Pregame Notes: Rangers vs. Pittsburgh

2013-14: Game 35

Wednesday, 12.18.2013 / 10:21 AM New York Rangers

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 8:00 p.m. ET

Madison Square Garden – New York, NY

Rangers: 16-17-1 (33 pts)

Penguins: 24-10-1 (49 pts)

TONIGHT'S GAME

The Rangers will face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, Dec. 18, at Madison Square Garden (8:00p.m. — TV: NBCSN; Radio: Bloomberg Radio), as they continue their franchise record nine-game homestand. The Blueshirts currently rank fourth in the Metropolitan Division standings, and 10th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 16-17-1 (33 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Calgary Flames, 4-3, in the shootout on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 1-3-1 on their current homestand. The Blueshirts are tied for fourth in the conference in ROW (15). The Penguins enter the contest with a 24-10-1 (49 pts) record to rank first in the Eastern Conference, and have won nine of their last 10 games. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the New York Islanders on Friday, Dec. 20, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), as they continue their nine-game homestand.

RANGERS vs. PENGUINS:

All-Time: 119-103-23-9 overall (67-50-9-3 at home; 52-54-14-6 on the road)

2013-14: Tonight is the second of four meetings this season, and the second and final meeting at Madison Square Garden. New York is 1-0-0 overall (1-0-0 at home; 0-0-0 on the road), following a 5-1 win on Nov. 6 at MSG. The Rangers had 11 different players register a point in their first meeting, while Brian Boyle (one goal, one assist) and Brad Richards (two assists) each tallied two points in the contest. Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves in the win.

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 have won their last two meetings against Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden, and have out-scored the Penguins, 11-2, in those contests

New York is 6-9-1 at home; Pittsburgh is 9-7-1 on the road

New York is 5-5-1 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents; Pittsburgh is 11-4-0 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents

New York lists two former Penguins on their roster: Arron Asham (2010-11 - 2011-12); Dominic Moore (2006-07)

Pittsburgh lists one former Ranger on their roster: Pascal Dupuis (2006-07)

INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. PENGUINS:

Henrik Lundqvist – 48 GP, 24-18-6, 2 SO, 2.39 GAA

Brad Richards – 39 GP, 9-32–41

Rick Nash – 15 GP, 7-5–12

Derick Brassard – 7 GP, 2-6–8

Dan Girardi – 42 GP, 1-13–14

SPECIAL TEAMS:

The Rangers' power play is 6-30 (20.0%) in the last 10 games

The Blueshirts’ penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in 13 of the last 17 games (40-44, 90.9% over the span)

Is tied for second in the league with three goals in 5-on-3 situations

Power Play: The Rangers were 0-4 (6:00) on Sunday vs. Calgary. New York ranks 15th in the NHL overall (20-112, 17.9%), and 25th at home (7-55, 12.7%). The Rangers are 3-11 (5:44) in five-on-three situations (last – 12/15 vs. CGY), and 0-1 (0:30) when four-on-three (last – 10/12 at STL). Shorthanded goals allowed (3): 10/8 at SJS (Vlasic); 10/24 at PHI (Read); 11/19 vs. BOS (Paille).

Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts were 4-5 (7:25) on Sunday vs. Calgary. New York ranks sixth in the NHL overall (90-105, 85.7%), and is tied 12th at home (39-46, 84.8%). The Rangers are 2-3 (2:49) in three-on-five situations (last – 11/4 vs. ANA), and 4-6 (4:29) when three-on-four (last – 12/15 vs. CGY). Shorthanded goals for (1): 10/7 at LAK (McDonagh).

Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in three four-on-four situations (4:19) on Sunday vs. Calgary, and are now -1 in 35 four-on-four situations (53:09) this season. Four-on-four goals for (3): 10/16 at WSH (J. Moore); 10/26 at DET (Brassard); 12/12 vs. CBJ (Girardi). Four-on-four goals allowed (4): 10/3 at PHX (Vrbata); 10/7 at LAK (Muzzin); 10/12 at STL (Backes); 12/8 vs. WSH (Grabovski, PS).

RINGMASTERS

The Rangers have won 231-411 faceoffs (56.2%) through seven 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. The Blueshirts have five players – Derek Stepan (81-150, 54.0%), Brad Richards (43-74, 58.1%), Dominic Moore (39-57, 68.4%), Derick Brassard (36-68, 52.9%), and Brian Boyle (30-53, 56.6%) – with 30 or more faceoff wins over the span.

