posted a record of 28-9-3 since Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark. The Sabres enter the contest with a 21-24-5 (47 pts) record to rank 14th in the Eastern Conference, and have won their last two games. Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, Feb. 5, at Madison Square Garden (1:00 p.m.), to begin a three-game homestand.
RANGERS vs. SABRES:
* All-Time: 58-71-25-5 overall (33-27-15-3 at home; 25-44-10-2 on the road)
* 2011-12: Tonight is the second of four meetings this season, and the second and final at First Niagara Center. New York is 1-0-0 (0-0-0 at home; 1-0-0 on the road) following a 4-1 win on Dec. 10 at First Niagara Center. The Rangers were 1-4 (25.0%) on the power play, while they held the Sabres scoreless in three shorthanded situations. Carl Hagelin notched two goals in the contest, and Michael Del Zotto and Steve Eminger tallied two assists apiece. Martin Biron made 32 saves.
* Last Season: New York was 2-2-0 overall (1-1-0 at home; 1-1-0 on the road). Three of their four meetings were decided by one goal, including a 3-2 overtime win on Nov. 11 at MSG. Artem Anisimov led the team in scoring with four points (three goals, one assist) in the series, while Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi tied for the team-high with three assists apiece. Henrik Lundqvist was 1-2-0 with a 2.37 GAA and .928 Sv% in three games, and Martin Biron was 1-0-0 with a 1.95 GAA and .935 Sv% in one game.
* Derek Stepan recorded a hat trick while making his NHL debut in their 6-3 season-opening win on Oct. 9, 2010, tying the franchise record for goals in a season opener and becoming the fourth player in NHL history and first Ranger to register a hat trick in his NHL debut
* Six of the last nine meetings between the Rangers and Sabres have been decided by one goal
* New York ranks second with a 16-7-3 (35 pts) record on the road; Buffalo ranks 25th with an 11-9-5 (27 pts) mark at home
* The Rangers are 5-5-1 vs. the Northeast Division; the Sabres are 2-7-1 vs. the Atlantic Division
* New York lists one former Sabre on their roster: Martin Biron (1995-96 – 2006-07)
* Buffalo lists no former Rangers on their roster
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. SABRES:
* Henrik Lundqvist — 18 GP, 8-8-2, 2.44 GAA
* Martin Biron — 14 GP, 9-3-1, 2.68 GAA, 2 SO
* Brad Richards — 31 GP, 9-18-27
* Ruslan Fedotenko — 37 GP, 10-15-25
* Brandon Dubinsky — 15 GP, 6-8-14
* Anton Stralman — 11 GP, 2-3-5
The Rangers are tied for seventh in the NHL with a plus-six rating on special teams [(PPG+SHG)-(PPGA+SHGA)]. The Blueshirts penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in 13 of the last 15 games (33-35, 94.3% over the span), and is 58-64 (90.6%) with five shorthanded goals in the last 24 contests. The Rangers are tied for third in the NHL with six shorthanded goals. The Blueshirts have posted a record of 16-1-2 in games when tallying a power play goal, and are 23-6-2 when not allowing a power play goal.
* Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in three power play attempts (6:00) last night at New Jersey. New York ranks 25th overall (23-166, 13.9%) and 28th on the road (8-80, 10.0%). The Rangers are 2-12 (8:51) in five-on-three situations (last – 12/23 vs. PHI), and 1-5 (6:52) when four-on-three (last – 1/21 at BOS). Shorthanded goals allowed (3): 12/5 vs. TOR (Steckel); 12/8 vs. TBL (Moore); 12/17 at PHX (Korpikoski).
* Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Devils in three power play attempts (4:55) last night at New Jersey. New York is tied for third overall (135-155, 87.1%) and ranks fourth on the road (79-91, 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 tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (5:00) last night at New Jersey. The Rangers are plus-four in 48 four-on-four situations (90:44), 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).
The Rangers will close out their eighth of 14 scheduled back-to-back sets this season tonight at Buffalo. New York has posted a record of 6-0-2 (3-0-0 at home, 3-0-2 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-backs, 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 have registered at least one point in six of their last seven road games (5-1-1 over the span), and are 11-3-1 in their last 15 games away from MSG.
PLACE IN HISTORY
The Rangers’ .698 win% through 48 games is the team’s best start in 18 years, when the 1993-94 Blueshirts began the season with a 32-13-3 record (.698 win%), and is tied for the third best start in franchise history. *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
KING HENRIK’S REIGN
Henrik Lundqvist recorded his 20th win with a 27-save shutout on Jan. 17 vs. Nashville. He became the third goaltender in Rangers’ history to reach the 20-win mark in seven straight seasons, and the first since Mike Richter from 1995-96 – 2001-02. Ed Giacomin holds the team record with eight straight (1966-67 – 1973-74). Lundqvist is one of four NHL goalies with an active streak of 20+ wins in seven or more straight seasons (Kiprusoff – CGY, Luongo – VAN, Vokoun – WSH). *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves in a 3-0 win on Jan. 24 vs. Winnipeg to post his 40th career shutout, and move into a tie with Dave Kerr for second place on the Rangers’ all-time shutouts list. He ranks seventh among active goalies in career shutouts, and is one of only two NHL goaltenders to record 40 or more shutouts since 2005-06 (Brodeur, 41). *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
The Rangers rank among the NHL leaders in several statistical categories…
* 2nd in points (67)
* 1st in win% (.698)
* T-3rd in wins (31)
* T-1st in regulation/overtime wins (29)
* 1st in fewest regulation losses (12)
* T-1st in fewest goals against (96)
* 2nd in GAA (2.00)
* 1st in hits (1,398)
* T-5th in blocked shots (794)
* 4th in +/- rating (plus-34)
* 4th in goal differential (plus-35)
* 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 31 of their last 40 games (28-9-3), dating back to Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark
* New York is 9-1-2 when leading after the first period and 19-0-2 when leading after the second
* The Rangers are tied for third 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 ninth in the NHL; New York has trailed entering the third period in 12 games this season, which is the fewest in the league
* New York leads the NHL with an .800 win% when out-shooting their opponent (16-4-0)
* The Rangers lead the league when scoring first, posting a 23-1-2 mark (.885 win%) in those contests; Their 23 wins are tied for second in the NHL
THE HOT LIST:
* Henrik Lundqvist has allowed one goal or less in nine of his last 16 games, and has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 24 games this season
* Martin Biron has held opponents to two or fewer goals in eight of his 12 starts this season
* Ryan Callahan has tallied five points (three goals, two assists) in the last five games
* Marian Gaborik has tallied seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last six games
* Carl Hagelin has tallied 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the last 15 games
* Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) – 24
* Steve Eminger (shoulder, 12/17) – 18
* Jeff Woywitka (foot, 12/30) – 12
Total Man-Games Lost: 158