The New York Rangers took care of one glaring issue their last game, they got a win. Tonight the Rangers will try to take care of another: Scoring a power play goal. With that said, let's look at the keys to tonight's matchup with the Calgary Flames.
Convert On The Power Play: Teams that don't score on the power play have a much more difficult time winning games. Not just because they're missing out on prime opportunities to score goals, but it allows other teams to take liberties against them without the fear of paying for it. The Rangers have shown a few flashes of brilliance on the power play, but there haven't been any goals. That needs to change tonight.
The Tim Erixon Factor: The Calgary Flames have done a good job blasting Erixon as he walked out the door. Today, they've decided to take the high road and not make any comments about their once top-prospect. But what was said after the trade doesn't just disappear because the organization doesn't feel like talking now. I'm expecting big things from Erixon tonight. he's grown as a player from game one, now it's time for him to pot his first points of his budding NHL career.
Join me after the jump for more.
Limit the Penalties: How many times have we focused on this before a game? The Rangers have to stop taking bad penalties. New York took three in the offensive zone against Vancouver, something that earned Brandon Prust a seat on the bench for a period of time, and gave the Canucks chance after chance to get on the board. That has to end tonight. The Flames might not be as dangerous offensively as the Canucks were, but they have players who can put the puck into the back of the net too. Make sure guys like Jerome Iginla don't get more chances then they are already going to be able to create.
60 Minutes Means 60 Minutes: The Rangers finally put it all together Tuesday. The only problem, was it took them 40 minutes to do it. New York showed how dangerous of a team it can be in the big win over Vancouver, now it's just a matter of playing that kind of hockey for a full 60 minutes tonight.
The official New York Rangers pre-game notes are below.
The Rangers will face-off against the Calgary Flames tomorrow, Oct. 20, at Scotiabank Saddledome (9:30 p.m.), in the second game of their four-game road trip through Western Canada. The Blueshirts enter the contest having defeated the Vancouver Canucks, 4-0, on Tuesday at Rogers Arena for their first win of the season, and are now 1-1-2 (4 pts) through four games. The win was New York's first in Vancouver since Oct. 11, 1997 (6-3). The Flames enter the contest with a 2-3-0 (4 pts) record, having defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 2-1, on Tuesday at home. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, Oct. 22, at Rexall Place (10:00 p.m.), before closing out their four-game Western Canada road trip against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, Oct. 24, at MTS Centre (8:30 p.m.).
RANGERS PRACTICE SCHEDULE:
Prior to tomorrow's contest, the Blueshirts' morning skate is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. MT at Scotiabank Saddledome.
* Schedule and availability subject to change
- TV: MSG Network
9:00 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
9:30 p.m. - Rangers at Flames
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
· Radio: Bloomberg Radio and newyorkrangers.com
9:00 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show
9:30 p.m. - Rangers at Flames
Broadcasters: Joe Tolleson (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. FLAMES:
· All-Time: 38-53-15-0 overall (26-24-5-0 at home; 12-29-10-0 on the road)
· 2011-12: Tonight marks the first and only meeting this season.
· Last Season: New York was 1-0-0 overall, having won their only meeting, 2-1, on Nov. 22 at Madison Square Garden. Martin Biron made 31 saves in net and Dan Girardi tallied two points (one goal, one assist), including the game-winning goal.
· New York ranks 10th with a 1-1-2 (4 pts) record on the road; Calgary is tied for 17th with a 1-1-0 (2 pts) mark at home
· The Rangers have posted a 1-0-0 record vs. Northwest Division opponents; the Flames are 0-1-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
· Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 1-2-0 record with a 3.02 GAA in three career regular season contests vs. Calgary; Martin Biron is 4-3-0-0 with a 2.23 GAA in eight career regular season games vs. the Flames
· Marian Gaborik leads the Rangers with 13 goals, 22 assists and 35 points in 42 career regular season contests vs. Calgary;Brad Richards has tallied 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 16 games vs. the Flames, and Wojtek Wolski has recorded 17 assists and 24 points in 29 games against Calgary
· New York lists one former Flame on their roster: Brandon Prust (2006-07 - 2009-10)
· Calgary lists one former Ranger on their roster: Olli Jokinen (2009-10)
- Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in four power play opportunities (4:29) on Tuesday at Vancouver, and are now 0-16 through four games. The Rangers are 0-1 (0:08) in five-on-three situations (last - 10/8 at ANA), and 0-1 (0:40) when four-on-three (last - 10/8 at ANA). Shorthanded goals allowed (0).
- Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Canucks scoreless in eight shorthanded situations (12:29) on Tuesday at Vancouver. New York ranks seventh overall (24-27, 88.9%) and 10th on the road (24-27, 88.9%). The Rangers are 2-2 (0:44) in three-on-five situations (last - 10/15 at NYI), and 0-1 (1:17) when three-on-four (last - 10/7 at LAK). Shorthanded goals for (0).
- Four-on-Four: New York tallied one goal in three four-on-four situations (3:31) on Tuesday at Vancouver, and are now plus-one in 10 four-on-four situations (15:25). Four-on-four goals for (1): 10/18 at VAN (Gaborik). Four-on-four goals allowed (0).
