Morning update: 11:59 a.m.: Mats Zuccarello has been recalled from Connecticut; Brandon Dubinsky will play tonight, but Ryan Callahan and Michael Del Zotto will not.
Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Sunday, Mar. 11, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 42-18-7 (91 pts)
Islanders: 28-30-9 (65 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Mar. 9
The Rangers will face-off against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.; TV: MSG Network; Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio), to begin a seven-game homestand. The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and rank third in the league overall, with a record of 42-18-7 (91 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-3, on Friday at United Center, and are now 13-6-3 in their last 22 games. The Islanders have posted a record of 28-31-9 (65 pts) and have lost five of their last seven games. Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, Mar. 13, at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.), as they continue their seven-game homestand.
RANGERS vs. ISLANDERS:
* All-Time: 115-99-19-6 overall (67-37-11-4 at home; 48-62-8-2 on the road)
* 2011-12: Tonight is the sixth and final meeting this season, and the third at MSG. The Rangers are 3-1-1 overall (2-0-0 at home; 1-1-1 on the road), following a 4-3 shootout loss on Feb. 24 at Long Island. The Rangers have out-scored the Islanders, 16-11, including an 8-3 advantage in the second period. Marian Gaborik (four goals, one assist) and Ryan Callahan (one goal, four assists) are tied for the team-high in scoring with five points apiece. Henrik Lundqvist is 2-1-0 with a 1.68 GAA, .947 Sv% and one shutout in three games, while Martin Biron is 1-0-1 with a 2.41 GAA and .906 Sv% in two games.
* Last Season: New York was 4-2-0 overall (3-0-0 at home; 1-2-0 on the road). The Rangers averaged 4.5 goals per contest, and converted 9-28 on the power play for a 32.1% success rate in the season series. Marian Gaborik led all skaters with six goals and 10 points in six games, while Brandon Dubinsky tallied a team-high six assists in the season series.
* The Rangers have registered at least one point in eight of their last 10 games against the Islanders, posting a record of 7-2-1 over the span
* New York ranks sixth with a 22-7-2 (46 pts) record at home; Long Island ranks 22nd with a 13-6-4 (30 pts) mark on the road
* The Rangers are 12-5-2 vs. the Atlantic Division; the Islanders are 6-10-2*** vs. the Atlantic Division
* New York lists two former Islanders on their roster: Martin Biron (2009-10); Ruslan Fedotenko (2007-08)
* Long Island lists one former Ranger on their roster: PA Parenteau (2009-10)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. ISLANDERS:
* Henrik Lundqvist — 40 GP, 23-11-5, 2.17 GAA, 4 SO
* Martin Biron — 28 GP, 21-4-1-1, 2.03 GAA, 2 SO
* Marian Gaborik — 26 GP, 18-13-31
* Brad Richards — 35 GP, 11-19-30
* Brandon Dubinsky — 32 GP, 7-19-26
* Michael Del Zotto — 14 GP, 3-5-8
The Rangers penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in each of the last five games (14 times shorthanded), and are 19-20 (95.0%) in the last seven contests. The Rangers are tied for fifth in the NHL with seven shorthanded goals. The Blueshirts have posted a record of 19-1-4 in games when tallying a power play goal, and are 29-10-3 when not allowing a power play goal.
* Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in two power play attempts (4:00) on Friday at Chicago. New York ranks 29th overall (31-224, 13.8%) and 27th at home (16-113, 14.2%). The Rangers are 3-14 (11:24) in five-on-three situations (last – 3/2 at TBL), and 1-8 (10:10) when four-on-three (last – 3/2 at TBL). 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 Blackhawks scoreless in one shorthanded situation (1:58) on Friday at Chicago. New York ranks fifth overall (186-214, 86.9%) and sixth at home (78-91, 85.7%). The Rangers are 8-9 (4:34) in three-on-five situations (last – 2/16 vs. CHI), and 2-3 (2:24) when three-on-four (last – 2/16 vs. CHI). Shorthanded goals for (7): 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); 2/12 vs. WSH (Prust).
* Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation on Friday at Chicago. The Rangers are plus-six in 71 four-on-four situations (127:48), and even in two three-on-three situations (0:38). Four-on-four goals for (9): 10/18 at VAN (Gaborik); 10/20 at CGY (McDonagh); 10/27 vs. TOR (Girardi); 1/2 vs. FLA (Gaborik); 2/9 vs. TBL (Stepan); 2/9 vs. TBL (Richards); 2/14 at BOS (Anisimov); 2/19 vs. CBJ (Stepan), 2/25 vs. BUF (Callahan). Four-on-four goals allowed (3): 2/9 vs. TBL (Lecavalier); 2/25 vs. BUF (Stafford); 3/2 at TBL (Malone).
