RANGERS WANT TO GROUND LIGHTNING

clip_image002NY RANGERS at TB LIGHTNING
Saturday, Dec. 3, 7:00 p.m.
St. Pete Times ForumTampa, Florida
Rangers: 14-5-3 (31 pts)
Lightning: 11-11-2 (24 pts)

* All information through NHL games on Dec. 1

TOMORROW’S GAME:
The Rangers will face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow at St. Pete Times Forum (7:00 p.m.), to conclude a two-game Southeast road trip. The Blueshirts currently rank second in the Atlantic Division standings, and fourth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 14-5-3 (31 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-3, on Thursday at RBC Center to extend their winning streak to four games, and have won 11 of their last 13 contests. The Lightning enter the contest with an 11-11-2 (24 pts) record to rank 12th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost their last two games. Following tomorrow’s contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, Dec. 5, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in an Original Six matchup.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

· TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Lightning
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)

· Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Lightning
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)

RANGERS vs. LIGHTNING:

· All-Time: 37-29-5-5 overall (21-13-2-3 at home; 16-16-3-2 on the road)

· 2011-12: Tonight is the first of four meetings this season, and the first of two at St. Pete Times Forum. New York and Tampa Bay will face-off again in five days on Thursday, Dec. 8, at Madison Square Garden.

· Last Season: New York was 0-2-2 overall, including a 0-1-1 mark on the road. Each of the four contests were decided by two goals or less, including three that were separated by one goal and two that required extra time. The Blueshirts notched two shorthanded goals in the series, from Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust. Derek Stepan led the Rangers with two goals and three points in the season series, while Boyle tallied a team-high, two assists and three points. Henrik Lundqvist posted a record of 0-2-2 with a 2.97 GAA and .891 Sv% in four games.

· The Rangers are 7-3-2 in their last 12 games against the Lightning

· Henrik Lundqvist has started each of the last 24 games against Tampa Bay, dating back to Nov. 10, 2005

· Marian Gaborik enters the contest with a three-game point streak at Tampa Bay (one goal, two assists over the span)

· New York ranks fifth with a 7-4-2 (16 pts) record on the road; Tampa Bay ranks 13th with a 7-3-0 (14 pts) mark at home

· The Rangers have posted a 5-1-0 record vs. Southeast Division opponents; the Lightning are 3-2-0 vs. the Atlantic Division

· Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 13-7-4 record with a 2.11 GAA and two shutouts in 24 career regular season games vs. Tampa Bay; Martin Biron is 10-7-2-0 with a 2.66 GAA in 19 career regular season games vs. the Lightning

· Marian Gaborik leads the Rangers with 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 11 career regular season games vs. Tampa Bay; Ruslan Fedotenko is tied for the team-high with seven goals in 20 career regular season games vs. the Lightning, and Steve Eminger is tied for the team-high with six assists in 26 career regular season games vs. Tampa Bay

· New York lists three former Lightning on their roster: Steve Eminger (2008-09); Ruslan Fedotenko (2002-03 – 2006-07); Brad Richards (2000-01 – 2007-08)

· Tampa Bay lists three former Rangers on their roster: Matt Gilroy (2009-10 – 2010-11); Adam Hall (2006-07); Dominic Moore (2003-04 – 2005-06)

SPECIAL TEAMS:

· Power Play: The Rangers tallied one goal in four power play opportunities (6:42) on Thursday at Carolina, and have tallied a power play goal in each of their last four games (5-17, 29.4% over the span). New York ranks 20th overall (14-91, 15.4%) and 28th on the road (5-49, 10.2%). The Rangers are 1-9 (7:17) in five-on-three situations (last – 11/29 vs. PIT), and 0-4 (3:46) when four-on-three (last – 11/3 vs. ANA). Shorthanded goals allowed (0).

· Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Hurricanes scoreless in one shorthanded situation (2:00) on Thursday at Carolina. New York is tied for ninth overall (73-86, 84.9%) and ranks 14th on the road (49-59, 83.0%). The Rangers are 2-3 (1:16) in three-on-five situations (last – 11/05 vs. MTL), and 0-1 (1:17) when three-on-four (last – 10/7 at LAK). Shorthanded goals for (1): 10/20 at CGY (Prust).

· Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation on Thursday at Carolina. The Rangers are plus-three in 28 four-on-four situations (49:13), and even in one three-on-three situation (0:01). Four-on-four goals for (3): 10/18 at VAN (Gaborik); 10/20 at CGY (McDonagh); 10/27 vs. TOR (Girardi). Four-on-four goals allowed (0).

BACK-TO-BACKS
The Rangers are scheduled to play 14 back-to-back sets this season. New York has posted a record of 2-0-1 (1-0-0 at home, 1-0-1 on the road) in the first game of the set, and are 2-0-1 (2-0-0 at home, 0-0-1 on the road) in the second game. Since 2009-10, New York is 23-8-3 in the second game of back-to-back sets, with an 11-3-1 mark at MSG and 12-5-2 on the road over the span. Henrik Lundqvist has started on consecutive days 56 times in his career, posting a record of 35-14-7 with a 1.82 GAA, .935 Sv% and six shutouts in the second game. The Rangers fourth back-to-back set will be on Dec. 22-23 vs. the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers, with both games at MSG.