The Rangers' seven-game road trip to begin the 2011-12 regular season is the longest to open a season in franchise history. The previous team record is five games away from Madison Square Garden to begin the season, in 1952-53 and 1953-54. The Blueshirts will open their home schedule on Oct. 27 vs. Toronto, their latest home opener since they opened the 1948-49 season on Oct. 27, 1948 (excluding the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season).
The Rangers completed their first of 14 back-to-back sets this season with a 2-1 shootout loss against the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 8 at Ericsson Globe Arena. New York has posted a record of 0-0-1 (0-0-0 at home, 0-0-1 on the road) in the first game of the set, and are 0-0-1 (0-0-0 at home, 0-0-1 on the road) in the second game. Since 2009-10, New York is 21-8-3 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including a 9-3-1 mark at MSG and 12-5-2 on the road over the span. The Rangers' next back-to-back set is Nov. 5-6 vs. Montreal and Winnipeg, both games to be played at Madison Square Garden.
PUT ME IN, COACH
Henrik Lundqvist turned aside all 40 shots faced in a 4-0 shutout on Tuesday at Vancouver, while making his 30th consecutive regular season start dating back to Feb. 11, 2011 at Atlanta. He has posted a record of 16-11-3 with a 2.22 goals against average, a .925 save percentage and five shutouts over the span. Including playoffs, Lundqvist has started each of the Rangers last 35 games.
Defenseman Dan Girardi enters tonight's contest leading the NHL in average ice time, logging 29:21 per contest. He has logged 30:00+ of ice time in two of the Rangers' four games this season, including a season-high 31:25 of ice time on Oct. 8 against Anaheim in Stockholm, Sweden.
A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION
Brad Richards has registered a point in each of his first four games as a Ranger to begin the season, and currently leads the team in scoring with four points. He enters tonight's contest with a four-game scoring streak, tallying one goal and three assists over the span. In addition, Richards has also won 28 of 44 faceoff attempts to rank fourth in the NHL with a 63.6% faceoff winning percentage.
O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!
Ryan Callahan notched the Rangers' first goal of the season at 15:22 of the first period on Oct. 7 against the Kings, while making his debut as the team's captain. He also led all skaters with a career-high, 11 shots and led all team forwards with 20:30 of ice time. Callahan's 11 shots established a Rangers record for most shots in a season opener, and were the most by an NHL player in a season-opening game since Pavel Bure on Oct. 3, 1997 vs. Anaheim (11 shots). The last Ranger to register at least 11 shots in a game was Brendan Shanahan on Apr. 4, 2008 vs. the Islanders (12 shots).
The Rangers had three players make their Rangers debut in the team's season opener on Oct. 7 against the Kings - Tim Erixon (NHL debut), Brad Richards (one assist) and Mike Rupp. In addition, defenseman Jeff Woywitka made his Rangers debut on Saturday at Long Island.
Forwards Brandon Prust and Mike Rupp both reached NHL milestones on Saturday at Long Island. Prust skated in his 200th career NHL game, while Rupp made his 500th career NHL appearance. Prust has registered 47 points (20 goals, 27 assists) and 461 penalty minutes with the Rangers, Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes. The five-year NHL veteran has tallied 15% of his career points while shorthanded (five goals, two assists). Rupp has recorded 89 points (49 goals, 40 assists) and 661 penalty minutes in nine seasons with the Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins.
· The Rangers have posted a record of 282-271-93 all-time in the month of October, including a 176-117-48 mark at home and a 106-154-45 record on the road. New York (1-1-2) is scheduled to play 10 games during the season's opening month in 2011-12, with three games being contested at MSG and seven scheduled on the road.
· Legendary Rangers' defenseman Brian Leetch holds the franchise record for most points in the month of October, having registered 43 goals and 130 assists for 173 career points in the season's opening month.
· The Blueshirts' all-time leader for most career wins in the month of October is Mike Richter, who registered 40 career wins during the season's opening month. Henrik Lundqvist has recorded 34 career wins during the month of October.
· New York has posted two, seven-game winning streaks in the month of October, winning seven consecutive games during the season's opening month in 2009-10 (Oct. 3 vs. Ottawa to Oct. 17 at Toronto) and 1988-89 (Oct. 16 vs. Vancouver to Oct. 30 vs. Pittsburgh).
COUNTDOWN TO 2,500 WINS
The Rangers are currently 15 wins shy of 2,500 wins, having won 2,485 games all-time in franchise history.
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
· Brian Boyle: 7 games from 200th NHL career
· Steve Eminger: 9 points from 100th NHL career
· Brad Richards: 1 assist from 500th NHL career
· Wojtek Wolski: 6 games from 400th NHL career; 9 goals from 100th NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
· Tim Erixon: 1st career NHL game (10/7 at LAK)
· Brandon Prust: 200th career NHL game (10/15 at NYI)
· Mike Rupp: 500th career NHL game (10/15 at NYI)
· Marc Staal (concussion, IR on 10/5) - 4
· Wojtek Wolski (groin, 10/7) - 3
· Michael Sauer (shoulder, 10/8) - 2
Total Man-Games Lost: 9
· Oct. 15 - Recalled forward Kris Newbury from Connecticut (AHL)
· Oct. 15 - Assigned forward Mats Zuccarello to Connecticut (AHL)
· Oct. 16 - Recalled defenseman Brendan Bell from Connecticut (AHL)