WRESTLEMANIA PREVIEW SPARKS RANGERS TO VICTORY

New York Rangers     VERSUS     New Jersey

NEW YORK RANGERS POST-GAME NOTES
March 19, 2012 (Game 72, Home Game 36)
Madison Square GardenNew York, NY

Team Notes:

  • The Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils, 4-2, tonight at Madison Square Garden to improve to 3-2-0 on their current seven-game homestand.
  • New York has posted a record of 45-20-7 (97 pts.) overall, including a 25-9-2 mark at home.

  • With tonight’s win, the Rangers became the first Eastern Conference team, and second in the league overall, to clinch a playoff spot.  This is the earliest the Blueshirts have clinched a playoff berth since the 1993-94 season, when New York clinched on March 8 (through game #68) following a Philadelphia defeat to Vancouver.
  • 13 of the last 17 meetings between the Rangers and Devils have been decided by two goals or less.
  • The Rangers improved to 20-8-3 overall (11-4-1 at home; 9-4-2 on the road) against the Devils since 2007-08, dating back to a 2-0 win on Oct. 25, 2007. Henrik Lundqvist is 20-8-2 with a 1.96 GAA, .929 Sv% and six shutouts in 30 games over the span.
  • The Blueshirts notched one power play goal in three attempts (4:24), and are now 4-18 (22.2%) with the man advantage on their current homestand.  New York also held New Jersey scoreless in three shorthanded situations (6:00), and are now 28-31 (90.3%) on the penalty kill in the last 10 games.  The Rangers improved to 21-1-4 in games when tallying a power play goal, and are 30-11-3 when not allowing a power play goal.
  • New York increased their lead over Pittsburgh to three points atop the Eastern Conference standings, and pulled to within three points of St. Louis for first in the league overall.

Player Notes:

  • Brandon Dubinsky notched the game’s opening goal at 1:11 of the first period, added an assist, five hits and tied for the game-high with four shots on goal in 17:57.  The Rangers improved to 16-2-3 when he records a point, including a 7-0-0 mark when he registers two or more points.
  • Ryan Callahan tallied two assists, including one on the power play, was credited with five hits and a game-high, three blocked shots, and logged 21:18 of ice time to earn first star honors.  His power play assist at 7:33 of the second period was his 50th point of the season, marking the first time he has reached that mark.  He has now recorded 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in his last 15 games, including five points (three goals, two assists) in his last seven games.
  • Henrik Lundqvist made 20 saves to improve to 33-15-5 overall, including a 19-7-2 mark at home this season.  Lundqvist has now faced-off against Martin Brodeur in 34 career regular season games, posting a record of 23-6-5 with a 1.73 GAA, .935 Sv% and five shutouts over the span.
  • Derek Stepan notched one goal, added an assist and posted a plus-two rating in 18:32 of ice time.  He has now tallied six points (two goals, four assists) in six games against New Jersey this season.
  • Mats Zuccarello tallied the game-winning goal, on the power play, registered three shots and was credited with three hits to capture third star honors in the contest.  He has recorded three points (two goals, one assist) in five games since being recalled from Connecticut (AHL) on Mar. 11.
  • Carl Hagelin registered two assists and logged 14:20 of ice time in the contest.  He has now tallied 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in the last 13 games, including seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last four games.  Hagelin completed the season series against New Jersey with team-highs in points (eight), assists (six) and plus/minus rating (plus-five), and tied for the team-high in goals (two) in six games.
  • Dan Girardi notched one goal and logged a team-high, 23:02 of ice time.  He has now tallied five points (one goal, four assists) in the last nine games, including three points (one goal, two assists) in the last four games.
  • Brad Richards recorded one power play assist, was credited with three hits and won 9-16 face-offs (56%).  He has now tallied 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in the last 13 games, including 11 points (five goals, six assists) in the last seven games.
  • Brian Boyle led all skaters with six hits, registered two blocked shots and won a game-high, 13-18 face-offs (72%) in 16:48 of ice time.

Post-Game Quotes:

John Tortorella on the stretch run…

“I just want us to continue to play and continue to try to improve as a hockey club, and try to be playing our best hockey when we go into that last week.  I think these last couple weeks are very important. We still have a lot of things to work on.”

Henrik Lundqvist on tonight’s game…

“I think it’s easier to look at your game and see what needs to be corrected and needs to be improved more than just look at wins and losses.  Now in the last couple of weeks the coaching staff has been doing a good job at pointing out things that we need to improve, so that’s the biggest difference.  You don’t always have to talk about winning.  It’s about improving our game and getting to where we want to be when the playoffs start.”

Brandon Dubinsky on clinching a playoff spot…

“It’s definitely a foreign feeling, I guess.  It’s not coming down the last day.  We’ve worked really hard all year for this opportunity.  I think we said from the get go the playoffs weren’t our goal.  We want home ice advantage.  We want to get in a good spot and put ourselves in a good position going into the playoffs, and more importantly we want to try to be playing our best hockey going in. We’ve got ten games down the stretch to fine tune things and make sure we’re ready for that.  It’s exciting and each and every guy in here contributed.”

Team Schedule:

  • The Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, Mar. 21, at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.), in an Original Six match-up.  The game will be televised live on NBC Sports Network and can be heard on Bloomberg Radio.
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