Rangers Vs. Bruins: Keys To The Game

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: Carl Hagelin #62 celebrates his goal with teammates against Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during their game on January 19, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins will finally meet tonight. The two powerhouses of the Eastern Conference haven't met all season to this point, but that ends this afternoon.

The Rangers are looking to break out of a three losses in five games slump, and if New York means to get it against the Bruins they're going to have to earn it. Here's how they can do that.

Battle Of The Goalies: Henrik Lundqvist and Tim Thomas will surely have a competitive edge tonight as the two face off for the first time this season. We've talked about how Lundqvist generally steps up in big games, and today's game will be another testament to that ideology. The Rangers will need Lundqvist to stand tall, especially since the Bruins' offense is as formidable as any in the league.

Join me after the jump for more.

Get The Power Play Going: The Rangers' power play hasn't been good. Alright, it's been awful. The Rangers need to start converting on the power play. Big, tough teams like Boston won't mind taking liberties if they know the Rangers can't capitalize on the power play. New York hasn't been good with the man advantage, and they need to get better. No better time to start than today.

Keep The Defense Even: This is more of a John Tortorella key to the game than anything else. Tortorella has done a good job making sure that no defenseman is over used. This is even more important with the return of Marc Staal, who has grown since his return this season. Thus far Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh are still carrying the load, but Staal is coming on strong and should be the No. 1 guy sooner rather than later.

Rangers' official pregame notes below.

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. BOSTON BRUINS
Saturday, Jan. 21, 1:00 p.m.
TD Garden - Boston, MA
Rangers: 29-12-4 (62 pts)
Bruins: 30-13-1 (61 pts)

* All information through NHL games on Jan. 19

TOMORROW'S GAME:
The Rangers will face-off against the Boston Bruins tomorrow at TD Garden (1:00 p.m.; TV: MSG; Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio), in an Original Six matinee match-up. The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and rank second in the league overall, with a record of 29-12-4 (62 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-1, on Thursday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 12-4-0 in their last 16 games. New York has posted a record of 26-9-2 since Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark. The Bruins enter the contest with a 30-13-1 (61 pts) record to rank second in the Eastern Conference, and have won six of their last seven home games. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in their final game before the NHL All-Star break.

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 10:50 a.m. at TD Garden.
* Schedule and availability subject to change

RANGERS vs. BRUINS:

  • All-Time: 244-281-97-2 overall (141-118-55-0 at home; 103-163-42-2 on the road)
  • 2011-12: Tonight is the first of four meetings this season, and the first of two at TD Garden.
  • Last Season: New York was 3-1-0 overall (1-1-0 at home; 2-0-0 on the road). Three of their four meetings were decided by one goal. The Rangers penalty kill was 10-11 (90.9%) in the season series. New York out-scored Boston, 11-8, including a 4-1 margin in the third period. Derek Stepan (two goals, two assists) and Michael Sauer (one goal, three assists) tied for the team-high with four points in the season series. Henrik Lundqvist was 3-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA, .929 Sv% and one shutout in four contests.
  • The Rangers have won six of their last eight meetings with the Bruins, including three of their last four at Boston
  • Henrik Lundqvist has started in 20 consecutive games against Boston, dating back to Jan. 13, 2007
  • Brandon Dubinsky has tallied eight points (three goals, five assists) in the last eight games against Boston
  • New York ranks third with a 15-7-2 (32 pts) record on the road; Boston ranks fifth with a 16-7-1 (33 pts) mark at home
  • The Rangers have posted a 4-5-1 record vs. Northeast Division opponents; the Bruins are 7-1-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
  • Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 16-5-2 record with a 1.50 GAA and five shutouts in 23 career regular season contests vs. Boston; Martin Biron is 12-12-2-1 with a 2.66 GAA and one shutout in 31 career regular season games vs. the Bruins
  • Brad Richards leads the Rangers with 19 assists and 26 points in 30 career regular season contests vs. Boston; Ruslan Fedotenko has notched a team-high, eight goals (18 points) in 37 career regular season games vs. the Bruins
  • New York lists no former Bruins on their roster
  • Boston lists one former Ranger on their roster: Marc Savard (1997-98 - 1998-99)

SPECIAL TEAMS:
The Rangers are tied for sixth in the NHL with a plus-six rating on special teams [(PPG+SHG)-(PPGA+SHGA)]. The Blueshirts penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in 11 of the last 12 games (25-26, 96.2% over the span), and is 50-55 (90.9%) with five shorthanded goals in the last 21 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 21-6-2 when not allowing a power play goal.

  • Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in two power play attempts (4:00) on Thursday vs. Pittsburgh. New York is tied for 24th overall (22-156, 14.1%) and ranks 29th on the road (7-47, 9.5%). 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 held the Penguins scoreless in two power play attempt (2:37) on Thursday at MSG. New York is tied for third overall (127-146, 87.0%) and ranks sixth on the road (73-84, 86.9%). 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 tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (2:00) on Thursday vs. Pittsburgh. The Rangers are plus-four in 45 four-on-four situations (81:54), 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).

