Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at MONTREAL CANADIENS
Saturday, Mar. 30, 7:00 p.m.
Bell Centre – Montreal, QC
Rangers: 16-14-3 (35 pts)
Canadiens: 21-7-5 (47 pts)
The Rangers will conclude their three-game road trip when they face-off against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre (7:00 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in an Original Six matchup. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 16-14-3 (35 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Ottawa Senators, 3-0, on Thursday at Scotiabank Place, and are now 1-1-0 on their current three-game road trip. New York has recorded a point in four of their last six contests (3-2-1). The Canadiens enter the contest with a 21-7-5 (47 pts) record to rank second in the Eastern Conference, and have lost three of their last five games. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, Apr. 1, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.).
RANGERS vs. CANADIENS: – All-Time: 191-322-94-3 overall (127-123-54-1 at home; 64-199-40-2 on the road) – 2013: Tonight is the third and final meeting this season, and the second of two meetings at Bell Centre. The Rangers are 0-2-0 overall (0-1-0 at home; 0-1-0 on the road), following a 3-0 loss at Bell Centre on Feb. 23. The Rangers have out-shot the Canadiens, 42-36, in the series, including an 11-6 advantage in the first period. Henrik Lundqvist is 0-1-0 with a 2.02 GAA, while Martin Biron is 0-1-0 with a 3.00 GAA. – 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 seven 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 Feb. 19, 2013 a MSG – New York ranks 22nd in the NHL with a 6-8-1 (13 pts) record on the road; Montreal ranks 17th in the NHL with a 9-4-3 (21 pts) mark at home – The Rangers are 4-6-1 vs. the Northeast Division this season; the Canadiens are 6-2-2 vs. the Atlantic Division this season – New York lists two former Canadiens on their roster: Arron Asham (1998-99 – 2001-02); Roman Hamrlik (2007-08 – 2010-11) – Montreal lists two former Rangers on their roster: Jeff Halpern (2013); 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 — 30 GP, 14-13-0-1, 2.44 GAA, 2 SO – Brad Richards — 36 GP, 9-13-22 – Rick Nash — 8 GP, 3-4-7 – Derek Stepan — 10 GP, 0-7-7 – Anton Stralman — 11 GP, 4-3-7
SPECIAL TEAMS: – The Rangers’ power play is 11-59 (18.6%) in the last 21 games – The Blueshirts have posted a record of 9-4-1 when not allowing a power play goal – Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in four power play attempts (8:00) on Thursday at Ottawa. New York ranks 25th overall (15-103, 14.6%) and 29th on the road (5-44, 11.4%). The Rangers are 3-9 (7:53) in five-on-three situations (last – 3/24 vs. WSH), and 1-1 (0:21) when four-on-three (last – 3/7 at NYI). Shorthanded goals allowed (4): 2/19 vs. MTL (Diaz, EN); 2/21 at OTT (Silfverberg); 3/3 vs. BUF (Gerbe); 3/21 vs. FLA (Kopecky, EN). – Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Senators in two power play attempts (3:23) on Thursday at Ottawa. New York ranks 16th overall (88-109, 80.7%) and 21st on the road (35-45, 77.8%). The Rangers are 6-6 (7:34) in three-on-five situations (last – 3/24 vs. WSH), and 4-4 (4:24) when three-on-four (last – 3/18 vs. CAR). Shorthanded goals for (3): 1/20 vs. PIT (Nash); 3/12 at BUF (Stepan); 3/19 at NJD (Del Zotto). – Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation on Thursday at Ottawa, and are now minus-1 in 22 four-on-four situations (46:13) 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: – Tonight’s contest will be the seventh of nine scheduled games against Original Six opponents this season (3-3-0) – Henrik Lundqvist is 3-2-0 with a 2.54 GAA and Martin Biron is 0-1-0 with a 3.00 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 57-35-12 against Original Six teams since 2005-06, including a 13-14-3 mark vs. Montreal over the span. The Rangers’ .606 win% ranks third, trailing Detroit (.647, 44-22-9) and Montreal (.608, 81-50-13), and ahead of Chicago (.545, 37-30-11), Boston (.534, 68-58-23), and Toronto (.486, 60-64-20).
