Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. MONTREAL CANADIENS
Friday, Mar. 30, 7:30 p.m.
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 49-21-7 (105 pts)
Canadiens: 29-34-14 (72 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Mar. 28
The Rangers will face-off against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.; TV: MSG Plus; Radio: Bloomberg Radio), in an Original Six matchup. The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and rank first in the league overall, with a record of 49-21-7 (105 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Winnipeg Jets, 4-2, on Wednesday at MTS Centre, and have won five of the last six games. The Canadiens enter the contest with a 29-34-14 (72 pts) record to rank 15th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost five of the last six games. Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Boston Bruins on Sunday, Apr. 1, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in an Original Six matchup.
Prior to the contest, the Rangers will present the winner of the 2011-12 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, as voted by the fans, given to the player who “goes above and beyond the call of duty.” Following the 1987-88 season, the Rangers established the award dedicated to paralyzed New York City police officer Steven McDonald, who was shot in the line of duty.
RANGERS vs. CANADIENS:
- All-Time: 190-320-94-3 overall (126-122-54-1 at home; 64-198-40-2 on the road)
- 2011-12: Tonight is the fourth and final meeting this season, and the second at MSG. New York is 1-2-0 (1-0-0 at home; 0-2-0 on the road) following a 4-1 loss on Jan. 15 at Bell Centre. The Rangers have out-scored the Canadiens, 4-2, in first periods this season. Derek Stepan leads the Rangers in scoring with three assists/points. Henrik Lundqvist is 1-1-0 with a 3.52 GAA, and Martin Biron is 0-1-0 with a 4.01 GAA.
- Last Season: New York was 1-3-0 overall (1-1-0 at home; 0-2-0 on the road). The Rangers out-scored the Canadiens, 7-4, in first periods during the series. Dan Girardi led the team in scoring with four points, including a team-high three assists, and Brian Boyle tallied a team-leading two goals in four games.
- New York ranks fifth with a 26-10-2 (54 pts) record at home; Montreal ranks 22nd with a 15-19-4 (34 pts) mark on the road
- The Rangers are 10-7-1 vs. the Northeast Division; the Canadiens are 7-9-3 vs. the Atlantic Division
- New York lists no former Canadiens on their roster
- Montreal lists one former Ranger on their roster: Scott Gomez (2007-08 – 2008-09)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. CANADIENS:
- Henrik Lundqvist — 24 GP, 12-9-2, 2.99 GAA, 1 SO
- Martin Biron — 29 GP, 14-12-0-1, 2.42 GAA, 2 SO
- Brad Richards — 33 GP, 8-11-19
- Brandon Dubinsky — 18 GP, 5-6-11
- Marian Gaborik — 16 GP, 4-6-10
- Dan Girardi — 22 GP, 3-6-9
The Rangers’ power play is 7-34 (20.6%) in the last 10 games, while the penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in 11 of the last 15 games (38-43, 88.4%). The Rangers are tied for sixth in the NHL with eight shorthanded goals. The Blueshirts have posted a record of 23-1-4 in games when tallying a power play goal, and are 33-12-3 when not allowing a power play goal.
- Power Play: The Rangers tallied two goals in five power play attempts (7:27) on Wednesday at Winnipeg. New York ranks 28th overall (38-258, 14.7%) and 23rd at home (21-136, 15.4%). The Rangers are 3-15 (11:31) in five-on-three situations (last – 3/13 vs. CAR), and 2-9 (12:08) when four-on-three (last – 3/11 vs. NYI). 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 Jets scoreless in five shorthanded situations (8:01) and tallied a shorthanded goal on Wednesday at Winnipeg. New York ranks fifth overall (210-243, 86.4%) and is tied for seventh at home (94-110, 85.4%). The Rangers are 9-10 (6:17) in three-on-five situations (last – 3/28 at WPG), and 2-3 (2:24) when three-on-four (last – 2/16 vs. CHI). Shorthanded goals for (8): 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); 3/28 at WPG (Del Zotto).
- Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (0:16) on Wednesday at Winnipeg. The Rangers are plus-seven in 80 four-on-four situations (145:47), and even in two three-on-three situations (0:38). Four-on-four goals for (10): 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); 3/21 vs. DET (Callahan). Four-on-four goals allowed (3): 2/9 vs. TBL (Lecavalier); 2/25 vs. BUF (Stafford); 3/2 at TBL (Malone).
