Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. BUFFALO SABRES
Sunday, Mar. 3, 7:30 p.m.
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 9-8-2 (20 pts)
Sabres: 8-12-1 (17 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), as they continue their four-game homestand. The Blueshirts currently rank fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, and rank 10th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 9-8-2 (20 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1, on Thursday at Madison Square Garden, to sweep the season series against the Lightning (3-0-0). The Blueshirts have recorded at least a point in five of their last seven home games (4-2-1). The Sabres currently own a record of 9-12-1 (19 pts) after a win in New Jersey Saturday and have won their last three games. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will conclude their four-game homestand when they face-off against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, Mar. 5, at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.), in an Atlantic Division matchup.
RANGERS vs. SABRES: – All-Time: 60-72-25-5 overall (34-28-15-3 at home; 26-44-10-2 on the road) – 2013: Tonight is the first of three meetings this season, and the only meeting at Madison Square Garden – Last Season: New York was 3-1-0 (1-1-0 at home; 2-0-0 on the road). Two of their four meetings required extra time, including a 1-0 shootout victory on Feb. 1 at Buffalo. The Rangers’ penalty kill was 10-11 (90.9%) and tallied two shorthanded goals in the season series. Carl Hagelin led the Rangers in scoring with three goals and four points in the series, while Michael Del Zotto tied for the series lead with three assists. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-1-0 with a 1.92 GAA, .925 Sv% and 1 shutout, and Martin Biron was 1-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and .970 Sv%. – Eight of their last 12 meetings have been decided by one goal, including four that required overtime – Ryan Callahan notched the game-winning goal in each Blueshirts’ win against Buffalo last season, including the game-deciding goal in the Rangers’ 1-0 shootout win on Feb. 1 – New York is tied for fifth in the NHL with a 7-4-1 (15 pts) record at home; Buffalo ranks 14th in the NHL with a 5-6-0 (10 pts) mark on the road – The Rangers are 3-3-1 vs. the Northeast Division this season; the Sabres are 2-2-0 vs. the Atlantic Division this season – New York lists two former Sabres on their roster: Martin Biron (1995-96 – 2006-07); Taylor Pyatt (2001-02 – 2005-06) – Buffalo lists one former Ranger on their roster: John Scott (2011-12)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. SABRES: – Henrik Lundqvist — 21 GP, 10-9-2, 2.35 GAA, 1 SO – Martin Biron — 14 GP, 9-3-0-1, 2.68 GAA, 2 SO – Brad Richards — 34 GP, 9-19-28 – Arron Asham — 38 GP, 7-13-20 – Marian Gaborik — 17 GP, 4-7-11 – Michael Del Zotto — 10 GP, 0-5-5
The Rangers’ power play has tallied a goal in four of the last seven games (4-23, 17.4%), while the Blueshirts’ penalty kill is 27-29 (93.1%) in the last 10 games. New York has posted a record of 5-3-1 when holding opponents scoreless on the power play. – Power Play: The Rangers tallied one goal in four power play attempts (7:17) on Thursday vs. Tampa Bay. New York ranks 30th overall (8-67, 11.9%) and 24th at home (6-41, 14.6%). The Rangers are 1-7 (7:39) in five-on-three situations (last – 2/28 vs. TBL), 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 held the Lightning scoreless in three attempts (6:00) on Thursday at MSG. New York ranks ninth overall (59-70, 84.3%) and ninth at home (39-45, 86.7%). The Rangers are 3-3 (4:49) in three-on-five situations (last – 2/23 at MTL), 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 skate in a four-on-four situation on Thursday vs. Tampa Bay, 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).
GOAL SCORING LEADERS SINCE 2009-10
Marian Gaborik has been among the league’s goal scoring leaders since joining the Rangers in 2009-10. Last season, Gaborik became the fifth player in Rangers history to record 100 goals in his first three seasons with the club, and became the third Ranger in franchise history to register multiple 40-goal seasons with the team. Entering this season, his 105 goals from 2009-10 to 2011-12 ranked seventh in the NHL, while his .48 goals per game average ranked third (behind Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin) over that time period. Including games played this season, Gaborik currently ranks sixth in the league with 112 goals scored and is tied for third with .47 goals per game since the beginning of the 2009-10 season.
A BROADWAY HIT
The Rangers rank third in the NHL in hits (578) this season. Brian Boyle leads the Rangers and ranks eighth in the NHL with 68 hits, while Rangers’ captain Ryan Callahan ranks second on the team and is tied for ninth in the league with 66 hits. Marc Staal leads all Rangers defensemen and is tied for 20th among NHL blueliners with 42 hits.
QUICK HITS: – The Blueshirts out-shot the Lightning, 42-25, including a 20-3 advantage in the first period of their meeting on Thursday at MSG. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Rangers had a 17-shot advantage in a period was on Jan. 9, 2010, when New York out-shot Boston, 21-3, in the second period. – The Rangers’ penalty kill is 27-29 (93.1%) in the last 10 games – New York has registered a point in seven of eight games when scoring the first goal this season (6-1-1), and are 3-7-1 when allowing the game’s first goal – The Blueshirts have posted a 6-0-1 mark when leading after the first period, and are 6-0-0 when leading after the second period
THE HOT LIST: – Henrik Lundqvist — has held opponents to two goals or less in nine of his last 13 games (7-5-1, 1.99 GAA, .927 Sv% over the span) – Rick Nash — has tallied an assist/point in each of his last five games (two goals, five assists over the span) – Carl Hagelin — nine points (six goals, three assists) in the last nine games – Derek Stepan — has tallied a point in five of the last eight games (three goals, two assists over the span) – Marc Staal — eight points (one goal, seven assists) in the last 12 games, including three points (one goal, two assists) in the last four contests – Ryan McDonagh — seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last nine games – Ryan Callahan — three points (two goals, one assist) in the last four games – Dan Girardi — six points (one goal, five assists) in the last nine games, including an assist in each of the last two contests – Brad Richards — two assists and 28-37 on faceoffs (75.7%) in the last two games
MILESTONES IN SIGHT: – Ryan Callahan — 5 assists from 100th NHL career – Michael Del Zotto — 4 points from 100th NHL career – Steve Eminger — 3 points from 100th NHL career – Brad Richards — 5 points from 800th NHL career – Marc Staal — 3 points from 100th NHL career – Anton Stralman — 4 points from 100th NHL career
INJURIES: – Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5/11) — 19 – Arron Asham (injured, 2/19) — 4
Total Man-Games Lost: 44