FINISHING THE JOB
The Blueshirts have registered a point in 85 consecutive games when leading after the second period, dating back to the 2009-10 season, posting a record of 79-0-6 over the span. The Rangers’ last regulation loss in a game when entering the third with the lead was Feb. 4, 2010 (6-5 loss vs. WSH). New York is 9-0-0 when leading after the second period this season.
Rick Nash and Brad Richards both reached significant career milestones in the Rangers’ 5-2 win on Tuesday at Philadelphia. Rick Nash notched two goals, including his 300th career NHL goal, and added an assist in the contest, while Brad Richards registered two points (one goal, one assist) to record his 800th career NHL point.
A BROADWAY HIT
The Rangers rank fourth in the NHL in hits (985) this season. Brian Boyle leads the Rangers and is tied for eighth in the NHL with 114 hits, while Ryan Callahan ranks second on the team and 11th in the league with 110 hits.
Rangers’ Head Coach John Tortorella recorded his 400th NHL coaching victory with a 5-2 win on Tuesday at Philadelphia, becoming the 30th head coach in league history to reach the mark. He is now three wins shy of fourth place on the Rangers’ all-time coaching wins list, with 161 career wins as the Blueshirts’ head coach.
The Rangers rank among the Eastern Conference leaders in several statistical categories… – 3rd (4th in NHL) in GAA — 2.36 – T-3rd (T-6th in NHL) in FO% — 51.4% – 1st (1st in NHL) in Fewest PIM/G — 9.7 – 3rd (4th in NHL) in Hits — 985 – 4th (7th in NHL) in BkS — 530 – T-2nd (T-5th in NHL) in OT wins — 2
QUICK HITS: – The Rangers did not surrender a power play opportunity against on Mar. 7 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 – New York has registered a point in 10 of 12 games when scoring the first goal this season (9-2-1), and are 7-12-2 when allowing the game’s first goal – The Blueshirts have posted a 7-0-1 mark when leading after the first period, and are 9-0-0 when leading after the second period – Henrik Lundqvist is one win shy of Ed Giacomin (267) for second on the Rangers’ all-time goalie wins list
THE HOT LIST: – Henrik Lundqvist — has held opponents to three goals or fewer in each of his last 14 games (7-6-1, 1.98 GAA, .929 Sv%) – Rick Nash — 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in his last 19 games, including five points (three goals, two assists) in the last five games – Derek Stepan — has tallied a point in 11 of the last 15 games (seven goals, nine assists over the span) – Michael Del Zotto — five points (one goal, four assists) in the last five games
MILESTONES IN SIGHT: – Ryan Callahan — 1 assist from 100th NHL career – Steve Eminger — 3 points from 100th NHL career – Carl Hagelin — 3 games from 100th NHL career – Roman Hamrlik — 7 games from 1400th NHL career – Henrik Lundqvist — 3 games from 500th NHL career – Marc Staal — 3 points from 100th NHL career – Derek Stepan — 3 games from 200th NHL career – Anton Stralman — 2 games from 300th NHL career; 3 points from 100th NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED: – Rick Nash — 300th career NHL goal (3/26 at PHI) – Brad Richards — 800th career NHL point (3/26 at PHI) – John Tortorella — 400th career NHL win (3/26 at PHI) – Brian Boyle — 300th career NHL game (3/28 at OTT)
INJURIES: – Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5/11) — 33 – Marc Staal (injured, 3/5) — 12
Total Man-Games Lost: 84
RECENT TRANSACTIONS: – Mar. 23 — Montreal claimed forward Jeff Halpern off waivers – Mar. 24 — Assigned defenseman Stu Bickel to Connecticut (AHL) – Mar. 28 — Signed free agent forward Mats Zuccarello