GOALIE GREATS

Henrik Lundqvist is one appearance shy of tying Ed Giacomin for third on the Rangers all-time goaltender appearances list. Below are the current leaders:

1. Mike Richter - 666

2. Gump Worsley - 582

3. Ed Giacomin - 538

4. Henrik Lundqvist - 537

HOMESTAND

The Rangers are in the midst of a nine-game homestand (1-3-1), lasting 17 days and ending with an Original Six matchup on Dec. 23 vs. Toronto. The nine-game stretch will establish a franchise record for longest homestand, breaking the team's previous longest homestand of seven games done five times (1969-70, 1972-73, 1977-78, 2001-02, 2011-12). Five of the nine games will be against Metropolitan Division opponents, three will be against Western Conference opponents, and one will be against an Original Six opponent. The homestand will also be book-ended by back-to-back sets, beginning on Dec. 7 vs. New Jersey - Dec. 8 vs. Washington and ending on Dec. 22 vs. Minnesota - Dec. 23 vs. Toronto.

WESTERN SHOOTOUT

The Rangers and Calgary Flames participated in a seven-round shootout on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, to cap of a 4-3 Blueshirts victory. The shootout was the first of the season for the Rangers. They were the only team in the league to have not had a shootout yet this season, and it marked the latest the Blueshirts have gone into a season without having a shootout since 2010-11 (24 games). The Rangers' last shootout was on Apr. 10, 2013 vs. Toronto (3-2 SO win), a stretch of 41 regular season games. Mats Zuccarello, Brad Richards, Dominic Moore, and Benoit Pouliot each converted their shootout attempt, while Henrik Lundqvist stopped four of seven shootout attempts. The Rangers' four shootout goals tied a franchise record for most goals in a single shootout, having previously done so on Nov. 26, 2005 (3-2 SO win vs. Washington; 15 rounds) and Jan. 2, 2007 (3-2 SO win at New Jersey, eight rounds). Lundqvist improved to 45-30 all-time in shootouts, and is now second in the NHL all-time in shootout wins (Ryan Miller, 47 shootout wins).

BROADWAY DEBUT

Rangers' defenseman Dylan McIlrath was credited with one hit in 8:55 of ice time while skating in his NHL debut on Thursday against Columbus at Madison Square Garden. He became the second Blueshirt to make his NHL debut this season, along with forward Jesper Fast in the season opener on Oct. 3, 2013 at Phoenix. McIlrath was originally selected by the Rangers as a first round choice, 10th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

STREAKING DEFENSEMAN

Ryan McDonagh posted a career-high, six-game point streak (one goal, six assists) from Nov. 27 at Florida to Dec. 7 vs. New Jersey, which also included a career-best, four-game assist streak (five assists). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his six-game point streak was the longest by a Rangers defenseman since Brian Leetch registered a point in seven straight games during the 2003-04 season (Nov. 23 – Dec. 4). It is also tied as the third longest point streak by a defenseman in the NHL this season.

SAVING A POINT

Chris Kreider tallied a power play goal with 22 seconds remaining in regulation on Dec. 7 in a 4-3 OT loss vs. NJD, to help the Rangers earn a point. The last regular season game the Rangers tied in the final minute of regulation was on Jan. 1, 2011, at TBL (2-1 OT loss).

COUNTDOWN TO 6K

The Rangers have played in 5,976 regular season games throughout the franchise's 88 seasons, just 24 games shy of 6,000 all-time. The Blueshirts are scheduled to play their 6,000th game all-time on February 6 against the Edmonton Oilers at Madison Square Garden.

MILESTONES IN SIGHT:

Derick Brassard – 6 points from 200th NHL career

Michael Del Zotto – 9 assists from 100th NHL career

MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:

Ryan McDonagh – 200th career NHL game (12/8 vs. WSH)

Rick Nash – 600th career NHL point (12/10 vs. NSH)

Dylan McIlrath – 1st career NHL game (12/12 vs. CBJ)

Mats Zuccarello – 100th career NHL game (12/15 vs. CGY)

Derek Stepan – 100th career NHL assist (12/15 vs. CGY)

INJURIES (65 Man-Games Lost):

Marc Staal (IR - concussion on 12/7, out indefinitely) – 4

Ryan Callahan (IR - sprained MCL on 12/10, 4 weeks) – 2

RECENT TRANSACTIONS:

Dec. 11 – Recalled defenseman Dylan McIlrath from Hartford (AHL)

Dec. 9 – Recalled forward Arron Asham from Hartford (AHL), and assigned forward J.T. Miller to Hartford

Dec. 6 – Acquired forward Kyle Beach from Chicago in exchange for forward Brandon Mashinter

Dec. 6 – Recalled forward J.T. Miller from Hartford (AHL)

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