* All information through NHL games on Jan. 8
The Rangers will face-off against the Phoenix Coyotes tomorrow at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.; TV: MSG; Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio), to begin a stretch of four games in six days. The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and rank first in the league overall, with a record of 26-9-4 (56 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-1, on Friday at CONSOL Energy Center to extend their winning streak to four games, and have won nine of their last 10 games. New York has posted a record of 23-6-2 since Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark. The Coyotes enter the contest with a 20-17-5 (45 pts) record to rank 11th in the Western Conference, and have lost six of their last eight games. Following tomorrow’s contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, Jan. 12, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to mark the mid-way point of their regular season schedule.
RANGERS vs. COYOTES:
· All-Time: 37-24-6-0 overall (21-10-2-0 at home; 16-14-4-0 on the road)
· 2011-12: Tonight is the second and final meeting this season, and the first at Madison Square Garden. New York is 1-0-0 overall following a 3-2 win on Dec. 17 at Jobing.com Arena. Marian Gaborik notched two goals and Brad Richards tallied the game-winner with 0.1 second remaining in regulation. Martin Biron made 21 saves.
· Last Season: New York was 1-0-0 overall, having won their only meeting, 4-3, in a shootout on Dec. 16 at MSG. Dan Girardi led the Rangers with two points (one goal, one assist). Derek Stepan and Brandon Prust also tallied one goal apiece, while Erik Christensen notched the game-deciding goal in the shootout. Martin Biron made 30 saves and stopped 3-3 in the shootout.
· New York enters the contest with a two-game winning streak against Phoenix, dating back to a 4-3 shootout victory on Dec. 16, 2010
· The Rangers have won seven of their last nine games against the Coyotes, including four of the last five meetings at MSG
· New York ranks 12th with a 12-3-2 (26 pts) record at home; Phoenix ranks fourth with a 12-9-2 (26 pts) mark on the road
· The Rangers have posted a 3-1-2 record vs. Pacific Division opponents; the Coyotes are 2-3-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
· Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 3-0-0 record with a 2.00 GAA in three career regular season contests vs. Phoenix; Martin Biron is 5-4-0-1 with a 2.38 GAA and one shutout in 11 career regular season games vs. the Coyotes
· Marian Gaborik leads the Rangers with 20 goals and 28 points in 28 career regular season contests vs. Phoenix; Brad Richards has tallied a team-high, 13 assists in 26 career regular season games vs. the Coyotes
· New York lists three former Coyotes on their roster: Brandon Prust (2008-09); Mike Rupp (2003-04 – 2005-06); Wojtek Wolski (2009-10 – 2010-11)
· Phoenix lists four former Rangers on their roster: Lauri Korpikoski (2008-09); Jason LaBarbera (2000-01 – 2003-04); Derek Morris (2008-09); Michal Rozsival (2005-06 – 2010-11)
The Rangers are tied for fifth in the NHL with a plus-seven rating on special teams [(PPG+SHG)-(PPGA+SHGA)]. New York is 13-70 (18.6%) with the man advantage in the last 21 games. The Blueshirts’ penalty kill has held their opponent scoreless in six straight games (16-16, 100.0%), and are 41-45 (91.1%) with five shorthanded goals in the last 15 contests. The Rangers rank third in the NHL with six shorthanded goals. The Blueshirts have posted a record of 15-1-2 in games when tallying a power play goal, and are 18-4-2 when holding their opponent scoreless on the power play.
· Power Play:
The Rangers did not tally a goal in two power play attempts (2:23) on Friday at Pittsburgh. New York ranks 20th overall (22-144, 15.3%) and 11th at home (15-73, 20.6%). The Rangers are 2-12 (8:51) in five-on-three situations (last – 12/23 vs. PHI), and 0-4 (3:46) when four-on-three (last – 11/3 vs. ANA). Shorthanded goals allowed (3): 12/5 vs. TOR (Steckel); 12/8 vs. TBL (Moore); 12/17 at PHX (Korpikoski).
The Blueshirts held the Penguins scoreless in four shorthanded situations (4:31) and notched a shorthanded goal on Friday at Pittsburgh. New York ranks sixth overall (118-136, 86.8%) and sixth at home (48-55, 87.3%). The Rangers are 5-6 (3:26) in three-on-five situations (last – 12/17 at PHX), and 0-1 (1:17) when three-on-four (last – 10/7 at LAK). Shorthanded goals for (6): 10/20 at CGY (Prust); 12/8 vs. TBL (Anisimov); 12/10 at BUF (Hagelin); 12/10 at BUF (Callahan); 12/20 at NJD (Hagelin); 1/6 at PIT (Dubinsky).
