Pre-game notes courtesy of NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at MONTREAL CANADIENS
Saturday, Feb. 23, 7:00 p.m.
Bell Centre – Montreal, QC
Rangers: 8-6-2 (18 pts)
Canadiens: 11-4-2 (24 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre (7:00 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in their second meeting in four days. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 8-6-2 (18 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, in the shootout on Thursday at Scotiabank Place, and are now 5-2-2 in their last nine games. The Blueshirts have registered at least one point in 10 of their last 14 contests (8-4-2) after dropping the first two games of the season. The Canadiens enter the contest with an 11-4-2 (24 pts) record to rank first in the Eastern Conference, and have won five of their last six games. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to begin a four-game homestand.
RANGERS vs. CANADIENS: – All-Time: 191-321-94-3 overall (127-123-54-1 at home; 64-198-40-2 on the road) – 2013: Tonight is the second of three meetings this season, and the first of two meetings at Bell Centre. The Rangers are 0-1-0 overall, following a 3-1 loss at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. The two teams combined for eight shots on goal in the first period (NYR: 5; MTL: 3). Anton Stralman notched the Rangers’ lone goal, off a feed from Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 15 of 17 shots faced in the contest. – Last Season: New York was 2-2-0 overall (2-0-0 at home; 0-2-0 on the road). The Rangers out-scored the Canadiens, 5-2, in the first period. New York’s power play was 3-17 (17.6%) in the series. Derek Stepan led the team with five assists/points in the season series, while Michael Del Zotto led the Rangers with three goals and all team defensemen with four points. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-1-0 with a 2.67 GAA, and Martin Biron was 0-1-0 with a 4.01 GAA. – Only two of the Rangers and Canadiens last six meetings have been decided by fewer than three goals – a 5-3 win for the Blueshirts on Nov. 5, 2011 at MSG, and a 3-1 loss on Tuesday at MSG – New York is tied for 24th in the NHL with a 2-3-1 (7 pts) record on the road; Montreal ranks second in the NHL with a 7-3-1 (15 pts) mark at home
– The Rangers are 3-2-1 vs. the Northeast Division this season; the Canadiens are 3-0-1 vs. the Atlantic Division this season – New York lists two former Canadiens on their roster: Arron Asham (1998-99 – 2001-02); Jeff Halpern (2010-11) – Montreal lists one former Ranger on their roster: Brandon Prust (2009-10 – 2011-12) – Rangers’ defenseman Ryan McDonagh was originally selected by the Canadiens as a first round choice, 12th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. CANADIENS: – Henrik Lundqvist — 26 GP, 13-10-2, 2.87 GAA, 1 SO – Martin Biron — 29 GP, 14-12-0-1, 2.42 GAA, 2 SO – Brad Richards — 35 GP, 9-13-22 – Jeff Halpern — 34 GP, 5-9-14 – Marian Gaborik — 18 GP, 5-7-12 – Anton Stralman — 10 GP, 4-3-7
The Blueshirts’ penalty kill is 18-19 (94.7%) in the last seven games. New York has posted a record of 4-2-1 when holding opponents scoreless on the power play. – Power Play: The Rangers tallied one goal in four power play attempts (6:55) on Thursday at Ottawa. New York ranks 30th overall (7-59, 11.9%) and 28th on the road (2-24, 8.3%). The Rangers are 1-6 (7:05) in five-on-three situations (last – 2/14 vs. NYI), and 0-0 (0:00) when four-on-three. Shorthanded goals allowed (2): 2/19 vs. MTL (Diaz, EN); 2/21 at OTT (Silfverberg). – Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Senators in two attempts (2:11) on Thursday at Ottawa. New York is tied for ninth overall (50-60, 83.3%) and 15th on the road (17-21, 81.0%). The Rangers are 2-2 (3:12) in three-on-five situations (last –1/29 vs. PHI), and 2-2 (1:57) when three-on-four (last – 1/31 vs. PIT). Shorthanded goals for (1): 1/20 vs. PIT (Nash). – Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (5:00) on Thursday at Ottawa, and are now minus-1 in 11 four-on-four situations (23:35) this season. Four-on-four goals for (1): 1/23 vs. BOS (Gaborik). Four-on-four goals allowed (2): 1/20 vs. PIT (Letang); 1/23 vs. BOS (Horton).
