Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Monday, Dec. 8, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Penguins: 18-6-2 (38 pts)
Rangers: 11-10-4 (26 pts)
The Rangers play their 26th game of the 2014-15 season against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Metropolitan Division matchup at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET —TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN Radio 98.7 FM). The Rangers have earned at least one point in 14 of their last 21 contests (10-7-4), including 11 of their last 14 home games (8-3-3). New York has posted an 11-10-4 record this season (26 pts), following a 3-2 loss against the Detroit Red Wings Saturday in Detroit. The Penguins have posted an 18-6-2 record this season (38 pts), following a 3-2 win against the Ottawa Senators Saturday.
RANGERS VS. PENGUINS
All-Time: 121-105-23-11 record (68-50-9-4 at home, 53-55-14-7 on the road)
2014-15: Tonight’s game is the third of four meetings between the Rangers and Penguins this season, and the second of two meetings between the two teams at MSG. The Rangers have posted a 1-0-1 record (1-0-0 at home, 0-0-1 on the road) against Pittsburgh this season, following a 3-2 shootout loss on Nov. 15 in Pittsburgh. Rick Nash leads all skaters with three assists and four points while Martin St. Louis leads all skaters with two goals over the first two games. The Rangers have tallied a power play goal in each of the two contests (2-for-8; 25.0%) and are 5-for-5 (100%) on the penalty kill in the season series. Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 1-0-1 record, along with a 0.96 GAA, a .972 SV% (69 saves on 71 shots), and 1 SO in two appearances. The Rangers and Penguins will face off again Jan. 18 (at Pittsburgh)
The Rangers have earned at least one point in seven of their last eight regular season games against the Penguins (4-1-3 record), dating back to Apr. 3, 2013.
New York has registered at least one point in four straight regular season home games against Pittsburgh (3-0-1 record), dating back to Apr. 3, 2013. The Rangers tallied at least five goals and allowed one goal or fewer in each of the three victories over the span, and they have outscored the Penguins, 19-6, over the last four regular season home contests.
The Rangers list three former Penguins on their roster: Tanner Glass (2012-13 – 2013-14), Dominic Moore (2006-07), Lee Stempniak (2013-14)
The Penguins do not list any former Rangers on their active roster (* Note: Pascal Dupuis, who is on long-term injured reserve, played for the Rangers during the 2006-07 season)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. PENGUINS
Henrik Lundqvist – 53 GP, 26-19-8, 2.40 GAA, .916 SV%, 3 SO – Lundqvist has appeared in more regular season games against Pittsburgh than against any other NHL opponent in his career. He has posted a 4-1-3 record, along with a 1.92 GAA, a .934 SV%, and 1 SO in his last eight regular season appearances against the Penguins, and he has registered a 3-0-1 record, along with a 1.23 GAA, a .959 SV% (116 saves on 121 shots), and 1 SO in his last four regular season appearances against Pittsburgh at MSG.
Martin St. Louis – 52 GP, 19-30-49 – St. Louis has recorded a point in six of his last seven regular season games against the Penguins, registering eight points (two goals, six assists) over the span.
Derick Brassard – 12 GP, 4-9-13 – Brassard enters the contest with a point in six straight regular season games against Pittsburgh (three goals, three assists). He has notched a point in seven of eight regular season games against the Penguins as a Ranger since he made his debut with the Blueshirts on Apr. 3, 2013 against Pittsburgh (four goals, six assists over the eight games). Including last year’s Metropolitan Division Finals series, Brassard has registered 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 15 regular season and playoff games against the Penguins as a Ranger.
The Rangers are tied for first in the NHL in games with at least one power play goal and one shorthanded goal (seven) since the start of the 2013-14 season.
