GAME NOTES: Rangers vs. Florida Panthers
The Rangers begin the 2007-08 regular season tonight against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), marking the second consecutive season the Blueshirts have kicked off their season on home ice (10/5/06 - Rangers 5, Capitals 2). Tonight's game will mark the first of four meetings between the Rangers and Panthers this season. The teams will next meet on November 23 at Florida. In six pre-season contests this year, New York posted a record of 3-2-1 to finish second in the Atlantic Division with seven points. The Panthers posted a 4-3-0 record in seven pre-season games, including two shutouts.
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Rangers vs. Panthers Pre-Game Notes:
* In season openers (home and road), the Rangers have posted a 32-35-13-0 record all-time; When the season opener is home, they have gone 9-9-5-0 all-time; When season opener is on the road, they have posted a 23-26-8-0 record.
* The last time the Rangers won a season opener at MSG was on October 5, 2006 vs. Washington.
* In the pre-season, the Rangers were 2-1-0 in three games at Madison Square Garden; Florida posted a 2-2-0 record in four pre-season road contests.
* In 41 regular season home games in 2006-07, the Rangers went 21-15-5 (T-17th in NHL); Florida was 12-19-10 (T-22nd in NHL) in 41 games on the road last season.
* In four games vs. the Panthers last season, the Rangers tallied five goals in 31 power play opportunities (16.1%); Florida went 3-14 (21.4%) with the man advantage vs. New York in 2006-07.
* The last time the Panthers defeated the Rangers at MSG was on October 25, 2006 (3-1).
* In last year's season series between the teams, the leading scorers were Martin Straka (three goals and two assists) and Jay Bouwmeester (one goal and three assists).
* The following players will be making their Rangers/MSG regular season debut; Chris Drury, Scott Gomez and Marc Staal (NHL Debut).
* Among active players, Jaromir Jagr ranks first in career points in season openers with 28 points (nine goals and 19 assists); He ranks second all-time (Ray Bourque, nine goals and 21 assists for 30 points).
* Brendan Shanahan notched 10 goals in the month of October last season, including two goals in his Rangers/MSG regular season debut in the season opener; Jaromir Jagr led the team in scoring during the opening month with 18 points (three goals and 15 assists).
* Tomas Vokoun is looking to make his regular season debut with the Panthers; In his career, Vokoun owns a 3-3-1 record, along with a 2.38 goals against average in seven appearances.
* The Rangers posted a 5-6-0 record in October last season and went 8-3-2 on Thursdays.
* New York's roster lists no former Panthers.
* Florida's roster lists one former Ranger; Radek Dvorak (1999-00 to 2002-03).
All-Time - Rangers vs. Panthers
At MSG: 15-9-4-0
At Florida: 15-10-2-2
2007-08 – Rangers vs. Panthers
Oct. 4 Rangers vs. Panthers at MSG
Nov. 23 Rangers vs. Panthers at BankAtlantic Center
Feb. 24 Rangers vs. Panthers at MSG
March 14 Rangers vs. Panthers at BankAtlantic Center
2006-07 – Rangers vs. Panthers
Oct. 25 Rangers 2 vs. Panthers 4 at MSG
Nov. 8 Rangers 4 vs. Panthers 3 (SO) at BankAtlantic Center
Dec. 10 Rangers 2 vs. Panthers 1 at MSG
Dec. 21 Rangers 2 vs. Panthers 3 at BankAtlantic Center
Upcoming Regular Season Schedule
Oct. 4 Rangers vs. Florida 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 6 Rangers at Ottawa 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 10 Rangers at NY Islanders 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 12 Rangers vs. Washington 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 13 Rangers vs. Ottawa 7:00 p.m.
Highlights from Hartford
Follow the progress of the Rangers' top prospects:
The Wolf Pack, under new head coach Ken Gernander, open their regular season Saturday night (7:00) at home against Nutmeg-State rival Bridgeport (Islanders affiliate). The Pack are coming off of a 47-29-3-1, 98-point season last year with Jim Schoenfeld at the helm. The Wolf Pack finished a three-game preseason slate with a 2-1-0-0 record, and won their last two games by shutout. After losing a 3-1 decision to Bridgeport last Wednesday in Stamford, CT, Gernander’s crew blanked Springfield (Edmonton affiliate) on the road by a score of 4-0 Friday, and then Sunday in Cromwell, CT, the Wolf Pack prevailed over Bridgeport by a count of 2-0. After Saturday night’s lid-lifter, the Wolf Pack are off until Friday night (7:05), when they visit Manchester (Los Angeles affiliate).
For more Wolf Pack news, visit www.hartfordwolfpack.com.