Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. MINNESOTA WILD
Sunday, Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY|
Rangers: 16-18-2 (34 pts)
Wild: 20-12-5 (45 pts)
The Rangers will continue their franchise record nine-game homestand when they face-off against the Minnesota Wild at Madison Square Garden (7:30p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in the first game of a back-to-back set. The Blueshirts rank sixth in the Metropolitan Division standings, and 11th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 16-18-2 (34 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the New York Islanders, 5-3, on Friday, and are now 1-4-2 on their homestand. The Blueshirts are tied for sixth in the conference in ROW (15). The Wild enter the contest with a 20-12-5 (45 pts) record to rank eighth in the Western Conference, and have lost three of their last five games. Following the contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to conclude their nine-game homestand.
RANGERS vs. WILD:
All-Time: 9-5-0-0 overall (4-2-0-0 at home; 4-3-0-0 on the road).
2013-14: Tonight is the first of two meetings this season, and the only meeting at Madison Square Garden.
Last Season: Did not play. In 2011-12, New York was 1-0-0 overall (0-0-0 mark at home; 1-0-0 mark on the road), following a 3-2 win on Mar. 27, 2012 at Xcel Energy Center. Brian Boyle opened the game’s scoring at 11:23 of the first period, and Ruslan Fedotenko notched the game-winning goal with 6:23 remaining in regulation. Ryan McDonagh led all skaters in scoring with two points (two assists) in the contest, while Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves in the win.
The Rangers and Wild have been separated by two or fewer goals in 12 of their 14 meetings all-time.
The Blueshirts have won two of their last three games against the Wild at Madison Square Garden, and have won two of their last three games against Minnesota overall.
The Rangers last win against the Wild at Madison Square Garden was on Mar. 24, 2009 (2-1).
New York is 6-10-2 at home; Minnesota is 6-9-3 on the road.
New York is 5-8-0 vs. Western Conference opponents; Minnesota is 9-5-2 vs. Eastern Conference opponents.
New York lists three former Wild on its roster: Justin Falk (2009-10 – 2012-13); Dominic Moore (2006-07 – 2007-08); Benoit Pouliot (2006-07 – 2009-10).
Minnesota lists one former Ranger on their roster: Mike Rupp (2011-12 – 2012-13).
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. WILD: Henrik Lundqvist – 6 GP, 3-3-0, 2.76 GAA; Rick Nash – 32 GP, 13-13–26; Brad Richards – 18 GP, 7-15–22; Taylor Pyatt – 39 GP, 10-3–13; Dan Girardi – 6 GP, 0-4–4.
The Rangers’ power play is 9-41 (22.0%) in the last 12 games.
Have tallied two or more power play goals in five games this season.
Is tied for third in the league with three goals in 5-on-3 situations.
The Blueshirts’ penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in 13 of the last 19 games (44-50, 88.0% over the span)
Power Play: The Rangers were 2-7 (12:15) on Friday vs. the NY Islanders. New York ranks 13th in the NHL overall (23-123, 18.7%), and 22nd at home (10-66, 15.2%). The Rangers are 3-11 (5:44) in five-on-three situations (last – 12/15 vs. CGY), and 0-3 (3:55) when four-on-three (last – 12/20 vs. NYI). Shorthanded goals allowed (5): 10/8 at SJS (Vlasic); 10/24 at PHI (Read); 11/19 vs. BOS (Paille); 12/20 vs. NYI (Clutterbuck, PS); 12/20 vs. NYI (Grabner).
Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts were 3-4 (7:18) on Friday vs. the NY Islanders. New York ranks ninth in the NHL overall (94-111, 84.7%), and 17th at home (43-52, 82.7%). The Rangers are 2-4 (3:25) in three-on-five situations (last – 12/20 vs. NYI), 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 one four-on-four situation (0:35) on Friday vs. the NY Islanders, and are now -1 in 40 four-on-four situations (60:44) this season. Four-on-four goals for (4): 10/16 at WSH (J. Moore); 10/26 at DET (Brassard); 12/12 vs. CBJ (Girardi); 12/18 vs. PIT (Hagelin). Four-on-four goals allowed (5): 10/3 at PHX (Vrbata); 10/7 at LAK (Muzzin); 10/12 at STL (Backes); 12/8 vs. WSH (Grabovski, PS); 12/18 vs. PIT (Sutter).
Scheduled to play in 13 back-to-back sets this season.
Combined record – 6-5-1.
Record in 1st game – 3-2-1 (1-1-1 at home; 2-1-0 on the road).
Record in 2nd game – 3-3-0 (1-2-0 at home; 2-1-0 on the road).
Last season – 7-4-1; 1st game, 4-1-1 (3-0-0 at home; 1-1-1 on the road); 2nd game, 3-3-0 (0-2-0 at home; 3-1-0 on the road).
The Rangers are 16-5-5 in the first half of back-to-back games dating back to the start of the 2011-12 season, and 16-8-2 in the second game over the span.
Henrik Lundqvist has started on consecutive days 67 times in his career (41-19-7, 2.06 GAA, .930 Sv%, 6 SO in the 2nd game)
MILESTONE MATS: Mats Zuccarello tallied a power play assist on Friday against the NY Islanders to establish a single-season career-high in scoring with his 24th point of the season. He has recorded 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in the last 14 games, and leads the team in scoring with 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in the last 28 games since his healthy scratch on Oct. 24 at Philadelphia. Zuccarello is currently tied for first on the team in assists (17) and ranks second in points (24) overall this season.
RINGMASTERS: The Rangers have won 290-535 faceoffs (54.2%) through nine 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 (99-198, 50.0%), Brad Richards (47-85, 55.3%), Dominic Moore (49-76, 64.5%), Derick Brassard (47-87, 54.0%), and Brian Boyle (42-70, 60.0%) – with 40 or more faceoff wins over the span.
GOALIE GREATS: Henrik Lundqvist made his 539th career appearance on Friday vs. the NY Islanders to pass Ed Giacomin for third on the Rangers all-time goaltender appearances list. Below are the current leaders:
1. Mike Richter – 666
2. Gump Worsley – 582
3. Henrik Lundqvist – 539
4. Ed Giacomin – 538
INJURIES (69 Man-Games Lost):
Marc Staal (IR – concussion on 12/7, out indefinitely) – 6
Ryan Callahan (IR – sprained MCL on 12/10, 4 weeks) – 4
Dec. 19 – Recalled forward J.T. Miller from Hartford (AHL), and assigned forward Arron Asham and defenseman Dylan McIlrath to Hartford.
Photo by Getty Images.