ORIGINAL SIX SHOWDOWN: – Tomorrow’s contest will be the sixth of nine scheduled games against Original Six opponents this season (3-2-0) – Henrik Lundqvist is 3-2-0 with a 2.54 GAA against Original Six opponents this season – Marian Gaborik leads the Rangers with five goals and seven points against Original Six opponents this season – Rick Nash has tallied a team-high, five assists against Original Six opponents this season – Michael Del Zotto (one goal, two assists), Dan Girardi (three assists) and Marc Staal (one goal, two assists) are tied for the team lead in points by a defenseman with three apiece – New York is 57-34-12 against Original Six teams since 2005-06, including a 13-13-3 mark vs. Montreal over the span. The Rangers’ .612 win% ranks second, trailing Detroit (.649, 44-22-8), and ahead of Montreal (.596, 77-50-13), Chicago (.539, 36-30-11), Boston (.535, 66-56-22), and Toronto (.489, 59-62-19).
The Rangers have registered a point in six of seven games when scoring the first goal this season, posting a record of 5-1-1 in those contests, compared to 3-5-1 when allowing the game’s first goal. The Blueshirts have posted a 5-0-1 mark when leading after the first period, and are 5-0-0 when leading after the second period.
The Blueshirts have posted a record of 5-2-1 when out-shooting their opponents, which ranks ninth in the NHL. The Rangers are 3-4-1 when being out-shot by their opponent.
A BROADWAY HIT
The Rangers rank second in the NHL in hits (497) this season. Rangers’ captain Ryan Callahan is tied with Brian Boyle for the team lead, and eighth in the NHL, with 57 hits, while Marc Staal leads all Rangers defensemen and is tied for 10th among NHL blueliners with 41 hits.
The Blueshirts have had nine players make their Rangers debut this season – Jeff Halpern, Rick Nash, Taylor Pyatt, Brandon Segal, Arron Asham, Benn Ferriero, Darroll Powe, J.T. Miller and Brandon Mashinter.
Rangers’ rookie J.T. Miller notched two goals while making his Madison Square Garden debut on Feb. 7 in a 4-1 win against the New York Islanders. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Ranger (rookie or otherwise) to tally multiple goals in his MSG debut was Chris Kontos in a 6-2 win against Detroit on Jan. 3, 1983. Miller (19 years, 330 days) is the youngest Ranger to tally multiple goals in a single game since Alex Kovalev posted a hat trick on Dec. 27, 1992, at the age of 19 years, 307 days.
THE HOT LIST: – The Rangers have registered at least one point in 10 of their last 14 contests (8-4-2), including points in six of the last seven games (4-1-2), after dropping the first two games of the season – The Rangers’ penalty kill is 18-19 (94.7%) in the last seven games – Henrik Lundqvist — is 7-4-1 with a 1.98 GAA and a .927 Sv% in his last 12 games; has held opponents to two goals or less in eight of his last 11 games (6-4-1, 1.89 GAA, .930 Sv% over the span) – Carl Hagelin — 10 points (six goals, four assists) in the last nine games, including eight points (five goals, three assists) in the last six contests – Dan Girardi — four points (one goal, three assists) in the last six games – Derek Stepan — enters the contest with a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists over the span), and has tallied a point in four of the last five games (two goals, two assists over the span) – Ryan McDonagh — five points (two goals, three assists) in the last seven games – Marc Staal — six assists in the last nine games
MILESTONES IN SIGHT: – Ryan Callahan — 6 assists from 100th NHL career – Michael Del Zotto — 4 points from 100th NHL career – Steve Eminger — 4 points from 100th NHL career – Brad Richards — 7 points from 800th NHL career – Marc Staal — 5 points from 100th NHL career – Anton Stralman — 6 points from 100th NHL career
INJURIES: – Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5/11) — 16· – Darroll Powe (concussion, 2/17) — 2· – Rick Nash (injured, 2/19) — 2· – Arron Asham (injured, 2/19) — 1
Total Man-Games Lost: 32
RECENT TRANSACTIONS: – Feb. 16 — Recalled forward Chris Kreider from Connecticut (AHL) – Feb. 18 — Recalled forward Brandon Mashinter from Connecticut (AHL) – Feb. 18 — Agreed to terms with goaltender Cam Talbot on a new contract – Feb. 22 — Recalled defenseman Steve Eminger from his conditioning assignment in Connecticut (AHL)