– The Rangers defeated the New York Islanders, 4-2, tonight at Madison Square Garden to extend their winning streak to three games, and are 5-2-0 in their last seven contests.
– New York improved to 20-8-4 (44 pts) on the season, including a 9-3-2 mark at home.
– The Rangers’ eight regulation losses are tied for the fewest in the league.
– Last season, the Blueshirts recorded their 20th win in game number 34 with a 4-3 shootout victory vs. Phoenix on Dec. 16.
– The Rangers have registered at least one point in 19 of their last 24 games (17-5-2), and have out-scored their opponent, 79-52, during the stretch.
– Tonight’s contest kicked off the Rangers‘ fifth of 14 scheduled back-to-back sets this season. New York is now 4-0-1 in the first game of the set, including a 2-0-0 mark when the game is played at Madison Square Garden.
– The Rangers improved to 15-1-1 (.882 win%) in games when scoring first. Their .882 win% ranks second in the NHL, while their 15 wins rank fourth in the league.
– Martin Biron made 24 saves to improve to 7-1-0 overall, including a 3-0-0 mark at home. He has won each of his last four games, posting a 2.00 goals against average and .929 save percentage over the span. Biron, who has held opponents to two or fewer goals in six of his eight starts this season, also recorded an assist in the contest and he is now tied for second among NHL goalies with two assists on the season.
– Michael Del Zotto notched the game-winning goal and posted a plus-three rating to earn first star honors. He has now tallied 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in the last 13 games, and leads the team with a plus-20 rating on the season.
– Brandon Dubinsky tallied the game’s opening goal at 14:53 of the first period and added an assist in 16:53 of ice time. Dubinsky also posted a plus-two rating and was credited with four hits in the contest. The Rangers improved to 8-1-2 in games when he records a point.
– Anton Stralman recorded two assists, was credited with two hits and two blocked shots, and posted a plus-three rating in a season-high, 22:20 of ice time. He has now posted a plus-five rating in the last two games, and has logged 20:00+ minutes of ice time in three of the last four contests.
– Marian Gaborik notched a goal, his 20th of the season, to extend his goal/point streak to three games (five goals, one assist over the span). The 11-year veteran has now reached the 20-goal mark eight times, including in each of the last three seasons. Gaborik is currently tied for the NHL lead in goals scored this season.
– John Mitchell registered an empty net goal with 1:33 remaining in regulation and posted a plus-two rating in the contest.
– Artem Anisimov tallied the lone assist on Gaborik’s second period goal and registered two shots on goal in 16:34 of ice time to earn third star honors. He has recorded 10 points (five goals, five assists) in the last 10 games, including three points (one goal, two assists) in the last two games.
– Stu Bickel and Brandon Prust each registered an assist in the contest. Bickel recorded the primary assist on Dubinsky’s first period goal, and has now registered an assist in consecutive games following his recall from Connecticut (AHL) on Sunday. Prust registered the primary assist on Del Zotto’s game-winning goal.
– John Tortorella on playing three games in four days…
“We win a game our first day, we have a good practice the second day, we win a game our third day, so we are pretty happy about the capsule that we’ve put ourselves in. And now we have one more. No disrespect to the Islanders, but I know our players are looking to that Philadelphia game. I don’t think we got ahead of ourselves. I don’t think we were great tonight, but I don’t think we got ahead of ourselves. Day three, I thought we did our job for day three and now we look forward to tomorrow.”
– Dan Girardi on playing three games in four nights…
“We’re two games into it and we have two wins. Our goal is to win all three games and tomorrow night is going to be a huge game with the Winter Classic build up going on. It’s just another hockey game, but it’s against a really good team and it’s going to be a battle.”
– Martin Biron on Rangers’ goaltending this season…
“Obviously you feel a sense of pride just producing for the team and being part of a great tandem with Hank (Henrik Lundqvist). That’s pride right there to know that I’m giving him something and he’s responding the other way. It’s great for this team to see that we’re in the top defensively and as goalies it’s an accomplishment.”
– The Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow, December 23, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to complete a back-to-back home set. The game will be televised live on MSG Network and can be heard on 1050 ESPN Radio.
– Prior to tomorrow’s contest, the Rangers optional morning skate is scheduled for 10:20 a.m. at Madison Square Garden. Head Coach John Tortorella will be available to the media at 11:30 a.m.