ORIGINAL SIX SINCE 2005-06
New York has posted a record of 48-29-12 against Original Six opponents since the 2005-06 season, including a 17-5-2 mark vs. Boston over the span. The Rangers' .607 win% over the span ranks second, trailing Detroit (.691, 44-18-6) and ahead of Montreal (.605, 72-45-12), Boston (.519, 59-54-19), Toronto (.508, 56-54-18) and Chicago (.493, 29-30-11).

CLOSE CALL
14 of the last 17 meetings between the Rangers and Bruins have been decided by one goal, including five games that required the shootout, dating back to Mar. 24, 2007. The other three games during the stretch were decided by two goals. New York is 8-4-2 in one-goal games against Boston over the span.

MILESTONE WIN
The last time the Rangers and Bruins faced-off in Boston, Henrik Lundqvist posted a 26-save shutout and Derek Stepan tallied the game's lone goal in a 1-0 win on Mar. 26 at TD Garden. It was Lundqvist's 400th career NHL game and the shutout was his career-high, 11th of the season, moving him into a tie for second place in team history for most shutouts in a season. The 11 shutouts were the most in a season by a Rangers' goaltender in 82 years, when John Ross Roach posted 13 shutouts in 1928-29.

ROAD WARRIORS
The Rangers have won four of their last five road games, having out-scored their opponent, 14-8, over the span. New York is 10-3-0 in their last 13 games away from MSG.

PLACE IN HISTORY
The Rangers' .689 win% through 45 games is the team's best start in 18 years, when the 1993-94 Blueshirts began the season with a 30-12-3 record (.700 win%), and is the fourth best start in franchise history. *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau

Season (45 GP)

W

L

T/OT

Pts

Win%

Game #46 Result

1971-72

30

8

7

67

.744

W, 5-1 vs. BUF

1970-71

29

9

7

65

.722

T, 5-5 at BUF

1993-94

30

12

3

63

.700

W, 8-3 at SJS

2011-12

29

12

4

62

.689

1939-40

26

10

9

61

.678

W, 4-2 vs. NYA

KING HENRIK'S REIGN
Henrik Lundqvist recorded his 20th win with a 27-save shutout on Tuesday vs. Nashville. He became the third goaltender in Rangers' history to reach the 20-win mark in seven straight seasons, and the first since Mike Richter from 1995-96 - 2001-02. Ed Giacomin holds the franchise record with eight straight seasons of 20+ wins (1966-67 - 1973-74). Miikka Kiprusoff (CGY) is the only other goalie in the league with an active streak of 20+ wins in seven or more consecutive seasons. *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau

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

  • T-2nd in points (62)
  • 2nd in win% (.689)
  • 3rd in wins (29)
  • T-1st in regulation/overtime wins (27)
  • T-1st in fewest regulation losses (12)
  • 3rd in fewest goals against (91)
  • 3rd in GAA (2.02)
  • T-1st in hits (1,319)
  • 4th in blocked shots (737)
  • 4th in +/- rating (plus-30)
  • 4th in goal differential (plus-32)

ALL-STARS
Three Rangers were selected for 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 28 of their last 37 games (26-9-2), dating back to Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark; The Rangers have out-scored their opponent, 110-76, during the stretch
  • New York is 8-1-1 when leading after the first period and 18-0-2 when leading after the second
  • The Rangers are tied for sixth in the league with a .250 win% when trailing after two periods (3-8-1), and their three third period comeback victories are tied for eighth in the NHL; New York has trailed entering the third period in 12 games this season, which is tied for the fewest in the league
  • New York leads the NHL with a .789 win% when out-shooting their opponent (15-4-0)
  • The Rangers lead the league when scoring first, posting a 21-1-1 mark (.913 win%) in those contests; Their 21 wins rank third in the NHL

INDIVIDUAL NOTES:

  • Lundqvist has allowed one goal or less in eight of his last 14 games, and has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 22 games this season
  • Martin Biron has held opponents to two or fewer goals in eight of his 11 starts this season
  • Carl Hagelin has tallied eight points (four goals, four assists) in the last 12 games
  • Marian Gaborik enters the contest with a three-game assist streak (three assists over the span)
  • Ryan McDonagh has tallied five assists in the last 10 games, and has posted a plus-eight rating in the last seven

MILESTONES IN SIGHT:

  • Dan Girardi: 1 assist from 100th NHL career

MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:

  • Marian Gaborik: 300th career NHL assist (1/15 at MTL)

INJURIES:

  • Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) - 21
  • Steve Eminger (shoulder, 12/17) - 15
  • Jeff Woywitka (foot, 12/30) - 9

Total Man-Games Lost: 148

RECENT TRANSACTIONS:

  • Jan. 11 - Assigned Erik Christensen to Connecticut (AHL) on a conditioning stint
  • Jan. 15 - Recalled forward Kris Newbury from Connecticut (AHL)
  • Jan. 16 - Assigned forward Kris Newbury to Connecticut (AHL)
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