Pre-game notes courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Monday, Dec. 23, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 17-18-2 (36 pts)
Maple Leafs: 18-16-4 (40 pts)
The Rangers will conclude their franchise record nine-game homestand when they face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden (7:00p.m. — TV: MSG 2; Radio: Bloomberg Radio), in the second 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 17-18-2 (36 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Minnesota Wild, 4-1, Sunday, and are now 2-4-2 on their current homestand. The Blueshirts have tallied 13 goals during play in the last four games, and are tied for fifth in the conference in ROW (16). The Maple Leafs enter the contest with a 18-16-4 (40 pts) record to rank seventh in the Eastern Conference, and have lost six of their last eight games. Following the contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Washington Capitals on Friday, Dec. 27, at Verizon Center (7:00 p.m.), to begin a five-game road trip.
RANGERS vs. MAPLE LEAFS:
All-Time: 222-273-95-6 overall (129-111-56-3 at home; 93-162-39-3 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 (2-0-0 mark at home; 0-1-0 mark on the road). Two of their three meetings were separated by one goal, including a 3-2 SO victory for the Blueshirts on Apr. 10 at MSG. The Rangers out-shot the Maple Leafs, 104-70, with a 75-48 advantage after the first period, and out-scored Toronto 6-2 in the third period. Rick Nash (two goals, two assists) and Derek Stepan (one goal, three assists) tied for the team lead in scoring with four points apiece in the series, while Henrik Lundqvist was 2-1-0 with a 2.61 GAA.
The Rangers have recorded a point in 12 of their last 15 meetings with the Maple Leafs (10-3-2 over the span), and have out-scored Toronto, 54-31, during the stretch
The Blueshirts have won each of their last two games against the Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden, having out-scored Toronto, 8-4, over the span.
New York is 7-10-2 at home; Toronto is 6-8-3 on the road.
New York is 6-4-0 vs. Atlantic Division opponents; Toronto is 5-4-1 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents.
New York lists two former Maple Leafs on its roster: Dominic Moore (2007-08 – 2008-09); Anton Stralman (2007-08 – 2008-09).
Toronto lists one former Ranger on its roster: Colton Orr (2005-06 – 2008-09).
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. MAPLE LEAFS: Henrik Lundqvist – 23 GP, 12-7-4, 2 SO, 2.65 GAA; Brad Richards – 37 GP, 17-18–35; Benoit Pouliot – 17 GP, 4-9–13; Rick Nash – 11 GP, 4-6–10; Dan Girardi – 25 GP, 4-4–8.
The Rangers’ power play is 10-43 (23.3%) in the last 13 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 14 of the last 20 games (46-52, 88.5% over the span).
Power Play: The Rangers were 1-2 (2:22) earlier tonight vs. Minnesota. New York ranks 12th in the NHL overall (24-125, 19.2%), and 20th at home (11-68, 16.2%). 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 2-2 (4:00) earlier tonight vs. Minnesota. New York ranks eighth in the NHL overall (96-113, 85.0%), and is tied for 13th at home (45-54, 83.3%). 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 (2:00) earlier tonight vs. Minnesota, and are now -1 in 41 four-on-four situations (62:44) 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).
BACK-TO-BACKS: Scheduled to play in 13 back-to-back sets this season … Combined record – 7-5-1 … Record in 1st game – 4-2-1 (2-1-1 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 17-5-5 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).
ORIGINAL SIX SHOWDOWN: Tonight’s contest will be the sixth of 14 scheduled games against Original Six opponents this season (2-3-0). Since 2005-06, New York has posted a record of 60-40-12 against Original Six teams, including a 18-9-4 mark vs. Toronto over the span. The Rangers’ .589 win% ranks third, trailing Detroit (.640, 47-24-11) and Montreal (.611, 87-53-13), and ahead of Chicago (.555, 40-31-11), Boston (.535, 73-62-23), and Toronto (.484, 64-69-22).
SHOOTING GALLERY: The Blueshirts have out-shot their opponent in five of the last six games (tied on shots in the sixth game), and hold a 187-151 shot advantage over their opponents during the stretch. The Rangers have registered 30 or more shots in seven of the last 10 games.
RINGMASTERS: The Rangers have won 318-589 faceoffs (54.0%) through 10 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. Derek Stepan has won a team-high, 102 faceoffs over the span, while Brad Richards (58-102, 56.9%), Dominic Moore (56-87, 64.4%), Derick Brassard (49-90, 54.4%), and Brian Boyle (43-72, 59.7%) have each won better than 54% of their faceoffs taken during the month.
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 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in the last 15 games, and leads the team in scoring with 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in the last 29 games since his healthy scratch on Oct. 24 at Philadelphia. Zuccarello is currently tied for first on the team in assists (17), third in goals (eight), and ranks second in points (25) overall this season.
MILESTONES IN SIGHT: Derick Brassard – 2 points from 200th NHL career.
INJURIES (71 Man-Games Lost):
Marc Staal (IR – concussion on 12/7, out indefinitely) – 7
Ryan Callahan (IR – sprained MCL on 12/10, 4 weeks) – 5
Dec. 19 – Recalled forward J.T. Miller from Hartford (AHL), and assigned forward Arron Asham and defenseman Dylan McIlrath to Hartford.