Pre-game notes courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS at PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Friday, Jan. 3, 7:00 p.m. ET
Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA
Rangers: 20-19-2 (42 pts)
Penguins: 29-12-1 (59 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center (7:00p.m. — TV: MSG 2; Radio: Bloomberg Radio), in the first game of a back-to-back set. The Blueshirts rank fifth in the Metropolitan Division standings, and 10th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 20-19-2 (42 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Florida Panthers, 2-1, in the shootout on Tuesday at BB&T Center, for their 20th win of the season. The Blueshirts have won four of their last five games, and are tied for fifth in the conference in ROW (17). The Penguins enter the contest with a 29-12-1 (59 pts) record to rank first in the Eastern Conference, and have won two of their last three games. Following the contest, the Rangers will complete their five-game road trip when they face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday, Jan. 4, at Air Canada Centre (7:00 p.m.), in the second game of a back-to-back set.
RANGERS vs. PENGUINS:
All-Time: 119-103-23-10 overall (67-50-9-4 at home; 52-54-14-6 on the road)
2013-14: Tonight is the third of four meetings this season, and the first of two meetings at Consol Energy Center. New York is 1-0-1 overall (1-0-1 at home; 0-0-0 on the road), following a 4-3 shootout loss on Dec. 18 at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers have out-scored the Penguins, 8-4, in the series, including a 2-0 advantage in the first period. Brad Richards leads all skaters with three assists in two games, while Derick Brassard has notched a series-high, two goals. Mats Zuccarello is also tied for the team-high with three points (one goal, two assists) in the series. Henrik Lundqvist is 1-0-1 with a 1.92 GAA and .934 Sv%.
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 enter the contest with a four-game point streak against the Penguins (2-0-2), having out-scored Pittsburgh, 15-8, during the stretch
New York has registered a point in six of their last nine games in Pittsburgh, posting a record of 5-3-1 over the span
The Blueshirts’ last win in Pittsburgh was on Jan. 6, 2012 (3-1)
New York is 12-9-0 on the road; Pittsburgh is 17-3-0 at home
New York is 5-7-2 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents; Pittsburgh is 14-5-0 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents
New York lists one former Penguin on its roster: Dominic Moore (2006-07)
Pittsburgh lists two former Rangers on its roster: Pascal Dupuis (2006-07); Taylor Pyatt (2012-13 – 2013-14)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. PENGUINS:
Henrik Lundqvist – 49 GP, 24-18-7, 2 SO, 2.40 GAA
Brad Richards – 40 GP, 9-33–42
Rick Nash – 16 GP, 7-5–12
Derick Brassard – 8 GP, 3-6–9
Dan Girardi – 43 GP, 1-13–14
SPECIAL TEAMS: Have notched a power play goal in five of the last seven games (8-26, 30.8% over the span), and are 14-56 (25.0%) on the man advantage in the last 17 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 … Have held opponents scoreless on the power play in three of the last five games (14-16, 87.5% over the span).
Power Play: The Rangers were 0-3 (6:00) on Tuesday at Florida. New York ranks ninth in the NHL overall (28-138, 20.3%), and is tied for third on the road (17-66, 25.8%). 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 4-4 (8:00) on Tuesday at Florida. New York ranks fifth in the NHL overall (108-127, 85.0%), and is tied for seventh on the road (59-69, 85.5%). 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 tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (5:00) on Tuesday at Florida, and are now -2 in 46 four-on-four situations (75:39) 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).
Scheduled to play in 13 back-to-back sets this season
Combined record – 8-5-1
Record in 1st game – 4-2-1 (2-1-1 at home; 2-1-0 on the road)
Record in 2nd game – 4-3-0 (2-2-0 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 17-8-2 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)
ROAD WARRIORS: New York has won 10 of its last 13 road contests, and is now 12-9-0 away from Madison Square Garden this season. The Rangers’ 12 road wins are tied for first in the Eastern Conference, and third in the league overall. The Blueshirts power play is tied for third in the NHL on the road, tallying 17-66 (25.8%) with the man advantage on the road.
SHOOTING GALLERY: The Blueshirts have out-shot their opponent in eight of the last 10 games, and hold a 330-273 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 10 of the last 14 games.
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 seven 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 19 games, with seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last seven, and has tallied 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in the last 33 games since his healthy scratch on Oct. 24 at Philadelphia. He 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 (79 Man-Games Lost):
Ryan Callahan (IR – sprained MCL on 12/10, 4 weeks) – 9
Jan. 2 – Agreed to terms with forward Anthony Duclair to an entry level contract
Jan. 2 – Waived forward Taylor Pyatt (claimed by Pittsburgh)
Dec. 27 – Recalled defenseman Conor Allen from Hartford (AHL)
Photo by Getty Images.