The Rangers have played 12 of 14 scheduled back-to-back sets. New York has posted a combined record of 16-3-5 in back-to-back games, including an 8-1-3 (3-0-0 at home, 5-1-3 on the road) record in the first game and an 8-2-2 (6-0-0 at home, 2-2-2 on the road) mark in the second. Since 2009-10, New York is 29-10-4 in the second game of back-to-backs, with a 15-3-1 mark at MSG and 14-7-3 on the road over the span. Henrik Lundqvist has started on consecutive days 57 times in his career, posting a record of 36-14-7 with a 1.82 GAA, .935 Sv% and six shutouts in the second game. The Rangers’ next back-to-back set is scheduled for Mar. 23-24, vs. Buffalo and at Toronto.
The Rangers will begin a seven-game homestand tonight when they face-off against the New York Islanders. The seven-game homestand is tied as the longest in franchise history, and is their longest since 2001-02. The Blueshirts’ previous seven-game homestands were in 1969-70 (4-0-3-0), 1972-73 (4-3-0-0), 1977-78 (3-3-1-0), and 2001-02 (3-2-1-1). The Rangers are one of five teams with a homestand of seven or more games on their 2011-12 regular season schedule (Winnipeg – 8, Colorado – 8, Tampa Bay – 7, Vancouver – 7).
HOME SWEET HOME
The Blueshirts’ 22-7-2 (46 pts) mark at MSG is their best record at home through 31 games since 1993-94 (21-6-4, 46 pts).
The Rangers are 12-5-2 against Atlantic Division opponents this season, including a nine-game winning streak from Nov. 15 –Jan. 6. New York has out-scored their opponent, 53-40, in divisional play.
PLACE IN HISTORY
The Rangers’ .679 win% is the team’s best record through 67 games in 18 years, when the 1993-94 Blueshirts began the season with a 43-19-5 record (.679 win%), and is tied as the fourth best mark in franchise history. The Rangers reached the 40-win mark in 61 games, which is tied as the second fastest to 40-wins in franchise history.
The Rangers rank among the NHL leaders in several statistical categories…
* T-3rd in points (91)
* 2nd in win% (.679)
* T-3rd in wins (42)
* T-1st in regulation/overtime wins (39)
* T-1st in fewest regulation losses (18)
* 2nd in fewest goals against (140)
* 2nd in GAA (2.09)
* 1st in hits (2,003)
* 4th in blocked shots (1,095)
* 4th in +/- rating (plus-38)
* 6th in goal differential (plus-39)
* 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 44 of their last 59 games (39-15-5), dating back to Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark
* New York is 16-2-3 when leading after the first period and 26-0-3 when leading after the second
* The Rangers are tied for fourth in the league with a .235 win% when trailing after two periods (4-12-1), and their four third period comeback victories are tied for 10th in the NHL; New York has trailed entering the third period in 17 games this season, which is tied as the fewest in the league
* New York leads the NHL with a .719 win% when out-shooting their opponent (23-8-1)
* The Rangers lead the league when scoring first, posting a 30-3-3 mark (.833 win%) in those contests; Their 30 wins rank third in the NHL
THE HOT LIST:
* Henrik Lundqvist — 11-4-1 with a 1.74 GAA, .935 Sv% and 4 SO in his last 16 games
* Marian Gaborik — 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in the last 25 games; six points (three goals, three assists) in the last six games
* Ryan Callahan — 12 points (nine goals, three assists) in his last 13 games; three goals in his last five games
* Derek Stepan — five points (two goals, three assists) in the last six games
* Brad Richards — 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in the last 16 games; seven points (one goal, six assists) in the last eight games
* Carl Hagelin — nine points (four goals, five assists) in the last 12 games; seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last eight games
* Michael Del Zotto — 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in his last 19 games; nine assists in his last 14 games
* Anton Stralman — seven assists in his last 15 games; three assists in his last four games
* Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) — 43
* Brandon Dubinsky (injured, 3/6) — 2
* Michael Del Zotto (hip, 3/8) — 1
Total Man-Games Lost: 192