Pre-game notes courtesy of the Rangers:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. BUFFALO SABRES
Thursday, Apr. 10, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 44-31-5 (93 pts)
Sabres: 21-49-9 (51 pts)
The Rangers will face off against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), as they play their final home game of the regular season. The Blueshirts currently rank second in the Metropolitan Division standings, and fifth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 44-31-5 (93 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having beaten the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-1, on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts have posted a 9-3-1 record in their last 13 games, including an 8-2-1 record in their last 11 games. The Sabres have posted a 21-49-9 record (51 pts) to rank 16th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost four consecutive games. Following the contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face off against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, Apr. 12, at Bell Centre (7:00 p.m. ET) in their final game of the regular season.
RANGERS vs. SABRES:
• All-Time: 64-73-25-5 overall (36-28-15-3 at home; 28-45-10-2 on the road)
• 2013-14: Tonight is the third and final meeting this season, and the second of two meetings at MSG. New York is 2-0-0 (1-0-0 at home; 1-0-0 on the road), following a 3-1 win on Dec. 5 at First Niagra Center. Mats Zuccarello has three points (one goal, two assists) in two contests, while Derick Brassard and Brad Richards have two points (one goal, one assist) apiece. Henrik Lundqvist is 2-0-0 with a 0.50 GAA, .982 SV% and 1 SO in the series.
• Last Season: New York was 2-1-0 overall (1-0-0 at home; 1-1-0 on the road). Rick Nash and Derek Stepan each tallied two goals and two assists for a series-leading four points apiece, while Brad Richards led all skaters with three goals. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-1-0 with a 2.95 GAA and .888 Sv% in three games.
• New York is 19-17-4 at home; Buffalo is 8-28-3 on the road
• The Rangers are 14-7-1 vs. Atlantic Division opponents; the Sabres are 7-12-3 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents
• The Blueshirts are 7-2-0 in their last nine games against Buffalo, dating back to a 4-1 win on Dec. 10, 2011
• New York lists one former Sabre on their roster: Dominic Moore (2008-09)
• Buffalo lists one former Ranger on their roster: John Scott (2011-12)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. SABRES:
• Henrik Lundqvist – 26 GP, 14-10-2, 2.28 GAA, 2 SO
• Martin St. Louis – 48 GP, 15-26—41
• Brad Richards – 39 GP, 13-20—33
• Rick Nash – 14 GP, 9-4 —13
• Anton Stralman – 18 GP, 3-3—6
• The Blueshirts penalty kill is 43-46 (93.5%) with seven shorthanded goals in the last 18 games
• Ranks seventh in the league in combined PP% + PK% (103.7%)
• Power Play: The Rangers were 2-3 (2:37) on Tuesday vs. Carolina. New York ranks 12th in the NHL overall (48-257, 18.7%), and 23rd at home (20-128, 15.6%). The Rangers are 6-18 (8:36) in five-on-three situations (last – 3/21 at CBJ), and 0-6 (6:56) when four-on-three (last – 1/19 vs. WSH). Shorthanded goals allowed (6): 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); 3/2 vs. BOS (Campbell).
• Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts were not shorthanded on Tuesday vs. Carolina. New York ranks fifth in the NHL overall (193-227, 85.0%), and seventh at home (87-103, 84.5%). The Rangers are 4-7 (6:27) in three-on-five situations (last – 3/7 at CAR), and 8-10 (8:06) when three-on-four (last – 3/24 vs. PHX). Shorthanded goals for (10): 10/7 at LAK (McDonagh); 12/27 at WSH (Hagelin); 1/19 vs. WSH (Callahan); 3/5 vs. TOR (McDonagh); 3/5 vs. TOR (D. Moore); 3/7 at CAR (McDonagh); 3/30 at EDM (Nash); 3/30 at EDM (Zuccarello); 4/1 at VAN (St. Louis).
• Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation on Tuesday vs. Carolina. The Rangers are -1 in 83 four-on-four situations (127:22), and even in one three-on-three situation (1:03) this season. Four-on-four goals for (8): 10/16 at WSH (J. Moore); 10/26 at DET (Brassard); 12/12 vs. CBJ (Girardi); 12/18 vs. PIT (Hagelin); 1/31 vs. NYI (Brassard); 1/31 vs. NYI (McDonagh); 3/7 at CAR (Nash); 3/24 vs. PHX (McDonagh). Four-on-four goals allowed (9): 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); 3/5 vs. TOR (Bozak); 3/26 vs. PHI (Voracek).
Henrik Lundqvist registered his 30th win of the season with a 30-save effort in a 3-1 win on Mar. 26 vs. Philadelphia. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first goaltender in NHL history to reach the 30-win milestone in eight of his first nine NHL seasons. Lundqvist established two franchise records in a five-day span, becoming the Rangers’ all-time wins leader with his 302nd career victory on Mar. 18 at Ottawa, and the team’s all-time shutouts leader with his 50th career shutout on Mar. 22 at New Jersey. He registered his 300th career win with a 30-save shutout in the Rangers 3-0 victory over Detroit on Mar. 9 at Madison Square Garden. He became the 29th goaltender in NHL history to reach the 300-win mark.
SHUTTING THE DOOR
The Rangers are tied for first in the NHL in games which they have allowed one or fewer goals this season (29, tied with St. Louis). New York has posted a 27-2-0 record when allowing one goal or fewer. The Blueshirts are tied for third in the NHL in games which they have allowed two goals or fewer this season (47). The Rangers are 37-10-0 when allowing two goals or fewer this season. The Blueshirts have allowed two goals or fewer in 16 of their last 22 home games, giving up 42 goals over the span (1.91 goals against per game). New York ranks fifth in the NHL – and second in the Eastern Conference – in goals against per game this season (2.35 goals against per game).
Mats Zuccarello enters the contest with a five-game point streak (four goals, four assists over the span), and has 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in his last 23 games. Since Oct. 26, Zuccarello has recorded a point in 41 of 68 games, tallying 58 points (19 goals, 39 assists) during the stretch. The Rangers are 30-8-3 when Zuccarello records a point this season. Zuccarello’s 58 points are the most a Norwegian-born player has had in one season in NHL history. The record was previously held by Espen Knutsen, who had 53 points with Columbus during the 2000-01 season. Zuccarello received the 2013-14 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, as voted on by the fans for the player that goes above and beyond the call of duty, prior to Tuesday’s game vs. OTT.
The Rangers established a franchise record for road wins in one season with their 25th of the year on Apr. 1 at Vancouver. The Blueshirts have posted an 83-54-9 road record dating back to the start of the 2010-11 season, and are the only team to win at least 24 road games in three of the last four seasons. The Rangers lead the league in road wins, and have won six of last eight road games, tallying at least one point in seven of those contests (6-1-1). New York has posted two separate six-game road winning streaks this season for the first time in franchise history. The Rangers’ 51 road points this season rank second in franchise history (2011-12 – 53).
The Rangers have outscored opponents, 21-6, during the second period over the last 14 games, dating back to Mar. 13 at Minnesota. The Blueshirts have outshot opponents, 166-140 during the middle frame over the stretch.
THE HOT LIST:
• Henrik Lundqvist – 7-2-1 in his last 10 games (1.98 GAA, .933 Sv%, 1 SO) and 10-4-1 in his last 15 (1.86 GAA, .938 Sv%, 2 SO)
• Derek Stepan – 21 points (7 G, 14 A) in the last 21 games
• Mats Zuccarello – 5-game point streak (4 G, 4 A); 23 points (6 G, 17 A) in his last 23 games
• Benoit Pouliot – 6-game point streak (2 G, 4 A); 8 points (2 G, 6 A) in the last 8 games
• Derick Brassard – 8 points (5 G, 3 A) in the last 11 games
• Carl Hagelin – 5 points from 100th NHL career
INJURIES (118 Man-Games Lost):
• Chris Kreider (hand injury on 3/21) – 7
• Ryan McDonagh (upper-body injury on 4/1; day-to-day) – 3
• Apr. 7 – Recalled Jesper Fast from Hartford (AHL)
• Apr. 2 – Assigned J.T. Miller to Hartford (AHL)
Photo by Getty Images.