Rangers Vs. Maple Leafs: Keys To The Game

After a rough 3-0 home loss to the Ottawa Senators, the Rangers look to bounce back tonight in Toronto vs. the Maple Leafs.

The Maple Leafs boast all-stars Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, and Dion Pheanuf, but are only in seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Here's how the Rangers can beat them:

Score on the Powerplay- As usual, this is my best advice. I'm sick of seeing the Rangers powerplay look absolutely awful, and it came back to haunt them in their last loss. A powerplay goal can go a long way.

Forget the Past- The Rangers lost their last couple of bouts with the Maple Leafs, as well as losing back to back home openers to the men in blue. The Rangers can look for revenge, or just play this game like a regular winning game.

Get the Puck to Gaborik- I'll make a bold prediction! If Marian Gaborik does not score tonight, the Rangers will not win. The Rangers need more supplementary scoring, but until that comes around Gaborik is the go to guy.

Follow me after the jump for the game notes.

NEW YORK RANGERS at TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Saturday, Jan. 14, 7:00 p.m.
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, ON
Rangers: 27-10-4 (58 pts)
Maple Leafs: 22-15-5 (49 pts)

* All information through NHL games on Jan. 12

TOMORROW'S GAME:
The Rangers will face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow at Air Canada Centre (7:00 p.m.; TV: MSG 2; Radio: AM 1600), to begin a back-to-back weekend set against Original Six opponents. The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and rank second in the league overall, with a record of 27-10-4 (58 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Ottawa Senators, 3-0, on Thursday at Madison Square Garden to end their five-game winning streak, and are now 10-2-0 in their last 12 games. New York has posted a record of 24-7-2 since Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark. The Maple Leafs enter their contest tonight in Buffalo with a 22-15-5 (49 pts) record to rank seventh in the Eastern Conference, and have won four straight games. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, Jan. 15, at Bell Centre (7:00 p.m.), to conclude their back-to-back weekend set against Original Six opponents.

RANGERS PRACTICE SCHEDULE:
Prior to tomorrow’s contest, the Rangers’ morning skate is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Air Canada Centre. Head Coach John Tortorella will be available to the media at 11:45 a.m.
* Schedule and availability subject to change

RANGERS vs. MAPLE LEAFS:

· All-Time: 218-272-95-6 overall (127-111-56-3 at home; 91-161-39-3 on the road)

· 2011-12: Tonight is the third of four meetings this season, and the first of two at Air Canada Centre. New York is 0-2-0 following a 4-2 loss on Dec. 5 at MSG. Artem Anisimov, Michael Del Zotto and Marian Gaborik are tied for the team lead with one goal and one assist apiece in the season series. Henrik Lundqvist has started both contests, and is 0-2-0 with a 3.59 GAA.

· Last Season: New York was 3-0-1 overall, including a 2-0-0 mark on the road. The Rangers out-scored Toronto, 14-5, in the season series, including a 7-0 win on Jan. 19 at MSG, in which Marian Gaborik posted a five-point performance (four goals, one assist). Artem Anisimov tied Gaborik for the team lead with five points (one goal, four assists) in the series, and Brian Boyle tied for the team-high with four goals in four games. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-0-1 with a 1.31 GAA, .958 Sv% and two shutouts in three games, while Martin Biron was 1-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and .960 Sv% in one game.

· New York ranks third with a 14-6-2 (30 pts) record on the road; Toronto ranks 13th with a 12-5-4 (28 pts) mark at home

· The Rangers have posted a 3-4-1 record vs. Northeast Division opponents; the Maple Leafs are 5-1-1 vs. the Atlantic Division

· Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 9-6-4 record with a 2.65 GAA and two shutouts in 19 career regular season contests vs. Toronto; Martin Biron is 13-11-2-3 with a 2.69 GAA and one shutout in 31 career regular season games vs. the Maple Leafs

· Brad Richards leads the Rangers with 16 goals, 15 assists and 31 points in 32 career regular season contests vs. Toronto; Marian Gaborik has tallied 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 13 career regular season games vs. the Maple Leafs

· New York lists two former Maple Leafs on their roster: John Mitchell (2008-09 - 2010-11); Anton Stralman (2007-08 - 2008-09)

· Toronto lists no former Rangers on their roster

SPECIAL TEAMS:
The Rangers are tied for seventh in the NHL with a plus-six rating on special teams [(PPG+SHG)-(PPGA+SHGA)]. New York is 13-75 (17.3%) with the man advantage in the last 23 games. The Blueshirts penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in seven of the last eight games (17-18, 94.4% over the span), and is 42-47 (89.4%) with five shorthanded goals in the last 17 contests. The Rangers are tied for 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 19-4-2 when not allowing a power play goal.

· Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in four power play attempts (6:48) on Thursday vs. Ottawa. New York ranks 22nd overall (22-149, 14.8%) and 28th on the road (7-71, 9.9%). 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).

· Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Senators in two power play attempts (2:56) on Thursday at MSG. New York ranks sixth overall (119-138, 86.2%) and sixth on the road (70-81, 86.4%). 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).

· Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation on Thursday vs. Ottawa. The Rangers are plus-four in 42 four-on-four situations (77:59), 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).

BACK TO BACKS
The Rangers will begin their seventh of 14 back-to-back sets this season tonight at Toronto. 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 will conclude their weekend back-to-back set against Original Six opponents tomorrow at Montreal.

ORIGINAL SIX SINCE 2005-06
New York has posted a record of 47-28-12 (106 pts) against Original Six opponents since the 2005-06 season, including a 14-8-4 mark vs. Toronto over the span. The Rangers' .609 win% ranks second, trailing Detroit (.687, 43-18-6) and ahead of Montreal (.602, 71-45-12), Boston (.519, 59-54-19), Toronto (.512, 56-53-18) and Chicago (.493, 29-30-10).

PLACE IN HISTORY
The Rangers’ .707 win% is the team’s best start through 41 games in 40 years, when the 1971-72 Blueshirts began the season with a 28-6-7 record (.768 win%), and is the third best start in franchise history.

ROAD WARRIORS
The Rangers enter the contest with a three-game winning streak on the road, having out-scored their opponent, 10-4, during the stretch, and are 9-2-0 in their last 11 games away from MSG.

WINNING HABIT
New York has posted four winning streaks of five games or longer this season, which is the most in the league, and marks the first time in franchise history the Rangers have done so through the team’s opening 41 games.

MEASURING UP
The Rangers rank among the league leaders in several statistical categories, including...

· 2nd in points (58)

· 2nd in win% (.707)

· T-3rd in wins (27)

· T-3rd in regulation/overtime wins (25)

· 1st in fewest regulation losses (10)

· 2nd in fewest goals against (83)

· T-2nd in GAA (2.02)

· 2nd in hits (1,171)

· 5th in blocked shots (669)

· T-3rd in +/- rating (plus-30)

· 4th in goal differential (plus-32)

ALL-STARS
Three Rangers were selected to participate in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game - Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik and Dan Girardi. It is the first time since the 1996-97 season the Rangers had three players selected for the All-Star Game (Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch). Head Coach John Tortorella also clinched an All-Star berth, becoming the first Rangers coach in franchise history to coach in the All-Star Game.

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 26 of their last 33 games (24-7-2), dating back to Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark; The Rangers have out-scored their opponent, 102-68, during the stretch

· The Rangers have won six of their last eight games at MSG

· The Blueshirts’ 13-4-2 (28 pts) mark at MSG is their best start at home through 19 games since 1995-96 (14-2-3, 31 pts)

· New York is 7-1-1 when leading after the first period and 16-0-2 when leading after the second

· The Rangers rank third in the league with a .273 win% when trailing after two periods (3-7-1), and their three third period comeback victories are tied for sixth in the NHL; New York has trailed entering the third period in 11 games this season, the fewest in the league

· New York leads the NHL with a .765 win% when out-shooting their opponent (13-4-0)

· The Rangers lead the league when scoring first, posting a 19-1-1 mark (.905 win%) in those contests; Their 19 wins are tied for second in the NHL

INDIVIDUAL NOTES:

· Henrik Lundqvist posted a career-high, seven-game winning streak (1.13 GAA, .962 Sv% and one shutout over the span) from Dec. 20 - Jan. 10

· Lundqvist has allowed one goal or less in seven of his last 11 games, and has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 21 games this season

· 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 22 games

· Ryan Callahan has tallied 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in the last 23 games, with eight points (two goals, six assists) in the last nine

· Brandon Dubinsky has tallied eight points (four goals, four assists) in his last nine games

· Brad Richards has tallied five points (three goals, two assists) in the last six games

· Carl Hagelin has tallied five points (three goals, two assists) in the last eight games

MILESTONES IN SIGHT:

· Marian Gaborik: 1 assist from 300th NHL career

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