BALANCED ATTACK
The Rangers had 14 of 18 skaters tally at least one point, including five of six defensemen, in a 5-3 win at Carolina on Thursday. New York’s defense corp combined for two goals and three assists in the contest. The last time the Rangers had at least 14 different skaters with a point was Apr. 9, 2011 vs. New Jersey (5-2 win), and the last time five or more Blueshirt defensemen tallied a point was Mar. 15, 2011 vs. the New York Islanders (6-3 win).

FAMILIAR FORUM
Tonight’s contest marks the first return visit to the St. Pete Times Forum for Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella, and forwards Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko, as teammates since they won the 2004 Stanley Cup Championship as members of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tortorella guided the Lightning to a franchise record 46 wins and 106 points that season to win the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach. Richards led the league with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 23 playoff contests to capture the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP, and Fedotenko tallied both Lightning goals in their 2-1 Cup-clinching victory over Calgary in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

THE PUCK STOPS HERE
The Blueshirts lead the league in fewest goals against, allowing 47 goals through 22 games, and rank third with a 2.14 GAA. Henrik Lundqvist is 10-4-3 with a 2.10 GAA, .933 Sv% and two shutouts, while Martin Biron is 4-1-0 with a 1.94 GAA, .930 Sv% and one shutout. Rangers goaltenders are tied for first in the league with a combined .931 Sv%, while Lundqvist is tied for seventh in the NHL in Sv%, ninth in wins, 10th in GAA and sixth in shutouts.

CHILD’S PLAY
Carl Hagelin tallied an assist and three shots on goal in a 5-3 win at Carolina on Thursday to extend his point streak to four games (one goal, three assists) to begin his career, following his recall from Connecticut (AHL) on Nov. 24. Hagelin is the first Rangers rookie to begin his career with a four-game point streak since Steven King recorded a point in four consecutive games to begin his career in 1992-93.

NEW FACES
New York has seen nine new faces in their lineup during the 2011-12 season – T. Erixon* (10/7 at LAK), B. Richards (10/7 at LAK, one assist), M. Rupp (10/7 at LAK), J. Woywitka (10/15 at NYI), B. Bell (10/22 at EDM), A. Deveaux (10/31 vs. SJS), A. Stralman (11/23 at FLA), C. Hagelin* (11/25 at WSH, one assist), and J. Mitchell (11/25 at WSH, one assist).  *NHL debut

COUNTDOWN TO 2,500 WINS
The Rangers are currently two wins shy of 2,500 wins, having won 2,498 games all-time in franchise history.

QUICK HITS:

· The Blueshirts’ 31 points through 22 games (14-5-3) is their most since they recorded 32 points in 22 games (15-5-2) to begin the 1993-94 Stanley Cup Championship season

· The Rangers have the fewest regulation losses (five) in the NHL

· New York has out-scored their opponent, 45-26, in their last 13 games (11-2-0), including a 17-9 advantage during their current four-game winning streak

· The Blueshirts have tallied a power play goal in four straight contests (5-17, 29.4% over the span)

· New York is 4-1-0 when leading after the first period and 9-0-1 when leading after the second, including a 5-0-0 mark when leading after two on the road

· The Blueshirts are the only team in the NHL who are undefeated when out-shooting their opponents, posting a 7-0-0 mark in those contests

· The Rangers are 7-0-0 all-time in games when Brandon Prust is assessed a fighting major in the opening two minutes

· The Blueshirts are 11-1-0 when scoring first, tying for third in the NHL in wins and ranking second with a .917 win% in those games

· Henrik Lundqvist posted a record of 8-1-0 with a 1.88 GAA, .937 Sv% and one shutout in November

· Brad Richards enters the contest with a four-game point streak (three goals, four assists over the span)

· Marian Gaborik has tallied 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in the last 15 games, with six points (three goals, three assists) in the last five

· Ryan Callahan has tallied 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in the last 14 games, with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in the last eight

· Michael Del Zotto enters the contest with a three-game assist streak (three assists over the span)

· Ryan McDonagh has tallied four points (one goal, three assists) in the last five games

· Brian Boyle has tallied three points (one goal, two assists) in the last four games, and has posted a plus or even rating in 12 straight (plus-eight)

· John Mitchell has tallied three points (one goal, two assists) in the last four games

· Rangers’ prospect Christian Thomas is one of 41 players invited to participate in Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp (Dec. 10-14) for the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship

MILESTONES IN SIGHT:

· Erik Christensen: 7 assists from 100th NHL career

· Steve Eminger: 8 points from 100th NHL career

· Marian Gaborik: 3 assists from 300th NHL career; 5 goals from 300th NHL career

· Dan Girardi: 4 assists from 100th NHL career

· Brad Richards: 6 games from 800th NHL career

· Michael Sauer: 4 games from 100th NHL career

· Wojtek Wolski: 1 game from 400th NHL career; 9 goals from 100th NHL career

MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:

· Carl Hagelin: 1st career NHL game; 1st career NHL assist/point (11/25 at WSH)

· Carl Hagelin: 1st career NHL goal (11/26 vs. PHI)

INJURIES:         

· Marc Staal (concussion, IR on 10/5) – 22

· Mike Rupp (knee, 10/24) – 15

· Wojtek Wolski (groin, 11/3) – 11

Total Man-Games Lost: 57

RECENT TRANSACTIONS:

· Dec. 1 – Assigned forward Andre Deveaux to Connecticut (AHL)

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