Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at BUFFALO SABRES
Thursday, Dec. 5, 7:00 p.m. ET
First Niagara Center – Buffalo, NY
Rangers: 14-14-0 (28 pts)
Sabres: 6-20-2 (14 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center (7:00 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: Bloomberg Radio), in their first of three games in a four-day span. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Metropolitan Division standings, and eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 14-14-0 (28 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Winnipeg Jets, 5-2, on Monday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 11-7-0 in their last 18 games. The Blueshirts are tied for fourth in the conference, and ninth in the NHL, in ROW (14). The Sabres enter the contest with a 6-20-2 (14 pts) record to rank 16th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost six of their last seven games. Following the contest, the Rangers will begin a franchise record, nine-game homestand, when they face-off against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, Dec. 7, at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.), in the first game of a back-to-back set.
RANGERS vs. SABRES:
All-Time: 63-73-25-5 overall (36-28-15-3 at home; 27-45-10-2 on the road)
2013-14: Tonight is the second of three meetings this season, and the first and only meeting at First Niagara Center. New York is 1-0-0 overall (1-0-0 at home; 0-0-0 on the road), following a 2-0 win on Oct. 31 at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers out-shot the Sabres, 46-29, in the contest, including a 19-6 advantage in the first period. The Blueshirts’ power play was 1-3 (33.3%), while the penalty kill was 1-1 (100.0%). Six different Rangers tallied a point in the contest, including goals from Derick Brassard and Chris Kreider. Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves for the shutout.
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 16 meetings, including five that required overtime (two in the shootout)
New York is 9-8-0 on the road; Buffalo is 3-11-1 at home.
New York is 5-4-0 vs. Atlantic Division opponents; Buffalo is 1-4-1 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 – 25 GP, 13-10-2, 2 SO, 2.33 GAA; Brad Richards – 38 GP, 12-19–31; Ryan Callahan – 23 GP, 8-5–13; Rick Nash – 13 GP, 8-4–12; Michael Del Zotto – 14 GP, 0-7–7.
New York is tied for first in the league with three goals in 5-on-3 situations.
The Rangers’ power play is 4-13 (30.8%) in the last four games.
The Blueshirts’ penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in nine of the last 11 games (26-28, 92.9% over the span).
Power Play: The Rangers were 0-2 (4:00) on Monday vs. Winnipeg. New York is tied for 12th in the NHL overall (18-95, 19.0%), and ranks fourth on the road (12-55, 21.8%). The Rangers are 3-10 (4:24) in five-on-three situations (last – 11/25 at TBL), and 0-1 (0:30) when four-on-three (last – 10/12 at STL). Shorthanded goals allowed (3): 10/8 at SJS (Vlasic); 10/24 at PHI (Read); 11/19 vs. BOS (Paille).
Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts were 2-2 (4:00) on Monday vs. Winnipeg. New York ranks fifth in the NHL overall (77-90, 85.6%), and is tied for eighth on the road (49-57, 86.0%). The Rangers are 2-3 (2:49) in three-on-five situations (last – 11/4 vs. ANA), and 2-3 (0:55) when three-on-four (last – 11/21 at DAL). Shorthanded goals for (1): 10/7 at LAK (McDonagh).
Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation on Monday vs. Winnipeg, and are now -1 in 27 four-on-four situations (39:51) 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).
STREAKING RANGERS: Brad Richards and Ryan McDonagh both enter the game with a four-game point streak. Richards has tallied four points (one goal, three assists) over the span, and also enters with a three-game assist streak. Ryan McDonagh has also registered four points (one goal, three assists) during the streak, which ties his career-high for longest point streak, posted earlier this season from Nov. 6 – Nov. 12.
SHUTTING THE DOOR: The Rangers have held opponents to two or fewer goals in 16 of the last 21 games, and 17 of the last 23. New York has allowed 42 goals over the last 21 games (1.99 goals against per game), and 46 goals in the last 23 games (2.00 goals against per game). The Blueshirts are tied for first in the NHL with four shutouts and have held opponents to two or fewer goals in 18 games this season, which is tied for third in the league.
FAST START: The Rangers rank fourth in the NHL with a 13-2-0 record (.867 win%) when tallying the game’s first goal this season. The Blueshirts have opened the game’s scoring in five of the last seven contests.
ROAD WARRIORS: The Rangers are tied for first in the Eastern Conference and third in the NHL with nine road wins this season. The Blueshirts posted a six-game winning streak on the road from Oct. 26 at Detroit to Nov. 23 at Nashville, out-scoring their opponents, 16-8, including two shutouts over the span. The streak ended one win shy of the longest road winning streak in franchise history, and was the longest for the Blueshirts since the 1993-94 season (Oct. 30 – Nov. 24). It is also tied as the longest road winning streak in the league this season. The Rangers posted wins in seven of eight road games from Oct. 26 – Nov. 27, including their six-game road winning streak. The last time the Blueshirts won seven road games in an eight-game span was during the 1993-94 season, when they won eight out of nine games from Oct. 30 – Dec. 4 (8-1-0).
MILESTONES IN SIGHT: Derek Stepan – 2 assists from 100th NHL career; Rick Nash – 2 points from 600th NHL career.
INJURIES (55 Man-Games Lost):