Pregame Notes: Rangers at Buffalo
2013-14: Game 29
NEW YORK RANGERS at BUFFALO SABRES
- Thursday, Dec. 5, 7:00 p.m. ET
- First Niagara Center – Buffalo, NY
- Rangers: 14-14-0 (28 pts)
- Sabres: 6-20-2 (14 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Buffalo Sabres tonight, Dec. 5, at First Niagara Center (7:00 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: Bloomberg Radio), in their first of three games in a four-day span. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Metropolitan Division standings, and eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 14-14-0 (28 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Winnipeg Jets, 5-2, on Monday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 11-7-0 in their last 18 games. The Blueshirts are tied for fourth in the conference, and ninth in the NHL, in ROW (14). The Sabres enter the contest with a 6-20-2 (14 pts) record to rank 16th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost six of their last seven games. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will begin a franchise record, nine-game homestand, when they face-off against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, Dec. 7, at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.), in the first game of a back-to-back set.
RANGERS vs. SABRES
- All-Time: 63-73-25-5 overall (36-28-15-3 at home; 27-45-10-2 on the road)
- 2013-14: Tonight is the second of three meetings this season, and the first and only meeting at First Niagara Center. New York is 1-0-0 overall (1-0-0 at home; 0-0-0 on the road), following a 2-0 win on Oct. 31 at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers out-shot the Sabres, 46-29, in the contest, including a 19-6 advantage in the first period. The Blueshirts' power play was 1-3 (33.3%), while the penalty kill was 1-1 (100.0%). Six different Rangers tallied a point in the contest, including goals from Derick Brassard and Chris Kreider. Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves for the shutout.
- Last Season: New York was 2-1-0 overall (1-0-0 at home; 1-1-0 on the road). The Rangers' power play was 2-6 (33.3%) in the series, while the penalty kill was 12-14 (85.7%) with one shorthanded goal. 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.
- The Rangers and Sabres have been separated by one goal in nine of their last 16 meetings, including five that required overtime (two in the shootout)
- New York is 9-8-0 on the road; Buffalo is 3-11-1 at home
- New York is 5-4-0 vs. Atlantic Division opponents; Buffalo is 1-4-1 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents
- New York lists two former Sabres on their roster: Dominic Moore (2008-09); Taylor Pyatt (2001-02 - 2005-06)
- Buffalo lists one former Ranger on their roster: John Scott (2011-12)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. SABRES
- Henrik Lundqvist – 25 GP, 13-10-2, 2 SO, 2.33 GAA
- Brad Richards – 38 GP, 12-19–31
- Ryan Callahan – 23 GP, 8-5–13
- Rick Nash – 13 GP, 8-4–12
- Michael Del Zotto – 14 GP, 0-7–7
- Is tied for first in the league with three goals in 5-on-3 situations
- The Rangers' power play is 4-13 (30.8%) in the last four games
- The Blueshirts’ penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in nine of the last 11 games (26-28, 92.9% over the span)
- Power Play: The Rangers were 0-2 (4:00) on Monday vs. Winnipeg. New York is tied for 12th in the NHL overall (18-95, 19.0%), and ranks fourth on the road (12-55, 21.8%). The Rangers are 3-10 (4:24) in five-on-three situations (last – 11/25 at TBL), 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 2-2 (4:00) on Monday vs. Winnipeg. New York ranks fifth in the NHL overall (77-90, 85.6%), and is tied for eighth on the road (49-57, 86.0%). The Rangers are 2-3 (2:49) in three-on-five situations (last – 11/4 vs. ANA), and 2-3 (0:55) when three-on-four (last – 11/21 at DAL). Shorthanded goals for (1): 10/7 at LAK (McDonagh).
- Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation on Monday vs. Winnipeg, and are now -1 in 27 four-on-four situations (39:51) this season. Four-on-four goals for (2): 10/16 at WSH (J. Moore); 10/26 at DET (Brassard). Four-on-four goals allowed (3): 10/3 at PHX (Vrbata); 10/7 at LAK (Muzzin); 10/12 at STL (Backes).
Brad Richards and Ryan McDonagh both enter tonight’s game with a four-game point streak. Richards has tallied four points (one goal, three assists) over the span, and also enters with a three-game assist streak. Ryan McDonagh has also registered four points (one goal, three assists) during the streak, which ties his career-high for longest point streak, posted earlier this season from Nov. 6 - Nov. 12.
