PENGUINS PUT THEIR HOPE IN CROSBY AT MSG

New York RangersNY RANGERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Thursday, Mar. 15, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square GardenNew York, NY
Rangers: 44-18-7 (95 pts.)
Penguins: 42-21-5 (89 pts.)

* All information through NHL games on Mar. 13

TONIGHT’S GAME:

  • The Rangers will face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.; TV: MSG Network; Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio), in an Atlantic Division match-up. The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and rank second in the league overall, with a record of 44-18-7 (95 pts.). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-2, on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden for their sixth consecutive home win, and are now 15-6-3 in their last 24 games. The Penguins enter the contest with a 42-21-5 (89 pts.) record to rank fourth in the Eastern Conference, and have won their last nine games. Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, Mar. 17, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in the fourth game of their seven-game homestand.

RANGERS vs. PENGUINS:

  • All-Time: 117-99-23-8 overall (65-47-9-3 at home; 52-52-14-5 on the road)
  • 2011-12: Tonight is the fifth of six meetings this season, and the third and final at Madison Square Garden. New York is 2-2-0 overall (1-1-0 at home; 1-1-0 on the road) following a 2-0 loss on Feb. 21 at CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers have out-scored the Penguins, 6-3, in second periods. Brad Richards leads the team in scoring with two goals and four points, while Henrik Lundqvist is 2-2-0 with a 2.28 GAA and .931 sv%.
  • Last Season: New York was 4-1-1 overall (1-1-1 at home; 3-0-0 on the road). The Rangers power play was 7-22 (31.8%) in the season series, while the penalty kill was 20-22 (90.9%). New York out-scored Pittsburgh, 21-15, including a 10-4 margin in the third period and overtime. Ryan Callahan led the Rangers with five goals, nine points, four power play goals and three game-winning goals in six games, while Brandon Dubinsky tallied a team-high, six assists in the season series. Henrik Lundqvist was 4-1-1 with a 2.29 GAA and .926 sv%.
  • The Rangers have registered at least one point in nine of their last 12 games against the Penguins (7-3-2 over the span), and have won four of their last six meetings
  • New York ranks fifth with a 24-7-2 (50 pts.) record at home; Pittsburgh ranks eighth with an 18-13-3 (39 pts.) mark on the road
  • The Rangers are 13-5-2 vs. the Atlantic Division; the Penguins are 8-7-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
  • New York lists two former Penguins on their roster: Ruslan Fedotenko (2008-09 – 2009-10); Mike Rupp (2009-10 – 2010-11)
  • Pittsburgh lists one former Ranger on their roster: Pascal Dupuis (2006-07)

INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. PENGUINS:

  • Henrik Lundqvist — 42 GP, 22-15-5, 2.40 GAA, 2 SO
  • Martin Biron — 33 GP, 13-15-3-2, 2.98 GAA, 2 SO
  • Brad Richards — 31 GP, 8-24-32
  • Marian Gaborik — 22 GP, 9-11-20
  • Brandon Dubinsky — 30 GP, 7-12-19
  • Dan Girardi — 34 GP, 1-10-11

SPECIAL TEAMS:

The Rangers penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in five of the last seven games (20-22, 90.9%), and are 25-28 (89.3%) in the last nine contests. The Rangers are tied for sixth in the NHL with seven shorthanded goals. The Blueshirts have posted a record of 20-1-4 in games when tallying a power play goal, and are 29-10-3 when not allowing a power play goal.

  • Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in three power play attempts (4:52) on Tuesday vs. Carolina. New York ranks 28th overall (34-233, 14.6%) and 22nd at home (19-122, 15.6%). The Rangers are 3-15 (11:31) in five-on-three situations (last – 3/13 vs. CAR), and 2-9 (12:08) when four-on-three (last – 3/11 vs. NYI). Shorthanded goals allowed (3): 12/5 vs. TOR (Steckel); 12/8 vs. TBL (Moore); 12/17 at PHX (Korpikoski).
  • Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Hurricanes in four shorthanded situations (6:09) on Tuesday at MSG. New York is tied for fifth overall (192-222, 86.5%) and sixth at home (84-99, 84.8%). The Rangers are 8-9 (4:34) in three-on-five situations (last – 2/16 vs. CHI), and 2-3 (2:24) when three-on-four (last – 2/16 vs. CHI). Shorthanded goals for (7): 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); 2/12 vs. WSH (Prust).
  • Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (1:01) on Tuesday vs. Carolina. The Rangers are plus-six in 75 four-on-four situations (133:49), and even in two three-on-three situations (0:38). Four-on-four goals for (9): 10/18 at VAN (Gaborik); 10/20 at CGY (McDonagh); 10/27 vs. TOR (Girardi); 1/2 vs. FLA (Gaborik); 2/9 vs. TBL (Stepan); 2/9 vs. TBL (Richards); 2/14 at BOS (Anisimov); 2/19 vs. CBJ (Stepan), 2/25 vs. BUF (Callahan). Four-on-four goals allowed (3): 2/9 vs. TBL (Lecavalier); 2/25 vs. BUF (Stafford); 3/2 at TBL (Malone).

