Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 8:00 p.m. ET
United Center – Chicago, IL
Rangers: 21-20-3 (45 pts)
Blackhawks: 29-7-9 (67 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center (8:00p.m. — TV: NBCSN; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in an Original Six matchup. The Blueshirts rank fifth in the Metropolitan Division standings, and 10th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 21-20-3 (45 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-3, in the shootout on Monday at Madison Square Garden, in their third game in four nights. The Blueshirts have registered a point in eight of their last 11 games (6-3-2), including five of their last six at home (3-1-2), and are tied for fifth in the conference in ROW (18). The Blackhawks enter the contest with a 29-7-9 (67 pts) record to rank third in the Western Conference, and have lost three of their last five games (2-0-3). Following the contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Dallas Stars on Friday, Jan. 10, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to begin a four-game homestand.
RANGERS vs. BLACKHAWKS:
All-Time: 236-243-98-2 overall (120-114-55-0 at home; 116-129-43-2 on the road)
2013-14: Tonight is the first of two meetings this season, and the only meeting at United Center
Last Season: Did not play. In 2011-12, New York was 0-2-0 overall (0-1-0 at home; 0-1-0 on the road). Each game was decided by two goals or fewer, including a one-goal game on Mar. 9, 2012 at Chicago (L, 3-4). The Rangers out-shot the Blackhawks, 49-44, in the series, including a 21-9 advantage in the third period. The Blueshirts’ penalty kill held the Blackhawks scoreless in four power play opportunities in two games. New York had five different players each tally a goal in the series, including current Rangers Carl Hagelin, Brad Richards, and Marc Staal. Hagelin also registered an assist to finish tied with Ryan McDonagh (two assists) for the team lead in scoring with two points apiece. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 18 of 21 shots in his only appearance.
The Rangers have registered a point in seven of their last nine games against the Blackhawks, posting a record of 4-2-1-2 during the stretch
The Blueshirts and Blackhawks have been separated by two goals or fewer in each of their last 10 meetings (4-3-1-2), including eight games decided by one goal or fewer over the span (3-2-1-2)
The Rangers last win in Chicago was a 3-2 overtime victory on Jan. 16, 2009
New York is 13-10-0 on the road; Chicago is 15-2-6 at home
New York is 6-8-0 vs. Western Conference opponents; Chicago is 11-1-3 vs. Eastern Conference opponents
New York lists one former Blackhawk on its roster: Daniel Carcillo (2011-12 – 2012-13)
Chicago lists one former Ranger on its roster: Michal Rozsival (2005-06 – 2010-11)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. BLACKHAWKS:
Henrik Lundqvist – 7 GP, 4-1-2, 1.97 GAA
Rick Nash – 55 GP, 24-27–51
Brad Richards – 21 GP, 3-24–27
Derick Brassard – 24 GP, 5-9–14
Anton Stralman – 15 GP, 1-6–7
SPECIAL TEAMS: Have notched a power play goal in seven of the last 10 games (11-38, 28.9% over the span), and are 17-68 (25.0%) on the man advantage in the last 20 contests … Have tallied two or more power play goals in seven games this season … Is tied for fifth in the league with three goals in 5-on-3 situations … Have held opponents scoreless on the power play in three of the last four games (9-10, 90.0% over the span).
Power Play: The Rangers were 2-6 (9:48) on Monday vs. Columbus. New York ranks eighth in the NHL overall (31-150, 20.7%), and fourth on the road (18-72, 25.0%). 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 3-3 (6:10) on Monday vs. Columbus. New York ranks seventh in the NHL overall (113-133, 85.0%), and ninth on the road (61-72, 84.7%). The Rangers are 2-4 (3:25) in three-on-five situations (last – 12/20 vs. NYI), and 5-7 (5:39) when three-on-four (last – 1/6 vs. CBJ). Shorthanded goals for (2): 10/7 at LAK (McDonagh); 12/27 at WSH (Hagelin).
Four-on-Four: New York yielded one goal in two four-on-four situations (5:50) on Monday vs. Columbus, and are now -3 in 50 four-on-four situations (85:29) 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 (7): 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); 1/6 vs. CBJ (Atkinson).
ORIGINAL SIX SHOWDOWN: Tonight’s contest will be the eighth of 14 scheduled games against Original Six opponents this season (4-3-0). Since 2005-06, New York has posted a record of 62-40-12 against Original Six teams, including a 4-2-2 mark vs. Chicago over the span. The Rangers’ .596 win% ranks third, trailing Detroit (.639, 47-24-12) and Montreal (.611, 87-53-13), and ahead of Chicago (.555, 40-31-11), Boston (.535, 73-62-23), and Toronto (.484, 65-70-23).
ROAD WARRIORS: New York has won 11 of its last 15 road contests, and are now 13-10-0 away from Madison Square Garden this season. The Rangers’ 13 road wins are tied for first in the Eastern Conference, and third in the league overall. The Blueshirts power play ranks fourth in the NHL on the road, tallying 18-72 (25.0%) with the man advantage on the road.
SHOOTING GALLERY: The Blueshirts registered a season-high, 50 shots on goal in a 7-1 victory on Saturday at Toronto. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Rangers had 50 or more shots in a game was Dec. 27, 2010 vs. the NY Islanders (52 shots), and the last time they posted 50+ shots in a road game was Feb. 15, 2003 at Buffalo (52 shots). The Blueshirts have out-shot their opponent in 11 of the last 13 games, and hold a 458-366 shot advantage over their opponents during the stretch. The Rangers have registered 40 or more shots seven times this season, including in each of the last two games and four of the last seven. The Blueshirts have also posted 30 or more shots in 13 of the last 17 games.
MOORE POINTS: Dominic Moore and John Moore each tallied an assist on Brian Boyle’s third period goal against Columbus on Monday at Madison Square Garden. The last time the Rangers had two players with the same last name register a point on the same goal was on Oct. 21, 2006 at Toronto, when Aaron Ward assisted on a goal by Jason Ward.
GOALS GALORE: The Rangers concluded a five-game road trip with a 7-1 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday at Air Canada Centre. The seven goals marked a season-high for New York, and are the most the Rangers have tallied in a game since an 8-4 win on Apr. 19, 2013 at Buffalo. Additionally, the six-goal margin of victory is the largest for the Rangers since a 7-0 win on Mar. 6, 2011 vs. Philadelphia. The last time the Blueshirts tallied seven or more goals in Toronto was an 8-2 victory on Mar. 14, 1990.
MILESTONE MATS: Mats Zuccarello established a career-high with three power play points on Dec. 29 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 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in the last 22 games, with nine points (four goals, five assists) in the last 10, and has tallied 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in the last 36 games since his healthy scratch on Oct. 24 at Philadelphia. He leads the team in assists (20) and points (30), is tied for first in power play points (13), and second in goals (10) this season.
INJURIES (81 Man-Games Lost):
Derek Dorsett (broken fibula on 1/3, 4-6 weeks) – 2
Jan. 5 – Assigned defenseman Conor Allen to Hartford (AHL)
Jan. 4 – Acquired forward Daniel Carcillo from Los Angeles in exchange for a conditional seventh round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft
Jan. 2 – Agreed to terms with forward Anthony Duclair to an entry level contract
Jan. 2 – Waived forward Taylor Pyatt (claimed by Pittsburgh)
Photo by Getty Images.