First and foremost, if you’re going out tonight and plan on drinking, don’t even dream about driving. Have fun … but be safe, please.
Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at FLORIDA PANTHERS
Tuesday, Dec. 31, 5:00 p.m. ET
BB&T Center – Sunrise, FL
Rangers: 19-19-2 (40 pts)
Panthers: 15-20-5 (35 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center (5:00p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), as they continue a five-game road trip. The Blueshirts rank fourth in the Metropolitan Division standings, and ninth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 19-19-2 (40 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3, on Sunday at Tampa Bay Times Forum, for their third win in the last four contests. The Blueshirts are tied for fifth in the conference in ROW (17). The Panthers enter the contest with a 15-20-5 (35 pts) record to rank 14th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost three of their last four games. Following the contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, Jan. 3, at Consol Energy Center (7:00 p.m.), in the first game of a back-to-back set.
RANGERS vs. PANTHERS:
All-Time: 44-28-6-4 overall (23-14-4-0 at home; 21-13-2-4 on the road)
2013-14: Tonight is the third and final meeting this season, and the second of two meetings at BB&T Center. New York is 2-0-0 (1-0-0 at home; 1-0-0 on the road), following a 5-2 win on Nov. 27 at BB&T Center. The Rangers have out-scored the Panthers, 9-5, including a 5-3 advantage in the third, while their power play is 3-6 (50.0%) in the series. Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello have both tallied two goals and one assist in two games, and Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh, and Derek Stepan are tied for the series-lead with two assists apiece. Henrik Lundqvist is 2-0-0 with a 2.50 GAA and .917 Sv% in two games.
Last Season: New York was 1-2-0 overall (1-1-0 at home; 0-1-0 on the road). The Rangers out-scored the Panthers, 9-7, including a 6-3 advantage in the third period, and out-shot Florida, 113-75, in the series. The Blueshirts’ power play was 2-10 (20.0%) in three games. Rick Nash led all skaters with four points, and tied Ryan Callahan for the series lead with three assists apiece. Derick Brassard notched a series-high, three goals, in two contests. Henrik Lundqvist was 1-2-0 with a 1.69 GAA and .932 Sv%.
The Rangers have won 11 of their last 16 games against the Panthers, having out-scored Florida, 49-28, over the span
New York is 11-9-0 on the road; Florida is 8-9-3 at home
New York is 8-4-0 vs. Atlantic Division opponents; Florida is 3-4-1 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents
New York lists one former Panther on its roster: Dominic Moore (2009-10)
Florida lists two former Rangers on its roster: Scott Gomez (2007-08 – 2008-09); Mike Mottau (2000-01 – 2001-02)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. PANTHERS:
Henrik Lundqvist – 27 GP, 17-9-1, 5 SO, 1.79 GAA
Brad Richards – 55 GP, 19-31–50
Benoit Pouliot – 19 GP, 7-7–14
Mats Zuccarello – 7 GP, 4-5–9
Michael Del Zotto – 15 GP, 1-6–7
The Rangers have tallied a power play goal in five of the last six games (8-23, 34.8% over the span), and are 14-53 (26.4%) on the man advantage in the last 16 contests … Have tallied two or more power play goals in six games this season … Is tied for third in the league with three goals in 5-on-3 situations.
Power Play: The Rangers were 3-3 (2:34) on Sunday at Tampa Bay. New York ranks eighth in the NHL overall (28-135, 20.7%), and first on the road (17-63, 27.0%). The Rangers are 3-12 (5:58) in five-on-three situations (last – 12/23 vs. TOR), 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 1-2 (3:30) on Sunday at Tampa Bay. New York is tied for seventh in the NHL overall (104-123, 84.6%), and ranks eighth on the road (55-65, 84.6%). 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 (2): 10/7 at LAK (McDonagh); 12/27 at WSH (Hagelin).
Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation on Sunday at Tampa Bay, and are now -2 in 45 four-on-four situations (70:39) 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 (6): 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); 12/27 at WSH (Fehr).
ROAD WARRIORS: New York has won nine of its last 12 road contests, and is now 11-9-0 away from Madison Square Garden this season. The Rangers’ 11 road wins are tied for third in the Eastern Conference, and seventh in the league overall. The Blueshirts power play also leads the NHL on the road, tallying 17-63 (27.0%) with the man advantage on the road.
SHOOTING GALLERY: The Blueshirts have out-shot their opponent in seven of the last nine games, and hold a 299-251 shot advantage over their opponents during the stretch. New York has registered 40 or more shots five times this season, including in two straight games on Dec. 23 vs. Toronto and Dec. 27 at Washington, and have posted 30 or more shots in nine of the last 13 games.
RINGMASTERS: The Rangers have won 412-782 faceoffs (52.7%) through 13 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, 129 faceoffs over the span, while Dominic Moore (76-119, 63.9%), Brad Richards (83-152, 54.6%), Derick Brassard (52-102, 51.0%), and Brian Boyle (51-88, 58.0%) have each won better than 50% of their faceoffs taken during the month.
POWER RANGER: Derick Brassard tallied two power play assists, including his 200th career NHL point, on Sunday at Tampa Bay. He is now tied for the team lead with 13 power play points this season, having registered nine of his last 12 points overall with the man advantage. Brassard has registered a power play point in five of the last six games, recording six power play points (one goal, five assists) over the span.
MILESTONE MATS: Mats Zuccarello established a career-high with three power play points on Sunday at Tampa Bay, while tying his career-best for most points in a game. On Dec. 20 vs. NY Islanders, he tallied a power play assist to establish a single-season career-high in scoring with his 24th point of the season. Zuccarello has registered 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in the last 18 games, with seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last six, and has tallied 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in the last 32 games since his healthy scratch on Oct. 24 at Philadelphia. He now leads the team in assists (19) and points (28), is tied for first in power play points (13), and second in goals (nine) this season.
NEW FACES: Conor Allen registered two shots in 15:47 of ice time while skating in his NHL debut on Sunday at Tampa Bay. He became the fourth player to make his NHL debut with the Rangers this season, joining Jesper Fast, Cam Talbot, and Dylan McIlrath.
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
Conor Allen – 1st career NHL game (12/29 at TBL)
Derick Brassard – 200th career NHL point (12/29 at TBL)
INJURIES (78 Man-Games Lost):
Marc Staal (IR – concussion on 12/7, out indefinitely) – 10
Ryan Callahan (IR – sprained MCL on 12/10, 4 weeks) – 8
Anton Stralman (injured on 12/27, day-to-day) – 1
Illustration by Getty Images.