HOMESTAND NOTES:

  • New York is 2-0-0 on their current seven-game homestand
  • Henrik Lundqvist is 1-0-0 with a 2.77 GAA; Martin Biron is 1-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA
  • Brad Richards leads the team in scoring with four goals and six points
  • Marian Gaborik has tallied a team-high, three assists, along with two goals
  • The seven-game homestand is tied as the longest in franchise history, and is their longest since 2001-02
  • The Blueshirts’ previous seven-game homestands were in 1969-70 (4-0-3-0), 1972-73 (4-3-0-0), 1977-78 (3-3-1-0), and 2001-02 (3-2-1-1)
  • The Rangers are one of five teams with a homestand of seven or more games on their 2011-12 regular season schedule (Winnipeg – 8, Colorado – 8, Tampa Bay – 7, Vancouver – 7)

HOME SWEET HOME:

  • The Blueshirts’ 24-7-2 (50 pts.) mark at MSG is their best record at home through 33 games since 1993-94 (23-6-4, 50 pts.).

FAMILIAR FOE:

  • The Rangers are 13-5-2 against Atlantic Division opponents this season, including a nine-game winning streak from Nov. 15 –Jan. 6. New York has out-scored their opponent, 57-43, in divisional play.

SIBLING RIVALRY:

  • Rangers’ defenseman Marc Staal has faced off against his younger brother, Pittsburgh forward Jordan Staal, 24 times in his career, amassing an 11-11-2 record with eight points (two goals, six assists) and 26 penalty minutes. Jordan has registered a 13-6-5 mark with 13 points (six goals, seven assists) and 24 penalty minutes.

PLACE IN HISTORY:

  • The Rangers’ .688 win% is the team’s best record through 69 games in 39 years, when the 1972-73 Blueshirts began the season with a 44-18-7 record (.688 win%), and is tied as the third best mark in franchise history. The Rangers reached the 40-win mark in 61 games, which is tied as the second fastest to 40-wins in franchise history.

MEASURING UP:

The Rangers rank among the NHL leaders in several statistical categories…

  • 2nd in points (95)
  • 2nd in win% (.688)
  • T-2nd in wins (44)
  • T-1st in regulation/overtime wins (41)
  • T-1st in fewest regulation losses (18)
  • 2nd in fewest goals against (145)
  • T-2nd in GAA (2.10)
  • 1st in hits (2,047)
  • 4th in blocked shots (1,128)
  • 4th in +/- rating (plus-40)
  • 6th in goal differential (plus-42)

QUICK HITS:

  • 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 46 of their last 61 games (41-15-5), dating back to Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark
  • New York is 17-2-3 when leading after the first period and 27-0-3 when leading after the second
  • The Rangers rank second in the league with a .278 win% when trailing after two periods (5-12-1); The Blueshirts are tied for ninth in the NHL with five third period comeback wins, and have trailed entering the third in only 18 games this season (second fewest in the NHL)
  • New York leads the NHL with a .727 win% when out-shooting their opponent (24-8-1)
  • The Rangers lead the league when scoring first, posting a 31-3-3 mark (.838 win%) in those contests; Their 31 wins are tied for second in the NHL

THE HOT LIST:

  • Brad Richards — four-game point streak (five goals, three assists over the span); 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in the last 18 games; 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in the last 10 games
  • Marian Gaborik — three-game assist/point streak (two goals, four assists over the span); 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in the last 27 games; 11 points (five goals, six assists) in the last eight games
  • Carl Hagelin — 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in the last 14 games; 10 points (four goals, six assists) in the last 10 games
  • Dan Girardi — three assists in the last six games
  • John Mitchell — two assists in the last three games
  • Derek Stepan — six points (two goals, four assists) in the last eight games
  • Anton Stralman — four assists in his last six games

INJURIES:

  • Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) — 45
  • Michael Del Zotto (injured, 3/8) — 3
  • Ryan Callahan (injured, 3/9) — 2
  • Henrik Lundqvist (flu, 3/13) — 1

Total Man-Games Lost: 199

RECENT TRANSACTIONS:

  • Mar. 11 — Recalled forward Mats Zuccarello from Connecticut (AHL)
  • Mar. 13 — Recalled goaltender Chad Johnson from Connecticut (AHL) on an emergency basis; Returned to Connecticut later in the day
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