New York R     VERSUS     Florida

December 30, 2011 (Game 36, Away Game 20)
BankAtlantic Center – Sunrise, Florida

1st   2nd   3rd   OT   Final
New York Rangers           3       1           0          –         4
Florida Panthers               0       1           0          –         1

Team Notes:

– The Rangers defeated the Florida Panthers, 4-1, tonight at BankAtlantic Center, in their final contest before the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.  The Blueshirts are 8-3-0 in their last 11 contests.

– New York improved to 23-9-4 (50 pts) on the season, including a 12-6-2 mark on the road.  The Rangers’ .694 winning percentage ranks second in the league, while their 23 wins are tied for fourth and their nine regulation losses are tied for the fewest in the NHL.

– With the win, the Blueshirts reclaimed first place in the Eastern Conference standings, and moved into a three-way tie with Chicago and Vancouver for first place in the NHL overall.  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 took an early lead with an even strength goal just 35 seconds into the contest, and opened up a four-goal lead through the game’s opening 27:41.

– The Rangers, who are now 2-1-0 vs. the Panthers this season, have won seven of their last 10 games against the Panthers, having out-scored Florida 28-14 over the span.

– New York has registered a point in 22 of their last 28 games (20-6-2), and has out-scored their opponent, 91-59, during the stretch.

– The Rangers held the Panthers scoreless in four shorthanded situations (6:08), and have now held their opponent scoreless in nine of their last 12 games (34-38, 89.5% over the span) while tallying four shorthanded goals during the stretch.  New York has not yielded a power play goal in each of their last three games (9-9, 100.0%).  The Rangers improved to 15-4-2 in games when holding their opponent scoreless on the power play.

– The Blueshirts improved to 18-1-1 (.900 win%) when scoring first, which ranks second in the league.  Their 18 wins when scoring first also rank second in the league.

– The Rangers are now 7-1-1 when leading after the first period, and 15-0-2 when leading after two.

– New York was credited with 36 total hits and 18 blocked shots in the contest, led by Dan Girardi‘s team-high, five hits, and Stu Bickel‘s game-high, four blocked shots.  Bickel (four) was also one of seven Blueshirts, along with Girardi, Michael Del Zotto (three), Brian Boyle (four), Ruslan Fedotenko (four), Anton Stralman (three), and John Mitchell (three) who were credited with three or more hits.  The Rangers now rank third in the NHL with 960 hits and fourth with 578 blocked shots on the season.

Player Notes:

– Brad Richards notched the game-winning goal, added an assist and posted a plus-three rating to earn first star honors.  The two-point effort was his sixth multi-point performance of the season, and snapped a five-game scoring drought.  Richards is now tied for second on the team in scoring with 28 points.

Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to extend his winning streak to four games, and improve to 16-7-4 overall with an 8-4-2 mark on the road.  Lundqvist has allowed only four goals during his current four-game winning streak, posting a 1.00 goals against average with a .967 save percentage and one shutout over the span.  He has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 18 games this season, and is now tied for fifth in the NHL in wins (16), and ranks fourth in the league in goals against average (1.91) and save percentage (.937).

– Carl Hagelin tallied the game’s opening goal at 0:35 of the first period, added an assist and posted a plus-three rating.  He has registered four points (three goals, one assist) in the last three games, and four goals in the last six contests.

Ryan McDonagh recorded two assists, was credited with two hits and two blocked shots, and logged 23:06 of ice time.  He now ranks second among team defensemen in assists (12) and scoring with 16 points.

– Michael Del Zotto notched a goal, was credited with three hits, posted a plus-two rating and led the team with a season-high, 28:11 of ice time.  He is now tied for fifth on the team overall in scoring with 22 points, and is tied for the NHL lead with a plus-25 rating on the season.

– Brandon Dubinsky registered a goal in 17:02 of ice time, and has now tallied five points (three goals, two assists) in the last five games.  He is three points shy of 200 career NHL points.

– Ryan Callahan tallied an assist to extend his point streak to four games (one goal, four assists over the span), and has recorded 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in the last 18 games.  He also posted a plus-three rating and led all forwards with 24:04 of ice time in the contest.

– Jeff Woywitka recorded the lone assist on Richards’ game-winning goal and was credited with two blocked shots.  It was his second game back after missing the previous four contests due to injury.

– Derek Stepan tied his season-high and led all skaters with six shots on goal.

Team Schedule:

– The Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Monday, January 2, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia (1:00 p.m.).  The game will be televised live on NBC.

– After an off-day tomorrow, the Blueshirts’ next practice is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 1, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


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