Could it really, really be 14 years since The Great One retired? April 18, 1999, Wayne Gretzky hung ’em up at Madison Square Garden. Cannot believe it’s been that long. Have the Rangers scored a power-play goal since then?
Photo by Getty Images.
Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS
Thursday, Apr. 18, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 21-17-4 (46 pts)
Panthers: 13-23-6 (32 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), to begin a back-to-back set. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 21-17-4 (46 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-2, on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center, and are now 5-2-1 in their last eight games. The Panthers enter the contest with a 13-23-6 (32 pts) record to rank 15th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost four of their last five games. Following tomorrow’s contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, Apr. 19, at First Niagara Center (7:00 p.m.), to complete their back-to-back set.
RANGERS vs. PANTHERS:
All-Time: 41-27-6-4 overall (21-14-4-0 at home; 20-13-2-4 on the road)
2013: Tomorrow is the second of three meetings this season, and the second of two meetings at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are 0-1-0 (0-1-0 at home; 0-0-0 on the road), following a 3-1 loss on Mar. 21 at MSG. Henrik Lundqvist is 0-1-0 with a 2.03 GAA and .913 Sv%.
Last Season: New York was 3-1-0 overall (2-0-0 mark at home; 1-1-0 mark on the road). The Rangers out-scored the Panthers, 14-6, in the series. The Blueshirts’ power play was 3-11 (27.3%), while the penalty kill was 15-16 (93.8%) in four games. Derek Stepan tallied series-highs in goals (three) and points (five) in four games, while Ryan McDonagh led all skaters with three assists. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-1-0 with a 1.34 GAA and .954 Sv%, and Martin Biron was 1-0-0 with a 1.89 GAA and .905 Sv%.
The Rangers have won eight of their last 12 games against the Panthers, having out-scored Florida, 32-19, over the span
New York is tied for 11th in the NHL with a 13-6-2 (28 pts) record at home; Florida ranks 27th in the NHL with a 6-13-1 (13 pts) mark on the road
The Rangers are 8-3-1 vs. the Southeast Division this season; the Panthers are 5-7-0 vs. the Atlantic Division this season
New York lists one former Panther on their roster: Steve Eminger (2008-09) Florida lists no former Rangers on their roster .
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. PANTHERS:
Henrik Lundqvist — 23 GP, 14-8-1, 1.75 GAA, 5 SO
Martin Biron — 22 GP, 8-12-1-0, 2.64 GAA
Brad Richards — 51 GP, 16-28-44
Ryan Callahan — 17 GP, 3-5-8
Derek Stepan — 9 GP, 5-2-7
Dan Girardi — 12 GP, 1-4-5
The Rangers’ power play is 5-25 (20.0%) in the last seven games, compared to 14.3% with the man advantage prior to the trade deadline
The Blueshirts’ penalty kill is 20-22 (90.9%) in the last eight games
New York has registered a point in 16 of 20 games (14-4-2) when not allowing a power play goal
Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in five power play attempts (10:00) on Tuesday at Philadelphia. New York is tied for 20th overall (20-130, 15.4%) and ranks 17th at home (13-67, 19.4%). The Rangers are 3-9 (7:53) in five-on-three situations (last –3/24 vs. WSH), and 2-2 (1:20) when four-on-three (last –4/13 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 Flyers in two power play attempts (2:18) on Tuesday at Philadelphia. New York ranks 14th overall (109-133, 82.0%) and 13th at home (62-73, 84.9%). The Rangers are 7-7 (8:13) in three-on-five situations (last –4/1 vs. WPG), and 4-4 (4:24) when three-on-four (last –3/18 vs. CAR). Shorthanded goals for (4): 1/20 vs. PIT (Nash); 3/12 at BUF (Stepan); 3/19 at NJD (Del Zotto); 4/1 vs. WPG (Callahan).
Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation on Tuesday at Philadelphia, and are now Even in 28 four-on-four situations (60:44) this season. Four-on-four goals for (2): 1/23 vs. BOS (Gaborik); 4/13 at NYI (Girardi). Four-on-four goals allowed (2): 1/20 vs. PIT (Letang); 1/23 vs. BOS (Horton).
The Rangers will begin their sixth and final back-to-back set this season tomorrow against Florida at Madison Square Garden. New York has posted a combined record of 5-4-1 in back-to-back games, including a 3-1-1 (2-0-0 at home; 1-1-1 on the road) record in the first game and a 2-3-0 (0-2-0 at home; 2-1-0 on the road) mark in the second. Henrik Lundqvist has started on consecutive days 64 times in his career, posting a record of 40-17-7 with a 1.91 GAA, .933 Sv% and six shutouts in the second game.
The Rangers have posted a record of 23-6-3 in their last 32 games against Southeast Division opponents, including an 8-3-1 mark against the Southeast Division this season. The Blueshirts have out-scored their Southeast Division opponents, 102-65, over the span.
THE PUCK STOPS HERE
Henrik Lundqvist turned aside all 29 shots faced to post his first shutout of the season, 44th of his career, in a 1-0 overtime win on Saturday at Long Island. The shutout was Lundqvist’s 50th career total, including six playoff shutouts, tying him with Ed Giacomin as the Rangers’ all-time leader in total shutouts.
FINISHING THE JOB
The Blueshirts have registered a point in 88 consecutive games when leading after the second period, dating back to the 2009-10 season, posting a record of 82-0-6 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 12-0-0 when leading after the second period this season.
Rangers’ Head Coach John Tortorella recorded his 400th NHL coaching victory with a 5-2 win on Mar. 26 at Philadelphia, becoming the 30th head coach in league history to reach the mark. On Wednesday, Tortorella passed Tom Renney for fourth on the Rangers’ all-time coaching wins list with his 165th victory as the Blueshirts’ head coach.
The Rangers rank among the Eastern Conference leaders in several statistical categories…
3rd (5th in NHL) in GAA — 2.29
1st (1st in NHL) in Fewest PIM/G — 9.3
3rd (4th in NHL) in Hits — 1246
5th (7th in NHL) in BkS — 674
THE HOT LIST:
Henrik Lundqvist — has allowed two or fewer goals in 12 of his last 14 games (8-4-2, 1.76 GAA, .935 Sv%, 1 SO over the span)
Derek Stepan — 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in the last 24 games, including 10 points (five goals, five assists) in the last eight contests
Derick Brassard — nine points (three goals, six assists) in his last nine games, including seven points (one goal, six assists) in seven games as a Ranger
Ryan Callahan — six points (two goals, four assists) in the last eight games
Ryane Clowe — nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his last 15 games; four points (two goals, two assists) in seven games as a Ranger
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
Anton Stralman — 2 points from 100th NHL career
Steve Eminger — 2 points from 100th NHL career
INJURIES: Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5/11) — 42 ; Marc Staal (injured, 3/5) — 21; Derek Dorsett (broken clavicle, 3/7) — 7
Total Man-Games Lost: 109
Apr. 17 — Recalled forward Chris Kreider from Connecticut (AHL)