New York was 0-for-7 (11:24) with eight shots on goal on the power play on Dec. 6 at Detroit
The Rangers have tallied a power play goal in seven of the last nine games (7-for-37; 18.9%), eight of the last 11 games (8-for-44; 18.2%), and 10 of the last 15 contests (11-for-54; 20.4%)
Leaders in PPG: Brassard (3), St. Louis (3), Boyle (2), Kreider (2), Nash (2)
Leaders in PPA: Stepan (6), Brassard (5), St. Louis (4), McDonagh (3), Nash (3)
Leaders in PPP: Brassard (8), St. Louis (7), Stepan (6), Nash (5), McDonagh (3)
The Rangers were 3-for-3 (6:00) and allowed two shots on goal on the penalty kill on Dec. 6 at Detroit
Leaders in SH ice time per game: McDonagh (3:11), Girardi (3:09), Staal (2:53), D. Moore (2:31), Hagelin (2:17)
Leaders in blocked shots on the PK: Klein (11), Staal (11), D. Moore (8), Girardi (7), Hagelin (6), McDonagh (6)
Kevin Klein – 3 points away from 100 in his NHL career
Lee Stempniak – 4 assists away from 200 in his NHL career
RICK ROLLING: Rick Nash has tallied a point in 20 of 25 games this season, and has registered a goal in 15 of those contests. He is the first Ranger to record a point in 20 games and tally a goal in 15 games in a 25-game span during one season since Marian Gaborik did so to begin the 2009-10 season. Nash enters the contest with a seven-game point streak (five goals, three assists), which is tied for the longest point streak a Blueshirt has tallied this season. The five-time NHL All-Star is tied for second in the NHL in goals (17), shorthanded goals (two), and shorthanded points (two), ranks third in even strength goals (13), is tied for sixth in even strength points (20), and is tied for 10th in points (27) this season. Nash leads the NHL in games with a goal (15) and is tied for third in the NHL in games with a point (20) in 2014-15, and he is the only NHL player to have an active streak of 10 straight 20-goal seasons.
TAKING THE METRO: The Rangers have earned at least one point in seven consecutive games against Metropolitan Division opponents (6-0-1 record). The Blueshirts have posted a 6-2-1 record against Metropolitan Division opponents this season, including a 4-1-0 record at home against their division rivals. New York has posted a 10-2-1 record in its last 13 regular season games against teams in the Metropolitan Division, dating back to a 3-1 victory over Columbus on Mar. 21, 2014.
CENTERS OF ATTENTION: Since making his season debut on Nov. 8, Derek Stepan has recorded a point in 10 of 13 games, (two goals, 11 assists over the span), and established a career-high with a seven-game point streak from Nov. 17 vs. Tampa Bay to Dec. 1 vs. Tampa Bay (one goal, eight assists). The Rangers’ alternate captain is tied for the NHL lead in power play assists (six), shorthanded assists (two), and shorthanded points (two), is tied for third in the NHL in assists (11), and is tied for fifth in power play points (six) since he made his season debut.
Derick Brassard has tallied a point in 16 of the last 23 games (eight goals, 13 assists), 12 of the last 17 games (five goals, 12 assists), and seven of the last nine games (two goals, six assists). The last time Brassard didn’t tally a point in two consecutive games was the first two games of this season. Brassard is tied for eighth in the NHL in power play points (seven – three goals, four assists) since Nov. 3, and he has recorded a power play point in five of the last 11 games (two goals, three assists).
FINE KLEIN: With his goal on Dec. 6, Kevin Klein established an NHL career-high for goals (five) in a season. He is tied for third among NHL defensemen in even strength goals (five) and is tied for ninth among NHL defensemen in goals this season. Klein is also tied for first among NHL defensemen in even strength goals and is tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in goals since Oct. 21.
TOP OF THE HEAP: Since entering the NHL in 2005-06, Henrik Lundqvist leads all goalies (min. 300 appearances) in appearances (593), wins (318), and shutouts (54), ranks second in GAA (2.28), and is tied for second in SV% (.920). The Rangers’ all-time wins and shutouts leader has posted more wins than any goalie who has played with only one franchise in NHL history. Lundqvist ranks fourth among goalies in NHL history in wins with one franchise (318), trailing only Martin Brodeur (NJD), Tony Esposito (CHI), and Terry Sawchuk (DET).
SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS: Martin St. Louis has registered a point in 10 of the last 15 games (nine goals, five assists), including six of the last nine contests (five goals, three assists). He has also tallied a goal in eight of the last 15 contests. Since Nov. 3, St. Louis is tied for fourth in the NHL in goals (nine).
AV SQUAD: Alain Vigneault enters tomorrow’s contest tied with Brian Sutter for 25th in points among head coaches in NHL history (1,062 points – 478-329-35-71 record in 913 career regular season games as an NHL head coach). Vigneault ranks fourth among NHL head coaches in wins (369) since the start of the 2006-07 season.
POINTS AMONG HEAD COACHES IN NHL HISTORY
22. Glen Sather – 1,122
23. Roger Neilson – 1,082
24. Dave Tippett – 1,073
T-25. Alain Vigneault – 1,062
T-25. Brian Sutter – 1,062
THREE’S COMPANY: The Rangers have tallied at least three goals in five of their last six games and they are tied for sixth in the NHL in games with three or more goals (16) this season. New York ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game (2.88) and fourth in goals at home (48) this season.
INJURIES (48 Man-Games Lost to Injury): None
Photos: Top, by Getty Images; jerseys by Carp.