New York Rangers     VERSUS      New York I

December 26, 2011 (Game 34, Home Game 16)
Madison Square GardenNew York, New York

                                                        1st   2nd   3rd   OT   Final
New York Islanders               0      0        0       –      0
New York Rangers                 0      1         2       –      3

Team Notes:

– The Rangers defeated the New York Islanders, 3-0, tonight at Madison Square Garden to extend their winning streak to five games, and move into first place in the Eastern Conference standings.

– New York improved to 22-8-4 (48 pts) on the season, including an 11-3-2 mark at home.

– The Blueshirts are currently tied for first overall in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks, who are hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight.

– The Rangers’ eight regulation losses are the fewest in the league, and New York ranks second in the NHL with a .706 winning percentage.  Their 22 wins are also tied for second in the NHL.

– This is the latest the Rangers have been in first place of the Eastern Conference standings since the 1995-96 season, when New York held the top position through games played on Mar. 15, 1996 (game #68). *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau

– The Rangers have registered at least one point in 21 of their last 26 games (19-5-2), and have out-scored their opponent, 86-54, during the stretch.  The Blueshirts are 7-2-0 in their last nine contests.

– The Rangers improved to 17-1-1 (.921 win%) in games when scoring first.  Their .921 win% ranks second in the NHL, while their 17 wins are tied for first in the league.

– New York leads the NHL with an .846 win% when out-shooting their opponent (11-2-0).

– The Blueshirts were credited with 19 blocked shots in the contest, with 14 of 18 skaters recording at least one blocked shot, and now rank fifth in the league with 542 blocked shots on the season.

– The Rangers held the Islanders scoreless in three shorthanded situations (4:45), and have now held their opponent scoreless in seven of their last 10 games (28-32, 87.5% over the span) while tallying four shorthanded goals during the stretch.  The Blueshirts improved to 14-3-2 when holding their opponent scoreless on the power play.

Player Notes:

Henrik Lundqvist turned aside all 28 shots faced to post his third shutout of the season, 38th of his career, and improve to 15-7-4 overall with an 8-3-2 mark at home.  He has now held opponents to two or fewer goals in 17 games this season, including six of the last seven, and is 13-4-1 with a 1.77 goals against average, .941 save percentage and two shutouts in his last 18 games.

– Carl Hagelin notched two goals, tied for the game-high with five shots on goal and posted a plus-two rating in 13:21 of ice time.  He has notched three goals in the last four games, and ranks 10th among NHL rookies with six goals despite only appearing in 16 games this season.

Michael Del Zotto tallied two assists to extend his point streak to three games (one goal, four assists over the span), and posted a plus-three rating in 21:25 of ice time to earn third star honors in the contest.  He has tallied 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) in the last 15 games, and is currently tied for second in the NHL (first among defensemen) with a plus-25 rating on the season.

– Ryan Callahan recorded two assists, was credited with three hits and posted a plus-two rating.  He has tallied 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in the last 16 games, and is now tied for second on the team in scoring with 26 points.

Marian Gaborik notched an empty net goal with 2:28 remaining in regulation to extend his goal scoring streak to five games, having registered seven goals, one assist and a plus-eight rating over the span.  Gaborik currently leads all NHL skaters with 22 goals on the season.

– Anton Stralman tallied the lone assist on Gaborik’s empty net goal, was credited with a team-high, six hits and posted a plus-three rating in 22:34 of ice time.  Stralman has now recorded an assist in three consecutive games (four assists over the span), posted a plus-nine rating in the last four and has logged 20:00+ minutes of ice time in five of the last six contests.

Post-Game Quotes:

– John Tortorella on tonight’s game…
“Hank made some really good saves tonight, but for some periods of the game we turned the puck over and didn’t do our job getting the puck out, we defended hard too.  We blocked a lot of shots and everyone is contributing there.  I think we have done a pretty good job of not relying always on our goalie.  I think our team is better and getting better that way, but it is certainly nice to have a guy like [Henrik Lundqvist] and Marty Biron.”

– Henrik Lundqvist on tonight’s game…
“What’s good about this team, especially this year, is we expect a lot from each other in the room here. It doesn’t matter if you won two in a row or four in a row. We come back with the same effort, and that’s what we need if we want to be a top team.  That’s where it starts. It was tough today coming back with two days off.  I think the first half we were trying to get [ourselves] going and after that the speed clicked up a little bit and the intensity picked up.”

– Michael Del Zotto on his play this season…
“That’s one thing I worked on in the offseason – just being mentally ready and working on the mental side of the game.  I know what I can do on the ice and what type of player I am.  It’s just a matter of believing in myself and making sure my confidence stays there every day.”

– Carl Hagelin on his two goals…
“I think we played pretty good today.  Maybe not the best first period but then in the second we created some chances, and in the third we had a good run.  We’re getting better each day.  Both of those goals were just me kind of coasting towards the net while the other guys were doing a good job.  I came in late and found the puck.”

Team Schedule:
– The Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, December 28, at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m.), to begin a two-game Southeast road trip.  The game will be televised live on Versus and can be heard on 1050 ESPN Radio.


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