RANGERS HOPE TO STRIKE LIGHNING TWICE

clip_image002NY RANGERS vs. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Thursday, Dec. 8, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square GardenNew York, NY
Rangers: 15-6-3 (33 pts)
Lightning: 11-14-2 (24 pts)

* All information through NHL games on Dec. 6

TOMORROW’S GAME:
The Rangers will face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in the first of three games in four days. The Blueshirts currently rank second in the Atlantic Division standings, and fourth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 15-6-3 (33 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-2, on Monday at Madison Square Garden, to end their five-game winning streak. New York is now 12-3-0 in their last 15 contests. The Lightning enter the contest with an 11-14-2 (24 pts) record to rank 13th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost their last five games. Following tomorrow’s contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, Dec. 10, at First Niagara Center (7:00 p.m.), to begin a back-to-back set.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

· TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig
7:00 p.m. – Rangers vs. 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 vs. Lightning
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)

RANGERS vs. LIGHTNING:

· All-Time: 38-29-5-5 overall (21-13-2-3 at home; 17-16-3-2 on the road)

· 2011-12: Tonight is the second of four meetings this season, and the first of two at Madison Square Garden. New York is 1-0-0 following a 4-2 win five days ago on Dec. 3 at St. Pete Times Forum. The Rangers erased a 2-1 deficit with three goals in the third period for their first win of the season when trailing after two. Artem Anisimov, Brad Richards and Derek Stepan each recorded one goal and one assist, and Ryan McDonagh tallied two assists in the contest. Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves.

· Last Season: New York was 0-2-2 overall, including a 0-1-1 mark at home. 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 8-3-2 in their last 13 games against the Lightning

· Henrik Lundqvist has started each of the last 25 games against Tampa Bay, dating back to Nov. 10, 2005

· New York ranks 14th with a 7-2-1 (15 pts) record at home; Tampa Bay ranks 25th with a 4-10-2 (10 pts) mark on the road

· The Rangers have posted a 6-1-0 record vs. Southeast Division opponents; the Lightning are 3-4-0 vs. the Atlantic Division

· Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 14-7-4 record with a 2.10 GAA and two shutouts in 25 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 12 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 five power play opportunities (7:41) on Monday vs. Toronto, and are 6-24 (25.0%) in their last six games. New York ranks 20th overall (15-98, 15.3%) and is tied for sixth at home (10-47, 21.3%). The Rangers are 2-10 (7:37) in five-on-three situations (last – 12/05 vs. TOR), and 0-4 (3:46) when four-on-three (last – 11/3 vs. ANA). Shorthanded goals allowed (1): 12/5 vs. TOR (Steckel).

· Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Maple Leafs in four shorthanded situations (5:32) on Monday at MSG. New York is tied for 10th overall (77-91, 84.6%) and ranks sixth at home (27-31, 87.1%). 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 tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (0:41) on Monday vs. Toronto. The Rangers are plus-three in 29 four-on-four situations (49:54), 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. 10-11 against the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers.

FAMILIAR FORUM
The Rangers’ 4-2 win at Tampa Bay on Saturday marked the first return visit to the St. Pete Times Forum for Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella, and forwards Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko, as members of the same organization since they won the 2004 Stanley Cup Championship as members of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Fedotenko notched the Blueshirts’ first goal of the contest, and Richards registered two points (one goal, one assist) to record his first win in Tampa as a member of an opposing team. In 2003-04, Tortorella guided the Lightning to a franchise record 46 wins and 106 points 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 that season, and Fedotenko tallied both Lightning goals in their 2-1 Cup-clinching victory over Calgary in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

CHASING STANLEY
The Blueshirts’ 33 points through 24 games (15-6-3) is their most since they recorded 34 points in 24 games (16-6-2) to begin the 1993-94 Stanley Cup Championship season. In addition, the Rangers’ 7-2-1 record through 10 games at MSG is equal to the 1993-94 team’s start at home.

COUNTDOWN TO 2,500 WINS
The Rangers are currently one win shy of 2,500 wins, having won 2,499 games all-time in franchise history.

QUICK HITS:

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

· New York has out-scored their opponent, 51-32, in their last 15 games (12-3-0)

· The Blueshirts are 6-24 (25.0%) on the power play in their last six contests, and have posted a record of 10-1-1 in games when tallying a power play goal

· New York is 4-1-0 when leading after the first period and 9-0-1 when leading after the second (4-0-1 mark when leading after two at home)

· The Blueshirts lead the league with an .889 win% when out-shooting their opponent (8-1-0)

· 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 own the best record in the NHL when scoring first, posting an 11-1-0 mark (.917 win%) in those contests, and their 11 wins is tied for fourth in the league

· Henrik Lundqvist is 9-2-0 with a 1.99 GAA, .932 Sv% and one shutout in his last 11 games

· Brad Richards enters the contest with a six-game point streak (four goals, six assists over the span), and has tallied 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in the last 16 games

· Derek Stepan enters the contest with a three-game assist/point streak (one goal, three assists over the span), and has tallied 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in the last 16 contests

· Artem Anisimov enters the contest with a three-game point streak (two goals, two assists over the span), and has tallied 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in the last 13 games

· Marian Gaborik has tallied 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in the last 17 games, with five points (three goals, two assists) in the last four

· Ryan Callahan has tallied 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in the last 16 games, with seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last six

· Michael Del Zotto has tallied four assists in the last five games

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

· Ruslan Fedotenko has tallied four points (three goals, one assist) in the last six games

· Rangers’ prospects Christian Thomas (Canada) and J.T. Miller (USA) have been invited to participate in their respective National Junior Team’s selection camp for the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship

MILESTONES IN SIGHT:

· Marian Gaborik: 3 assists from 300th NHL career; 4 goals from 300th NHL career

· Dan Girardi: 4 assists from 100th NHL career

· Brad Richards: 4 games from 800th NHL career

· Michael Sauer: 2 games from 100th NHL career

INJURIES:         

· Marc Staal (concussion, IR on 10/5) – 24

· Mike Rupp (knee, 10/24) – 17

· Wojtek Wolski (groin, 11/3) – 13

Total Man-Games Lost: 63

RECENT TRANSACTIONS:

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

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