No April Fools joke today.
Yesterday I mentioned that there had been a lot of chatter in Canada that Henrik Lundqvist was being checked for a concussion after complaining about headaches and not feeling well following an elbow by Dan Girardi and a shot by Mike Ribeiro last week. I have been assured by the team, in no uncertain terms that such talk was “100 percent inaccurate and false.”
So there you have it. You can expect Lundqvist to play tonight, and I’m thinking probably all of the remaining Rangers games until they mathematically clinch a playoff berth or are eliminated.
Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. WINNIPEG JETS
Monday, Apr. 1, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 16-15-3 (35 pts)
Jets: 18-16-2 (38 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7). The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 16-15-3 (35 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Montreal Canadiens, 3-0, on Saturday at Bell Centre, to complete their three-game road trip with a 1-2-0 record. New York has recorded a point in five of their last seven games at MSG (4-2-1). The Jets enter the contest with an 18-16-2 (38 pts) record to rank third in the Eastern Conference, and have lost five of their last eight games. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, Apr. 3, at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.), in an Atlantic Division matchup.
RANGERS vs. JETS: – All-Time: 23-17-1-9 overall (9-10-1-5 at home; 14-7-0-4 on the road) – 2013: Tonight is the third and final meeting this season, and the second of two meetings at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are 0-2-0 overall (0-1-0 at home; 0-1-0 on the road), following a 3-1 loss on Mar. 14 at MTS Centre. Each contest has been decided by two goals or less. Ryan Callahan leads the team with two goals in the series, while Anton Stralman leads all defensemen in scoring with two points (one goal, one assist). Henrik Lundqvist is 0-2-0 with a 3.05 GAA and .906 Sv%. – Last Season: New York was 4-0-0 overall (2-0-0 at home; 2-0-0 on the road). The Rangers out-scored the Jets, 12-3, including a 6-0 advantage in the third period. The Rangers’ power play was 5-20 (25.0%), while the penalty kill held the Jets scoreless in 12 shorthanded situations in the series. Ryan Callahan (three goals, two assists), Marian Gaborik (two goals, three assists) and Michael Del Zotto (one goal, four assists) tied for the series lead in scoring with five points apiece. Callahan’s three goals led all skaters, and Del Zotto tallied a series-leading, four assists. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA, .957 Sv% and one shutout, while Martin Biron was 2-0-0 with a 0.50 GAA, .980 Sv% and one shutout. – The Rangers’ 2-1 victory on Oct. 24, 2011, was the team’s first win in Winnipeg since a 5-4 victory against the previous Winnipeg Jets franchise on Nov. 21, 1992 – New York is tied for 15th in the NHL with a 10-6-2 (22 pts) record at home; Winnipeg ranks seventh in the NHL with a 10-7-2 (22 pts) mark on the road – The Rangers are 6-3-1 vs. the Southeast Division this season; the Jets are 6-4-1 vs. the Atlantic Division this season – New York lists no former Jets on their roster – Winnipeg lists two former Rangers on their roster: Nik Antropov (2008-09); Olli Jokinen (2009-10)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. JETS: – Henrik Lundqvist — 23 GP, 9-7-6, 2.20 GAA, 2 SO – Martin Biron — 20 GP, 8-11-0-0, 3.02 GAA, 4 SO – Brad Richards — 52 GP, 18-38-56 – Marian Gaborik — 19 GP, 10-12-22 – Ryan Callahan — 19 GP, 9-5-14 – Michael Del Zotto — 11 GP, 2-8-10
SPECIAL TEAMS: – The Rangers’ power play is 11-60 (18.3%) in the last 22 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 one power play attempt (2:00) on Saturday at Montreal. New York ranks 25th overall (15-104, 14.4%) and 22nd at home (10-59, 17.0%). 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 Canadiens in two power play attempts (2:49) on Saturday at Montreal. New York is tied for 20th overall (89-111, 80.2%) and ranks 15th at home (53-64, 82.8%). 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 Saturday at Montreal, 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).
The Rangers have posted a record of 21-6-3 in their last 30 games against Southeast Division opponents, including a 6-3-1 mark against the Southeast Division this season. The Blueshirts have out-scored their Southeast Division opponents, 94-62, over the span.
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 third in the NHL in hits (1027) this season. Brian Boyle leads the Rangers and ranks seventh in the NHL with 119 hits, while Ryan Callahan ranks second on the team and is tied for ninth in the league with 115 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… – 4th (5th in NHL) in GAA — 2.38 – T-4th (T-7th in NHL) in FO% — 51.4% – 1st (1st in NHL) in Fewest PIM/G — 9.5 – 3rd (3rd in NHL) in Hits — 985 – 4th (7th in NHL) in BkS — 546 – 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 7-13-2 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 20 games – Derek Stepan — has tallied a point in 11 of the last 16 games (seven goals, nine assists over the span) – Michael Del Zotto — five points (one goal, four assists) in the last six games
MILESTONES IN SIGHT: – Ryan Callahan — 1 assist from 100th NHL career – Steve Eminger — 3 points from 100th NHL career – Carl Hagelin — 2 games from 100th NHL career – Roman Hamrlik — 6 games from 1400th NHL career – Henrik Lundqvist — 3 games from 500th NHL career – Marc Staal — 3 points from 100th NHL career – Derek Stepan — 2 games from 200th NHL career – Anton Stralman — 1 game 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) — 34 – Marc Staal (injured, 3/5) — 13
Total Man-Games Lost: 86
RECENT TRANSACTIONS: – Mar. 23 — Montreal claimed forward Jeff Halpern off waivers – Mar. 24 — Assigned defenseman Stu Bickel to Connecticut (AHL) – Mar. 28 — Agreed to terms with free agent forward Mats Zuccarello – Mar. 29 — Agreed to terms with free agent defenseman Conor Allen – Mar. 31 — Assigned forward Kris Newbury to Connecticut (AHL)