Rangers Vs. Panthers: Keys To The Game

The New York Rangers lost for the first time in the month of November when they were on the wrong side of a 4-0 decision against the Montreal Canadiens. Tonight, the Rangers will face off against a Florida Panthers team that came back from a 3-0 third period deficite to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 in regulation. 

Note: These aren't last year's Panthers. 

The Snowball Effect: Brad Richards told Jim Cerny that the Rangers needed to nip the loss to the Canadiens in the bud and not let it grow. A loss to the Panthers tonight will give the Rangers a two-game losing streak entering Washington tomorrow to take on the Capitals. Not exactly ideal. But if the Rangers can beat Florida they go into Washington with momentum, which is exactly what a team needs to beat the Capitals.

Join me after the jump for more keys and the official New York Rangers pre-game notes.  

Shake The Rust Off: The Rangers came out sluggish against the Canadiens, something many people attributed to the three days off after the New York Islanders game. Well, the Rangers had three days off since the loss to Montreal. New York saw first hand what happens when you go behind early, and it can't happen again tonight. The Panthers are too good of a team to play around with. Get on the board early and take care of business. 

All Hail The King: Marin Biron had his first poor outing of the season in the loss to the Canadiens. Tonight Henrik Lundqvist will assuredly be starting, and should be an upgrade over the Biron that played against Montreal. But that doesn't mean the Rangers can just take it easy and lack their defensive responsibilities. The Rangers need to be ready for a tough test tonight. 

Rangers pre-game notes below. 

NEW YORK RANGERS at FLORIDA PANTHERS
Wednesday, Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m.
BankAtlantic Center - Sunrise, Florida
Rangers: 10-4-3 (23 pts)
Panthers: 11-6-3 (25 pts)


* All information through NHL games on Nov. 21

TOMORROW'S GAME:
The Rangers will face-off against the Florida Panthers tomorrow at BankAtlantic Center (7:30 p.m.), in their first of three games in four days. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 10-4-3 (23 pts). The Rangers enter tomorrow's contest having been defeated by the Montreal Canadiens, 4-0, on Saturday at Bell Centre to end their seven-game winning streak. The Panthers enter the contest with a 11-6-3 (25 pts) record to rank second in the Eastern Conference, and have won five of their last seven games. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Washington Capitals on Friday, Nov. 25, at Verizon Center (4:00 p.m.), to close out their four-game road trip.

RANGERS PRACTICE SCHEDULE:
Please note there is no morning skate scheduled prior to tomorrow's contest.  Head Coach John Tortorella will be available to the media at 5:20 p.m. at BankAtlantic Center.
* Schedule and availability subject to change

BROADCAST INFORMATION:
* TV: MSG Network
7:00 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Mike Keenan
7:30 p.m. - Rangers at Panthers
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
* Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
7:00 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:30 p.m. - Rangers at Panthers
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)

RANGERS vs. PANTHERS:
* All-Time: 38-25-6-4 overall (19-13-4-0 at home; 19-12-2-4 on the road)
* 2011-12: Tonight is the first of four meetings this season, and the first of two at BankAtlantic Center.
* Last Season: New York was 2-2-0 overall, with a 1-1-0 mark on the road. Three of their four meetings resulted in a shutout, including two for the Rangers. New York's power play tallied two goals in nine attempts (22.2%) in the season series. Brandon Prust and Derek Stepan each notched a team-high, two goals, while Henrik Lundqvist posted a record of 2-1-0 with a 1.35 goals against average, a .949 save percentage and two shutouts in three appearances.
* The Rangers have won five of their last seven games against the Panthers, having out-scored Florida 17-10 over the span
* New York is tied for ninth with a 5-3-2 (12 pts) record on the road; Florida is tied for 20th with a 4-2-3 (11 pts) mark at home
* The Rangers have posted a 3-0-0 record vs. Southeast Division opponents; the Panthers are 4-2-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 12-6-1 record with a 1.80 GAA and five shutouts in 19 career regular season games vs. Florida; Martin Biron is 7-12-1-0 with a 2.68 GAA in 21 career regular season games vs. the Panthers
* Brad Richards leads the Rangers with 14 goals, 26 assists and 40 points in 46 career regular season games vs. Florida; Erik Christensen has tallied 10 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 16 career regular season contests vs. the Panthers
* New York lists one former Panther on their roster: Steve Eminger (2008-09)
* Florida lists one former Ranger on their roster: Mikael Samuelsson (2001-02 - 2002-03)

SPECIAL TEAMS:
* Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in three power play opportunities (6:00) on Saturday at Montreal. New York is tied for 28th overall (9-70, 12.9%) and ranks 29th on the road (3-36, 8.3%). The Rangers are 1-6 (5:15) in five-on-three situations (last – 11/15 at NYI), and 0-4 (3:46) when four-on-three (last – 11/3 vs. ANA). Shorthanded goals allowed (0).
* Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered two goals to the Canadiens in six shorthanded situations (9:49) on Saturday at Montreal. New York ranks 10th overall (61-71, 85.9%) and 14th on the road (42-50, 84.0%). The Rangers are 2-3 (1:16) in three-on-five situations (last – 11/05 vs. MTL), and 0-1 (1:17) when three-on-four (last – 10/7 at LAK). Shorthanded goals for (1): 10/20 at CGY (Prust).
* Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation on Saturday at Montreal. The Rangers are plus-three in 25 four-on-four situations (43:42), and even in one three-on-three situation (0:01). Four-on-four goals for (3): 10/18 at VAN (Gaborik); 10/20 at CGY (McDonagh); 10/27 vs. TOR (Girardi). Four-on-four goals allowed (0).