HAT TRICK HERO
Rangers' rookie Chris Kreider posted his first career hat trick in a 5-2 win on Saturday against Vancouver. He became just the third Rangers rookie in the last 20 years to record a hat trick (Derek Stepan in his NHL debut on Oct. 9, 2010; Jan Hlavac on Feb. 11, 2000). Kreider has tallied 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in the last 17 games, and is now tied for second among NHL rookies with 16 points. Since his recall on Oct. 20, he leads all rookies in points and is tied for first in goals.
- Cam Talbot made a career-high, 35 saves to win his sixth consecutive decision while making his Madison Square Garden debut in the Rangers' 5-2 victory on Saturday against Vancouver. Talbot posted two straight shutouts – Nov. 16 at Montreal and Nov. 23 at Nashville – during his six-game winning streak, and held opponents to two goals or fewer in each of his first seven career NHL starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau:
- The last Rangers goaltender to win six straight decisions in their first year was Jim Henry in 1941-42 (seven straight)
- He is the first goaltender to hold his opponent to two or fewer goals in each of his first seven NHL starts since Frank Brimsek (BOS) did so in his first 12 starts in 1938-39, and is the first to do so in franchise history
- He is the third goaltender in franchise history to post two shutouts in his first six career starts, and the first to do so since the Rangers’ inaugural season, when both Lorne Chabot and Hal Winkler accomplished the feat during the 1926-27 season
- He is only the second Rangers goaltender in the last 40 years to post consecutive shutouts on the road in one season. The other was Steve Valiquette during the 2007-08 season (Jan. 31 and Feb. 9, both in Philadelphia).
The Rangers have posted a 1.99 goals against average since returning from their season-opening five-game west coast road trip, compared to a 5.00 goals against average prior to their Oct. 16 game at Washington. New York currently ranks 15th overall with a 2.54 goals against average this season.
SHUTTING THE DOOR
The Rangers have held opponents to two or fewer goals in 16 of the last 21 games, and 17 of the last 23. New York has allowed 42 goals over the last 21 games (1.99 goals against per game), and 46 goals in the last 23 games (2.00 goals against per game). The Blueshirts are tied for first in the NHL with four shutouts and have held opponents to two or fewer goals in 18 games this season, which is tied for third in the league.
The Rangers rank fourth in the NHL with a 13-2-0 record (.867 win%) when tallying the game's first goal this season. The Blueshirts have opened the game's scoring in five of the last seven contests.
The Rangers are tied for first in the Eastern Conference and third in the NHL with nine road wins this season. The Blueshirts posted a six-game winning streak on the road from Oct. 26 at Detroit to Nov. 23 at Nashville, out-scoring their opponents, 16-8, including two shutouts over the span. The streak ended one win shy of the longest road winning streak in franchise history, and was the longest for the Blueshirts since the 1993-94 season (Oct. 30 - Nov. 24). It is also tied as the longest road winning streak in the league this season. The Rangers posted wins in seven of eight road games from Oct. 26 - Nov. 27, including their six-game road winning streak. The last time the Blueshirts won seven road games in an eight-game span was during the 1993-94 season, when they won eight out of nine games from Oct. 30 - Dec. 4 (8-1-0).
The Rangers have posted victories in both Detroit and Montreal this season, in the midst of their six-game road winning streak on Oct. 26 at Detroit and Nov. 16 at Montreal. The last time the Blueshirts won in both cities in a single season was in 1991-92.
COUNTDOWN TO 6K
The Rangers have played in 5,970 regular season games throughout the franchise's 88 seasons, just 30 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
The Rangers' 3-2 loss on Friday at Boston ended a streak of 101 consecutive regular season games of recording at least one point when leading after the second period (95-0-6 over the span). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Blueshirts’ streak, which began with a 3-1 win on Feb. 6, 2010 against New Jersey, was the longest in the NHL since Washington's 103-game point streak from Feb. 26, 2009 to Jan. 27, 2013.
MILESTONES IN SIGHT
INJURIES (55 Man-Games Lost)
- Nov. 26 – Assigned forward J.T. Miller to Hartford (AHL)