NEW YORK RANGERS vs. MINNESOTA WILD
Sunday, Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 16-18-2 (34 pts)
Wild: 20-12-5 (45 pts)
The Rangers will continue their franchise record nine-game homestand when they face-off against the Minnesota Wild tonight, Dec. 22, at Madison Square Garden (7:30p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in the first game of a back-to-back set. The Blueshirts currently rank sixth in the Metropolitan Division standings, and 11th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 16-18-2 (34 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the New York Islanders, 5-3, on Friday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 1-4-2 on their current homestand. The Blueshirts are tied for sixth in the conference in ROW (15). The Wild enter the contest with a 20-12-5 (45 pts) record to rank eighth in the Western Conference, and have lost three of their last five games. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, Dec. 23, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to conclude their nine-game homestand.
RANGERS vs. WILD:
All-Time: 9-5-0-0 overall (4-2-0-0 at home; 4-3-0-0 on the road)
2013-14: Tonight is the first of two meetings this season, and the only meeting at Madison Square Garden.
Last Season: : Did not play. In 2011-12, New York was 1-0-0 overall (0-0-0 mark at home; 1-0-0 mark on the road), following a 3-2 win on Mar. 27, 2012 at Xcel Energy Center. Brian Boyle opened the game's scoring at 11:23 of the first period, and Ruslan Fedotenko notched the game-winning goal with 6:23 remaining in regulation. Ryan McDonagh led all skaters in scoring with two points (two assists) in the contest, while Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves in the win.
The Rangers and Wild have been separated by two or fewer goals in 12 of their 14 meetings all-time
The Blueshirts have won two of their last three games against the Wild at Madison Square Garden, and have won two of their last three games against Minnesota overall
The Rangers last win against the Wild at Madison Square Garden was on Mar. 24, 2009 (2-1)
New York is 6-10-2 at home; Minnesota is 6-9-3 on the road
New York is 5-8-0 vs. Western Conference opponents; Minnesota is 9-5-2 vs. Eastern Conference opponents
Minnesota lists one former Ranger on their roster: Mike Rupp (2011-12 - 2012-13)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. WILD:
Henrik Lundqvist – 6 GP, 3-3-0, 2.76 GAA
Rick Nash – 32 GP, 13-13–26
Brad Richards – 18 GP, 7-15–22
Taylor Pyatt – 39 GP, 10-3–13
Dan Girardi – 6 GP, 0-4–4
The Rangers' power play is 9-41 (22.0%) in the last 12 games
Have tallied two or more power play goals in five games this season
Is tied for third in the league with three goals in 5-on-3 situations
The Blueshirts’ penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in 13 of the last 19 games (44-50, 88.0% over the span)
Power Play: The Rangers were 2-7 (12:15) on Friday vs. the NY Islanders. New York ranks 13th in the NHL overall (23-123, 18.7%), and 22nd at home (10-66, 15.2%). The Rangers are 3-11 (5:44) in five-on-three situations (last – 12/15 vs. CGY), 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 3-4 (7:18) on Friday vs. the NY Islanders. New York ranks ninth in the NHL overall (94-111, 84.7%), and 17th at home (43-52, 82.7%). 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 (1): 10/7 at LAK (McDonagh).
Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (0:35) on Friday vs. the NY Islanders, and are now -1 in 40 four-on-four situations (60:44) 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 (5): 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).
Scheduled to play in 13 back-to-back sets this season
Combined record – 6-5-1
Record in 1st game – 3-2-1 (1-1-1 at home; 2-1-0 on the road)
Record in 2nd game – 3-3-0 (1-2-0 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 16-5-5 in the first half of back-to-back games dating back to the start of the 2011-12 season, and 16-8-2 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)
Mats Zuccarello tallied a power play assist on Friday against the NY Islanders to establish a single-season career-high in scoring with his 24th point of the season. He has recorded 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in the last 14 games, and leads the team in scoring with 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in the last 28 games since his healthy scratch on Oct. 24 at Philadelphia. Zuccarello is currently tied for first on the team in assists (17) and ranks second in points (24) overall this season.
The Rangers have won 290-535 faceoffs (54.2%) through nine 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 (99-198, 50.0%), Brad Richards (47-85, 55.3%), Dominic Moore (49-76, 64.5%), Derick Brassard (47-87, 54.0%), and Brian Boyle (42-70, 60.0%) – with 40 or more faceoff wins over the span.
1. Mike Richter – 666
2. Gump Worsley – 582
3. Henrik Lundqvist – 539
4. Ed Giacomin – 538
The Rangers are in the midst of a nine-game homestand (1-4-2), 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.
The Rangers have required the shootout in each of the last two games after being the only team in the NHL to not participate in a shootout in their first 33 contests of the season. The Blueshirts' 4-3 shootout victory against the Calgary Flames on Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden ended a stretch of 41 regular season games without a shootout, with their last shootout being on Apr. 10, 2013 vs. Toronto (3-2 SO win). New York tallied four shootout goals in seven rounds in their win against Calgary, tying a franchise record for most goals in a single shootout (3-2 SO win on Nov. 25, 2005 vs. Washington - 15 rounds; 3-2 SO win on Jan. 2, 2007 at New Jersey - eight rounds). Lundqvist is now 46-31 all-time in shootouts, ranking second in the NHL all-time in shootout wins (Ryan Miller, 47 shootout wins).
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.
COUNTDOWN TO 6K
The Rangers have played in 5,978 regular season games throughout the franchise's 88 seasons, just 22 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 – 4 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 (69 Man-Games Lost):
Marc Staal (IR - concussion on 12/7, out indefinitely) – 6
Ryan Callahan (IR - sprained MCL on 12/10, 4 weeks) – 4
Dec. 11 – Recalled defenseman Dylan McIlrath from Hartford (AHL)
Dec. 6 – Recalled forward J.T. Miller from Hartford (AHL)
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