Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. BUFFALO SABRES
Thursday, Oct. 31, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 4-7-0 (8 pts)
Sabres: 6-5-0 (12 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: Bloomberg Radio), to begin a four-game homestand. The Blueshirts currently rank seventh in the Metropolitan Division standings, and 13th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 4-7-0 (8 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Islanders, 3-2, on Tuesday at Long Island, to wrap-up their second back-to-back set of the season. The Blueshirts have now won two of their last three games, including two straight on the road. The Sabres enter the contest with a 2-11-1 (5 pts) record to rank 16th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost five of their last six games. Following the contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in a Metropolitan Division matchup.
RANGERS vs. SABRES:
All-Time: 62-73-25-5 overall (35-28-15-3 at home; 27-45-10-2 on the road)
2013-14: Tonight is the first of three meetings this season, and the first of two meetings at Madison Square Garden.
Last Season: New York was 2-1-0 overall (1-0-0 at home; 1-1-0 on the road). The Rangers’ power play was 2-6 (33.3%) in the series, while the penalty kill was 12-14 (85.7%) with one shorthanded goal. Rick Nash and Derek Stepan each tallied two goals and two assists for a series-leading four points apiece, while Brad Richards led all skaters with three goals. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-1-0 with a 2.95 GAA and .888 Sv% in three games.
The Rangers and Sabres have been separated by one goal in nine of their last 15 meetings, including five that required overtime (two in the shootout)
Brad Richards notched his first career hat trick in the Rangers’ 8-4 win at Buffalo on Apr. 19
New York is 0-1-0 at home; Buffalo is 2-4-0 on the road
New York is 1-1-0 vs. Atlantic Division opponents; Buffalo is 1-2-0 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents
New York lists two former Sabres on its roster: Dominic Moore (2008-09); Taylor Pyatt (2001-02 – 2005-06)
Buffalo lists one former Ranger on its roster: John Scott (2011-12)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. SABRES: Henrik Lundqvist – 24 GP, 12-10-2, 1 SO, 2.43 GAA; Brad Richards – 37 GP, 12-19-31; Ryan Callahan – 23 GP, 8-5-13; Rick Nash – 13 GP, 8-4-12; Michael Del Zotto – 13 GP, 0-6-6
The Rangers’ power play is 3-12 (25.0%) in the last three games
The Blueshirts’ penalty kill is 32-37 (86.5%) in the last eight games
Power Play: The Rangers were 2-4 (5:15) on Tuesday at NY Islanders. New York ranks 16th in the NHL overall (7-36, 19.4%), and 29th at home (0-5, 0.0%). The Rangers are 2-2 (0:48) in five-on-three situations (last – 10/12 at STL), and 0-1 (0:30) when four-on-three (last – 10/12 at STL). Shorthanded goals allowed (2): 10/8 at SJS (Vlasic); 10/24 at PHI (Read).
Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts were 3-3 (5:18) on Tuesday at NY Islanders. New York ranks 13th in the NHL overall (37-45, 82.2%), and is tied for 14th at home (5-6, 83.3%). The Rangers are 2-2 (1:59) in three-on-five situations (last – 10/16 at WSH), and 1-1 (0:12) when three-on-four (last – 10/29 at NYI). Shorthanded goals for (1): 10/7 at LAK (McDonagh).
Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in two four-on-four situations (2:30) on Tuesday at NY Islanders, and are now -1 in 14 four-on-four situations (23:20) this season. Four-on-four goals for (2): 10/16 at WSH (J. Moore); 10/26 at DET (Brassard). Four-on-four goals allowed (3): 10/3 at PHX (Vrbata); 10/7 at LAK (Muzzin); 10/12 at STL (Backes).
COMEBACK KIDS: The Blueshirts have erased a 2-1 deficit heading into the third period in two of their last three games, and each of the last two road games. Their two third-period comebacks are tied for first in the league this season.
GOAL OUTBURST: The Rangers defeated the Sabres, 8-3, in their last meeting on Apr. 19 at Buffalo. The eight goals marked a season high for New York, and were the most by the Rangers since Nov. 14, 2010 (W, 8-2 vs. EDM). The Rangers also established a franchise record for fastest five goals, tallying five goals in a span of 2 min. 58 sec. from 18:42 of the first period to 1:40 of the second period. The previous franchise record for fastest five goals was 3 min. 22 sec. in an 8-7 win vs. Edmonton on Feb. 15, 1985 at MSG.
ROAD WARRIORS: The Rangers concluded their season-opening nine-game road trip with a 3-2 overtime win at Detroit on Saturday. The trip established a franchise record for longest road trip to start the season, breaking the old record of seven games set in 2011-12. It also tied the franchise mark for longest road trip overall, established during the 1955-56 season. Including the preseason schedule, the Rangers were on the road for 28 of 39 days, visiting 14 cities and traveling 15,263 miles. The Blueshirts’ home opener on Monday against Montreal was their latest home opener in a non-lockout shortened season since the 1947-48 season (Oct. 29).
OCTOBER-FEST: The Rangers have posted a record of 289-280-94 all-time in the month of October, including a 177-119-49 mark at home and a 112-161-45 record on the road. New York (4-7-0) is scheduled to play 12 games during the season’s opening month in 2013-14.
FINISHING THE JOB: The Blueshirts have registered a point in 94 consecutive regular season games when leading after the second period, dating back to the 2009-10 season, posting a record of 88-0-6 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 2-0-0 when leading after the second period this season.
MOVING ON UP: With the Rangers’ 3-2 win on Tuesday at Long Island, Head Coach Alain Vigneault moved into a tie with Jacques Demers for 28th on the NHL’s all-time head coaching points list, earning 948 points in 817 career games coached (426-295-35-61).
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
Dan Girardi – 1 game from 500th NHL career
Marc Staal – 1 point from 100th NHL career; 1 game from 400th NHL career
Rick Nash (IR – 10/14; head injury – 10/8, out indefinitely) – 8
Ryan Callahan (IR – 10/21; broken thumb – 10/16, 3-4 weeks) – 5
Total Man-Games Lost: 27