ORIGINAL SIX SHOWDOWN:
- The Blueshirts have skated in 13 of 15 scheduled games against Original Six opponents this season (7-6-0)
- Henrik Lundqvist is 6-4-0 with a 2.57 GAA and one shutout; Martin Biron is 1-2-0 with a 2.70 GAA and one shutout
- Marian Gaborik leads the Rangers in scoring against Original Six opponents this season with six goals and 11 points
- Brad Richards has tallied nine points against Original Six opponents this season, including a team-high, six assists
- Michael Del Zotto leads all team defensemen in scoring with seven points (two goals, five assists) against Original Six opponents this season
- New York has posted a record of 53-31-12 against Original Six teams since 2005-06, including a 12-12-3 mark vs. Montreal over the span. The Rangers’ .615 win% over the span ranks second, trailing Detroit (.660, 44-21-7), and ahead of Montreal (.608, 75-46-13), Chicago (.527, 34-30-11), Boston (.522, 62-56-20), and Toronto (.493, 57-59-19).
PLACE IN TEAM HISTORY
New York continues to climb the team’s all-time single season wins and points lists, currently sitting in a tie for third in wins and fourth in points. The Rangers eclipsed the 100-point mark for the seventh time in franchise history with a 4-3 shootout win at Toronto on Mar. 24. The Blueshirts reached the 40-win mark in 61 games, which is tied as the second fewest games to reach 40 wins in team history.
The Rangers have posted a record of 8-2 in games decided in overtime (excluding shootouts) this season. Their eight overtime wins are tied with Tampa Bay for first in the league this season, and represent a new team record. The Blueshirts broke their previous record of six (1999-00, 2002-03) with a 4-3 overtime win on Mar. 11 vs. NYI. Marian Gaborik leads the team and ranks second in the NHL with a career-high (tied), three overtime goals, while Ryan Callahan ranks second on the Rangers and is tied for third in the league with a career-high, two overtime goals. Brad Richards, Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh have also tallied one power play goal apiece.
MARCHING INTO THE PLAYOFFS
Brad Richards ranks second in the NHL with 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) during the month of March, trailing Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin by one point. Marian Gaborik is tied for third in the league with nine goals and ranks third with 18 points in March.
The Rangers rank among the NHL leaders in several statistical categories…
- T-1st in points (105)
- T-1st in win% (.682)
- 1st in wins (49)
- 1st in regulation/overtime wins (45)
- T-2nd in fewest regulation losses (21)
- 3rd in fewest goals against (167)
- 3rd in GAA (2.17)
- 1st in hits (2,293)
- 2nd in blocked shots (1,264)
- 4th in +/- rating (plus-37)
- 6th in goal differential (plus-41)
- The Rangers became the first Eastern Conference team, and second in the league overall, to clinch a playoff spot with a 4-2 win on Mar. 19 vs. NJD (game #72); The last time the Blueshirts clinched a playoff berth that early was in 1991-92, when New York clinched on Mar. 8 (through game #68) following a Philadelphia defeat to Vancouver
- This is the latest the Rangers have been in first place of the Eastern Conference standings since the team captured the Presidents’ Trophy during the 1993-94 season. *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
- The Rangers have posted a combined record of 19-4-5 in back-to-back games, including a 9-2-3 (3-1-0 at home, 6-1-3 on the road) record in the first game and a 10-2-2 (6-0-0 at home, 4-2-2 on the road) mark in the second
- New York is 19-2-3 when leading after the first period and 28-0-3 when leading after the second
- The Rangers rank third in the league with a .238 win% when trailing after two periods (5-15-1), and are tied for ninth in the NHL with five third period comeback wins
- New York leads the NHL with a .725 win% when out-shooting their opponent (29-10-1)
- The Rangers rank second in the league when scoring first, posting a 33-4-3 mark (.825 win%) in those contests
THE HOT LIST:
- Henrik Lundqvist — has held opponents to two or fewer goals in five of the last seven games (5-2-0)
- Brad Richards — three-game assist streak (four assists over the span); 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in the last 18 games; 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in the last 12 games
- Marian Gaborik — three-game point streak (three goals, two assists over the span); 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in the last 11 games
- Ryan McDonagh — four assists in the last seven games; three assists in the last two games
- Michael Del Zotto — three points (one goal, two assists) in the last five games
- Brian Boyle — three goals in the last four games
- Brandon Dubinsky — five points (two goals, three assists) in the last six games
- Martin Biron — 1 game from 500 NHL career
- Ryan Callahan — 3 points from 200 NHL career
- Michael Del Zotto — 1 game from 200 NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
- Henrik Lundqvist — 250th career NHL win (3/28 at WPG)
- Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) — 53
- Steve Eminger (injured, 3/15) — 7
- Mats Zuccarello (injured, 3/23) — 3
Total Man-Games Lost: 222