New York did not tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (1:37) on Friday at Pittsburgh. The Rangers are plus-four in 40 four-on-four situations (70:59), and even in one three-on-three situation (0:01). Four-on-four goals for (4): 10/18 at VAN (Gaborik); 10/20 at CGY (McDonagh); 10/27 vs. TOR (Girardi); 1/2 vs. FLA (Gaborik). Four-on-four goals allowed (0).
The Rangers completed their sixth of 14 back-to-back sets this season with a 3-1 win on Friday at Pittsburgh. New York has posted a record of 5-0-1 (3-0-0 at home, 2-0-1 on the road) in the first game of the set, and are 5-0-1 (4-0-0 at home, 1-0-1 on the road) in the second game. Since 2009-10, New York is 26-8-3 in the second game of back-to-back sets, with a 13-3-1 mark at MSG and 13-5-2 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 next back-to-back set is Jan. 14-15 at Toronto and Montreal.
PLACE IN HISTORY
The Rangers’ .718 winning percentage (26-9-4) is the team’s fourth best start through 39 games in franchise history, and their best since the 1993-94 Stanley Cup Championship season (27-9-3, .731 win%). *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
The Rangers rank among the league leaders in several statistical categories, including…
· 1st in points (56)
· 1st in win% (.718)
· T-1st in wins (26)
· T-1st in regulation/overtime wins (25)
· 1st in fewest regulation losses (nine)
· 2nd in fewest goals against (79)
· 2nd in GAA (2.03)
· 2nd in hits (1,095)
· T-5th in blocked shots (637)
· 3rd in +/- rating (plus-32)
· 4th in goal differential (plus-34)
· 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 (NYR game #68). *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
· New York has registered at least one point in 25 of their last 31 games (23-6-2), dating back to Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark; The Rangers have out-scored their opponent, 100-64, during the stretch
· The Blueshirts’ 12-3-2 (26 pts) mark at MSG is their best start at home through 17 games since 1995-96 (13-2-2, 28 pts)
· The Rangers have won three straight road games, and are 9-2-0 in their last 11 games away from MSG
· New York is 7-1-1 when leading after the first period and 16-0-2 when leading after the second
· The Rangers are tied for the league lead with a .300 win% when trailing after two periods (3-6-1), and their three third period comeback victories are tied for sixth in the NHL; New York has trailed entering the third period in 10 games this season, the fewest in the league
· New York leads the NHL with an .800 win% when out-shooting their opponent (12-3-0)
· The Rangers lead the league when scoring first, posting an 18-1-1 mark (.900 win%) in those contests; Their 18 wins rank third in the NHL
· Henrik Lundqvist enters the contest with a six-game winning streak, posting a 1.17 GAA, .964 Sv% and one shutout over the span
· Lundqvist has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 20 games this season, and is 16-4-1 with a 1.70 GAA, .944 Sv% and two shutouts since Nov. 3 (21 games)
· Martin Biron has held opponents to two or fewer goals in seven of his 10 starts this season
· Michael Del Zotto has tallied 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) in the last 20 games, including seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last eight contests
· Ryan Callahan enters the contest with a seven-game point streak (two goals, six assists over the span), and has recorded 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in the last 21 games
· Brandon Dubinsky has tallied eight points (four goals, four assists) in the last eight games
· Brad Richards enters the contest with a four-game point streak (three goals, two assists over the span)
· Marian Gaborik has tallied nine points (eight goals, one assist) and a plus-eight rating in the last 10 games
· Anton Stralman has tallied five points (one goal, four assists) in the last eight games, has posted a plus-10 rating in the last nine and has logged 20:00+ of ice time in seven of the last 11 contests
· Head Coach John Tortorella has clinched an All-Star Game berth, becoming the first Rangers Head Coach in franchise history to coach in the All-Star Game
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
· Marian Gaborik: 1 assist from 300th NHL career
· Dan Girardi: 1 assist from 100th NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
· Brandon Dubinsky: 200th career NHL point (1/6 at PIT)
· Wojtek Wolski (groin, 11/3) – 28
· Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) – 15
· Steve Eminger (shoulder, 12/17) – 9
Total Man-Games Lost: 124