Just a reminder: Please join us for a Live Chat today at noon where we can discuss the pending Rangers clincher … or the pending nailbiter on Saturday.
The Rangers still need two points in their last two games, or a regulation loss by Winnipeg in its final game, or any combination of points gained by the Rangers or points lost by the Jets that equals two, to clinch a playoff berth. They could clinch tonight.
Winnipeg plays its final game of the season tonight, at home against struggling Montreal. The Rangers, of course, close against the Devils on Saturday and must be praying that that game has no meaning, because since eliminating the Devils on Sunday, they know New Jersey would love nothing better than to return the favor.
(AP photo, above.)
Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at CAROLINA HURRICANES
Thursday, Apr. 25, 7:00 p.m.
PNC Arena – Raleigh, NC
Rangers: 24-18-4 (52 pts)
Hurricanes: 19-24-3 (41 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena (7:00 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), to wrap up their 2013 regular season road schedule. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 24-18-4 (52 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Florida Panthers, 3-2, on Tuesday at BB&T Center, and are now 8-3-1 in the month of April. The Hurricanes enter the contest with a 19-24-3 (41 pts) record to rank 13th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost 17 of their last 21 games. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, Apr. 27, at Madison Square Garden (3:00 p.m.), to complete their 2013 regular season schedule.
RANGERS vs. HURRICANES:
All-Time: 61-48-7-2 overall (37-17-4-2 at home; 24-31-3-0 on the road)
2013: Tonight is the third and final meeting this season, and the second of two meetings at PNC Arena. The Rangers are 2-0-0 overall (1-0-0 at home; 1-0-0 on the road), following a 4-1 win on Apr. 6 at Carolina. The Blueshirts’ power play is 2-8 (25.0%) in the series, while their penalty kill has held Carolina scoreless in eight power play attempts against. The Rangers have out-scored the Hurricanes, 4-0, in the second period. Derek Stepan leads all skaters with two goals and three points in the series, while Ryan Callahan (one goal, one assist) and Rick Nash (one goal, one assist) have tallied two points apiece. Henrik Lundqvist is 2-0-0 with a 0.96 GAA and .975 Sv%.
Last Season: New York was 4-0-0 overall (2-0-0 mark at home; 2-0-0 mark on the road). The Rangers out-scored the Hurricanes, 17-8, including a 7-1 advantage in the third period. New York was 2-13 (15.4%) on the power play, while the penalty kill was 10-12 (83.3%) in the series. Henrik Lundqvist was 1-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and .971 Sv%, and Martin Biron was 3-0-0 with a 2.34 GAA and .916 Sv%.
The Rangers have won eight of their last nine games against the Hurricanes, having out-scored Carolina, 30-18, over the span
The Blueshirts enter the contest with a four-game winning streak in Raleigh, and have won six of their last seven meetings at Carolina
New York is tied for 18th in the NHL with a 9-12-2 (20 pts) record on the road; Carolina ranks 30th in the NHL with a 9-14-0 (18 pts) mark at home
The Rangers are 9-4-1 vs. the Southeast Division this season; the Hurricanes are 6-5-2 vs. the Atlantic Division this season
New York lists no former Hurricane on its roster
Carolina lists one former Ranger on its roster: Bobby Sanguinetti (2009-10)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. HURRICANES:
Henrik Lundqvist — 22 GP, 13-8-1, 2.24 GAA, 1 SO
Martin Biron — 22 GP, 13-4-1-2, 2.50 GAA, 1 SO
Brad Richards — 52 GP, 14-32-46
Rick Nash — 11 GP, 4-5-9
Ryan McDonagh — 8 GP, 1-3-4
The Rangers’ power play is 8-39 (20.5%) in the last 11 games, compared to 14.3% with the man advantage prior to the trade deadline
New York has registered a point in 18 of 22 games (16-4-2) when not allowing a power play goal
Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in three power play attempts (3:00) on Tuesday at Florida. New York is tied for 21st overall (23-144, 16.0%) and 28th on the road (7-67, 10.4%). The Rangers are 3-10 (8:16) in five-on-three situations (last –4/21 vs. NJD), and 2-2 (1:20) when four-on-three (last –4/13 at NYI). Shorthanded goals allowed (5): 2/19 vs. MTL (Diaz, EN); 2/21 at OTT (Silfverberg); 3/3 vs. BUF (Gerbe); 3/21 vs. FLA (Kopecky, EN); 4/23 at FLA (Shore, EN).
Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Panthers in two power play attempts (2:54) on Tuesday at Florida. New York is tied for 15th overall (115-142, 81.0%) and 25th on the road (50-66, 75.8%). The Rangers are 8-8 (8:24) 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 Florida, and are now Even in 31 four-on-four situations (62:48) 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 have posted a record of 24-7-3 in their last 34 games against Southeast Division opponents, including a 9-4-1 mark against the Southeast Division this season. The Blueshirts have out-scored their Southeast Division opponents, 110-69, over the span.
HOW SWEEP IT IS
New York swept their season series against Carolina last season with a 4-0-0 record, marking the first time since the 2002-03 season the Rangers completed a season series sweep against the Hurricanes (4-0-0).
The Rangers swept their final back-to-back set, defeating the Florida Panthers, 6-1, at MSG on Apr. 18 and the Buffalo Sabres, 8-4, on Apr. 19 at First Niagara Center. Their 14 combined goals were the most by the Rangers in consecutive games since Jan. 17-19, 2010 (14 goals), and their most in a back-to-back set since Mar. 1-2, 1992 (16 goals). The Rangers’ eight goals on Apr. 19 were their most since Nov. 14, 2010 (8-2 win vs. EDM) and they established a franchise record for fastest five goals, tallying five goals in a span of 2 min. 58 sec. in the contest.
Prior to the Rangers’ 6-1 win against Florida on Apr. 18, Rangers Captain Ryan Callahan was named recipient of the 2012-13 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, for performing “above and beyond the call of duty.” It is the fourth time in the last five years he has captured the honor.
Henrik Lundqvist posted his 20th win of the season in a 6-1 victory on Apr. 18 against Florida, to become one of five active NHL goalies to reach the 20-win mark in eight consecutive seasons (Brodeur, 12; Luongo, 9; Vokoun, 9; Kiprusoff, 8).
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 Apr. 13 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 91 consecutive games when leading after the second period, dating back to the 2009-10 season, posting a record of 85-0-6 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 15-0-0 when leading after the second period this season.
The Rangers rank among the Eastern Conference leaders in several statistical categories…
3rd (T-4th in NHL) in GAA — 2.28
T-1st (T-1st in NHL) in Fewest PIM/G — 9.4
3rd (4th in NHL) in Hits — 1357
4th (7th in NHL) in BkS — 732
THE HOT LIST:
Henrik Lundqvist — has allowed two or fewer goals in 15 of his last 18 games (11-5-2, 1.81 GAA, .930 Sv%, 1 SO over the span)
Derek Stepan — has tallied a point in 10 of 12 games in April (six goals, nine assists over the span), and has recorded 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists) in the last 28 games
Ryan Callahan — enters the contest with a five-game point streak (three goals, four assists over the span), and has tallied 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in the last 12 games
Brad Richards — enters the contest with a four-game point streak (four goals, four assists over the span)
Taylor Pyatt — enters the contest with a four-game point streak (two goals, two assists over the span)
Rick Nash — 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 12 April games
Ryane Clowe — has tallied eight points (three goals, five assists) in 11 games as a Ranger
Ryan McDonagh — seven points (two goals, five assists) in 12 games during the month of April, including a five-game point streak at MSG (two goals, four assists during the stretch)
Mats Zuccarello — five points (three goals, two assists) in the last five games
Derick Brassard — 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 11 games as a Ranger
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
Steve Eminger — 1 point from 100th NHL career
Brad Richards — 2 games from 900th NHL career
Anton Stralman — 1 point from 100th NHL career
Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5/11) — 46
Marc Staal (injured, 3/5) — 25
Derek Dorsett (broken clavicle, 3/7) — 11
Brian Boyle (injured, 4/16) — 4
Total Man-Games Lost: 125