STREAK RECAP:
* The Rangers posted a seven-game winning streak from Oct. 31 vs. San Jose to Nov. 15 at Long Island
* It was the Blueshirts' first seven-game winning streak since the 2009-10 season (Oct. 3 – Oct. 17). The franchise record longest winning streak is 10 games, established in 1972-73 (Jan. 19 – Feb. 10).
* New York out-scored their opponents, 27-11, during the streak
* The Rangers' penalty kill was 18 of 20 (90.0%) in the seven games
* The Blueshirts registered at least one point in 11 of 13 games from Oct. 18 at Vancouver to Nov. 15 at Long Island (10-2-1 over the span), including in eight consecutive games beginning on Oct. 29 vs. Ottawa (7-0-1 over the span). The last time New York registered an eight-game point streak was when they tallied at least one point in 13 consecutive games from Feb. 9, 2008 to Mar. 10, 2008.
* The Rangers tallied the game's first goal in six of the seven games
* In 425:00 of game action, the Rangers led for 250:28 (58.9%) and were tied for 173:50 (40.9%). New York only trailed for 0:42 (0.2%) during the streak.
* Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron posted a combined 7-0-0 record, along with a 1.55 GAA, a .946 Sv% and one shutout during the streak. Lundqvist was 5-0-0 with a 1.77 GAA and a .941 Sv%, while Biron was 2-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA, a .959 Sv% and one shutout over the span.
* Ryan Callahan (five goals, three assists) and Derek Stepan (three goals, five assists) tied for the team lead with eight points apiece during the seven-game winning streak. Callahan's five goals were also a team high during the stretch.
* Brandon Dubinsky (one goal, six assists) and Artem Anisimov (one goal, six assists) tied for the team-high with six assists each, while Marian Gaborik tallied seven points (four goals, three assists) during the streak.

BACK-TO-BACKS
The Rangers concluded their second of 14 back-to-back sets this season with a 3-0 win vs. Winnipeg on Nov. 6 at Madison Square Garden. New York has posted a record of 1-0-1 (1-0-0 at home, 0-0-1 on the road) in the first game of the set, and are 1-0-1 (1-0-0 at home, 0-0-1 on the road) in the second game. Since 2009-10, New York is 22-8-3 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including a 10-3-1 mark at MSG and 12-5-2 on the road over the span. The Rangers' next back-to-back set begins on Nov. 25 at Washington and concludes on Nov. 26 vs. Philadelphia.

JOINING THE RUSH
New York defensemen have accounted for 21.7% of the team's scoring, fifth-best in the league, tallying a combined 10 goals through 16 games to begin the season, ranking eighth in the NHL. Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh are tied for first among Rangers defensemen and 14th among NHL blueliners with three goals.

COUNTDOWN TO 2,500 WINS
The Rangers are currently six wins shy of 2,500 wins, having won 2,494 games all-time in franchise history.

QUICK HITS:
* The Rangers currently have the fewest regulation losses (four) in the NHL
* The Blueshirts lead the league in fewest total goals allowed (36) and rank third in goals against average (2.12)
* Henrik Lundqvist is 5-0-0 with a 1.77 GAA and a .941 Sv% in his last five games
* Marian Gaborik has tallied 11 points (five goals, six assists) in the last 10 games
* Ryan Callahan has tallied nine points (six goals, three assists) in the last nine games, including four points (two goals, two assists) in the last three contests
* Derek Stepan has recorded nine points (three goals, six assists) and a plus-seven rating in the last nine games
* Artem Anisimov has tallied six assists and a plus-four rating in the last six games
* Brad Richards has recorded eight points (five goals, three assists) in the last nine games
* Brandon Dubinsky has tallied seven points (one goal, six assists) in the last eight games, including four points (one goal, three assists) in the last three contests
* Dan Girardi has recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last 11 games
* Ryan McDonagh has posted a plus-eight rating in the last six games

MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
* Erik Christensen: 7 assists from 100th NHL career
* Steve Eminger: 8 points from 100th NHL career
* Marian Gaborik: 6 assists from 300th NHL career; 8 goals from 300th NHL career
* Dan Girardi: 8 assists from 100th NHL career
* Derek Stepan: 1 game from 100th NHL career
* Wojtek Wolski: 1 game from 400th NHL career; 9 goals from 100th NHL career

MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
* Ryan Callahan: 300th NHL game (11/15 at NYI)

INJURIES:
* Marc Staal (concussion, IR on 10/5) - 17
* Mike Rupp (knee, 10/24) - 10
* Wojtek Wolski (groin, 11/3) - 6
Total Man-Games Lost: 42

RECENT TRANSACTIONS:
* None    

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