Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at BUFFALO SABRES
Tuesday, Mar. 12, 7:00 p.m.
First Niagara Center – Buffalo, NY
Rangers: 13-9-2 (28 pts)
Sabres: 9-14-3 (21 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center (7:00 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), as they continue their four-game road trip. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 13-9-2 (28 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Washington Capitals, 4-1, on Sunday at Verizon Center, and have won five of the last six games. The Blueshirts have now registered a point in four of their last five road games (3-1-1). The Sabres enter the contest with a 9-14-3 (21 pts) record to rank 14th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost their last four games. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, Mar. 14, at MTS Centre (8:00 p.m.), as they continue their four-game road trip.
RANGERS vs. SABRES: – All-Time: 61-72-25-5 overall (35-28-15-3 at home; 26-44-10-2 on the road) – 2013: Tonight is the second of three meetings this season, and the first of two meetings at First Niagara Center. The Rangers are 1-0-0 overall (1-0-0 at home; 0-0-0 on the road), following a 3-2 shootout win on Mar. 3 at Madison Square Garden. Rick Nash (game-deciding goal) and Ryan Callahan both converted in the shootout, while Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves through regulation/overtime and stopped 2-2 in the shootout for the win. The Rangers’ power play was 2-4 (50.0%) in the contest, while the Blueshirts held the Sabres scoreless in five power play opportunities against. Rick Nash (one goal, one assist) and Marian Gaborik (two assists) are tied for the series leading in scoring with two points apiece. – 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%. – The Rangers and Sabres have been separated by one goal in nine of their last 13 meetings, including five that required overtime (two in the shootout) – 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 ranks 20th in the NHL with a 4-4-1 (9 pts) record on the road; Buffalo ranks 29th in the NHL with a 4-6-1 (9 pts) mark at home – The Rangers are 4-4-1 vs. the Northeast Division this season; the Sabres are 3-3-2 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 — 22 GP, 11-9-2, 2.33 GAA, 1 SO – Martin Biron — 14 GP, 9-3-0-1, 2.68 GAA, 2 SO – Brad Richards — 35 GP, 9-19-28 – Marian Gaborik — 18 GP, 4-9-13 – Rick Nash — 11 GP, 7-3-10 – Michael Del Zotto — 11 GP, 0-6-6
The Rangers’ power play has tallied a goal in eight of the last 12 games (9-38, 23.7% over the span), while the Blueshirts’ penalty kill is 38-43 (88.4%) in the last 15 games. New York has posted a record of 8-3-1 when not allowing a power play goal. – Power Play: The Rangers tallied a goal in two power play attempts (2:41) on Sunday at Washington. New York ranks 23rd overall (13-82, 15.8%) and ranks 22nd on the road (4-31, 12.9%). The Rangers are 2-8 (7:46) in five-on-three situations (last – 3/3 vs. BUF), and 1-1 (0:21) when four-on-three (last – 3/7 at NYI). Shorthanded goals allowed (3): 2/19 vs. MTL (Diaz, EN); 2/21 at OTT (Silfverberg); 3/3 vs. BUF (Gerbe). – Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Capitals scoreless in three power play attempts (5:29) on Sunday at Washington. New York is tied for 11th overall (70-84, 83.3%) and ranks 11th on the road (23-28, 82.1%). The Rangers are 5-5 (5:52) in three-on-five situations (last – 3/10 at WSH), and 3-3 (4:19) when three-on-four (last – 3/3 vs. BUF). 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 (2:00) on Sunday at Washington, and are now minus-1 in 15 four-on-four situations (29:22) 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).
SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST
Rick Nash currently leads the team with nine goals, having tallied his first eight goals of the season in the third period. Nash is the second player in NHL history whose first eight goals of a season were tallied in the third player, while fellow Ranger Arron Asham is the other to have accomplished the feat, in 2003-04, as a member of the New York Islanders.
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 seventh in the league with 113 goals scored and is tied for third with .46 goals per game since the beginning of the 2009-10 season.
A BROADWAY HIT
The Rangers rank third in the NHL in hits (723) this season. Rangers’ captain Ryan Callahan leads the team and is tied for eighth in the NHL with 84 hits, while Brian Boyle ranks second on the Rangers and 13th in the league with 76 hits.
The Rangers rank among the Eastern Conference leaders in several statistical categories… – 3rd (6th in NHL) in GAA — 2.33 – 3rd in FO% — 51.3% – 1st (4th in NHL) in Fewest PIM/G — 10.9 – T-1st in OT wins — 2 – 5th in +/- Rating — +6
QUICK HITS: – The Rangers did not surrender a power play opportunity against on Thursday at Long Island, marking the first time the Blueshirts did not have a shorthanded situation in a game since Jan. 10, 2012, in a 2-1 shootout win vs. PHX. The last time the Rangers did not allow a power play attempt against the Islanders was Jan. 7, 1989, in a 5-1 win at Long Island. – The Blueshirts have had 13 players make their regular season debut with the team this season – The Rangers’ power play has tallied a goal in eight of the last 12 games (9-38, 23.7% over the span) – The Blueshirts’ penalty kill is 38-43 (88.4%) in the last 15 games – New York has registered a point in eight of nine games when scoring the first goal this season (7-1-1), and are 6-8-1 when allowing the game’s first goal – The Blueshirts have posted a 6-0-1 mark when leading after the first period, and are 7-0-0 when leading after the second period
THE HOT LIST: – Henrik Lundqvist — has held opponents to two goals or less in 12 of his last 17 games (10-6-1, 1.99 GAA, .929 Sv% over the span) – Rick Nash — enters the contest with a Rangers’ season-high, six-game point streak (six goals, five assists during the streak), and has tallied a point in each of his last 10 games (seven goals, nine assists over the span) – Derek Stepan — seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last six games – Brad Richards — four points (two goals, two assists) in his last five games, including a goal in each of the last two games – Marian Gaborik — five points (one goal, four assists) in the last five games – Carl Hagelin — 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in the last 14 games, including an assist in each of the last three games (four assists over the span) – Ryan Callahan — seven points (five goals, two assists) in the last nine games, including four points (three goals, one assist) in the last four contests – Ryan McDonagh — 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his last 14 games, including five assists in the last six games – Michael Del Zotto — three assists in the last five games, including an assist in each of the last two contests
MILESTONES IN SIGHT: – Ryan Callahan — 4 assists from 100th NHL career – Michael Del Zotto — 1 point from 100th NHL career – Steve Eminger — 3 points from 100th NHL career – Brad Richards — 3 points from 800th NHL career – Marc Staal — 3 points from 100th NHL career – Anton Stralman — 3 points from 100th NHL career
INJURIES: – Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5/11) — 24 – Arron Asham (injured, 2/19) — 9 – Marc Staal (injured, 3/5) — 3
Total Man-Games Lost: 59
RECENT TRANSACTIONS: – Mar. 5 — Agreed to terms with free agent forward Josh Nicholls – Mar. 5 — Recalled forward Micheal Haley from Connecticut (AHL) – Mar. 6 — Claimed defenseman Roman Hamrlik off waivers from Washington