Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 8:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 16-17-1 (33 pts)
Penguins: 24-10-1 (49 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden (8:00p.m. — TV: NBCSN; Radio: Bloomberg Radio), as they continue their franchise record nine-game homestand. The Blueshirts rank fourth in the Metropolitan Division standings, and 10th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 16-17-1 (33 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Calgary Flames, 4-3, in the shootout on Sunday and are now 1-3-1 on the homestand. The Blueshirts are tied for fourth in the conference in ROW (15). The Penguins enter the contest with a 24-10-1 (49 pts) record to rank first in the Eastern Conference, and have won nine of their last 10 games. Following the contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the New York Islanders on Friday, Dec. 20
RANGERS vs. PENGUINS:
All-Time: 119-103-23-9 overall (67-50-9-3 at home; 52-54-14-6 on the road)
2013-14: Tonight is the second of four meetings this season, and the second and final meeting at Madison Square Garden. New York is 1-0-0 overall (1-0-0 at home; 0-0-0 on the road), following a 5-1 win on Nov. 6 at MSG. The Rangers had 11 different players register a point in their first meeting, while Brian Boyle (one goal, one assist) and Brad Richards (two assists) each tallied two points in the contest. Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves in the win.
Last Season: New York was 1-3-1 overall (1-2-0 at home; 0-1-1 on the road). The Rangers’ power play was 4-16 (25.0%) in the series, while their penalty kill tallied one shorthanded goal. Brad Richards led the Rangers in scoring with five points, and tied with Derek Stepan for the series lead with four assists apiece. Henrik Lundqvist was 1-3-1 with a 2.63 GAA and .906 Sv%.
The Rangers have won their last two meetings against Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden, and have out-scored the Penguins, 11-2, in those contests.
New York is 6-9-1 at home; Pittsburgh is 9-7-1 on the road.
New York is 5-5-1 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents; Pittsburgh is 11-4-0 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents.
New York lists two former Penguins on their roster: Arron Asham (2010-11 – 2011-12); Dominic Moore (2006-07).
Pittsburgh lists one former Ranger on their roster: Pascal Dupuis (2006-07).
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. PENGUINS: Henrik Lundqvist – 48 GP, 24-18-6, 2 SO, 2.39 GAA; Brad Richards – 39 GP, 9-32–41; Rick Nash – 15 GP, 7-5–12; Derick Brassard – 7 GP, 2-6–8; Dan Girardi – 42 GP, 1-13–14.
The Rangers’ power play is 6-30 (20.0%) in the last 10 games.
The Blueshirts’ penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in 13 of the last 17 games (40-44, 90.9% over the span).
Is tied for second in the league with three goals in 5-on-3 situations
Power Play: The Rangers were 0-4 (6:00) on Sunday vs. Calgary. New York ranks 15th in the NHL overall (20-112, 17.9%), and 25th at home (7-55, 12.7%). The Rangers are 3-11 (5:44) in five-on-three situations (last – 12/15 vs. CGY), 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 4-5 (7:25) on Sunday vs. Calgary. New York ranks sixth in the NHL overall (90-105, 85.7%), and is tied 12th at home (39-46, 84.8%). The Rangers are 2-3 (2:49) in three-on-five situations (last – 11/4 vs. ANA), and 4-6 (4:29) when three-on-four (last – 12/15 vs. CGY). Shorthanded goals for (1): 10/7 at LAK (McDonagh).
Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in three four-on-four situations (4:19) on Sunday vs. Calgary, and are now -1 in 35 four-on-four situations (53:09) this season. Four-on-four goals for (3): 10/16 at WSH (J. Moore); 10/26 at DET (Brassard); 12/12 vs. CBJ (Girardi). Four-on-four goals allowed (4): 10/3 at PHX (Vrbata); 10/7 at LAK (Muzzin); 10/12 at STL (Backes); 12/8 vs. WSH (Grabovski, PS).
RINGMASTERS: The Rangers have won 231-411 faceoffs (56.2%) through seven games in the month of December, including a season-high, 41 faceoff wins (41-64, 64%), in a 3-1 victory on Dec. 5 at Buffalo. The Blueshirts have five players – Derek Stepan (81-150, 54.0%), Brad Richards (43-74, 58.1%), Dominic Moore (39-57, 68.4%), Derick Brassard (36-68, 52.9%), and Brian Boyle (30-53, 56.6%) – with 30 or more faceoff wins over the span.
GOALIE GREATS: Henrik Lundqvist is one appearance shy of tying Ed Giacomin for third on the Rangers all-time goaltender appearances list. The current leaders: 1. Mike Richter – 666; 2. Gump Worsley – 582; 3. Ed Giacomin – 538; 4. Henrik Lundqvist – 537.
BROADWAY DEBUT: Rangers’ defenseman Dylan McIlrath was credited with one hit in 8:55 of ice time while skating in his NHL debut on Thursday against Columbus at Madison Square Garden. He became the second Blueshirt to make his NHL debut this season, along with forward Jesper Fast in the season opener on Oct. 3, 2013 at Phoenix. McIlrath was originally selected by the Rangers as a first round choice, 10th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
Derick Brassard – 6 points from 200th NHL career.
Michael Del Zotto – 9 assists from 100th NHL career.
INJURIES (65 Man-Games Lost):
Marc Staal (IR – concussion on 12/7, out indefinitely) – 4.
Ryan Callahan (IR – sprained MCL on 12/10, 4 weeks) – 2.