The New York Rangers are looking to rebound from a disappointing 2-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. There are plenty of adjustments that need to be made from that game, and they will all appear in tonight's keys to the game.
Stay Out Of The Penalty Box: This isn't a new adjustment that needs to be made, but it hasn't been fixed yet. The offensive zone penalties need to end immediately, as do the lazy hooking and tripping penalties the Rangers have been taking in all three zones. Against the Oilers this was on full display, when a Mike Rupp offensive zone penalty allowed Edmonton to take a 2-0 lead. If New York wants to find the win column, it needs to stay out of the box.
Convert On The Power Play: If the penalties isn't a big enough issue, the power play is. The Rangers had their chances, including an extended 5-on-3 when the deficit was only 1-0, but they never converted or even looked dangerous. Too much passing and not enough shooting, no need to be fancy just put the puck on net.
Join me after the jump for more keys to the game and the official New York Rangers pre-game notes.
Oh Captain My Captain: Ryan Callahan hasn't looked the same since the Rangers left Europe, and it's hurting the Rangers' offense. Callahan isn't the only one struggling in the offensive zone, but he seems the most out of place right now. I'm not sure if it's injury related, fatigue or if the captain is just off his game; but it needs to get fixed. Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov can be thrown into this category too.
Stay The Course On Defense: One of the only things that hasn't been a problem, aside from Henrik Lundqvist, has been the defense. Players like Dan Girardi, Ran McDonagh, Tim Erixon and Michael Del Zotto have all stepped up big-time for the Rangers in Marc Staal's absence. And don't take anything away from Steve Eminger either, who is playing more of an advanced role with the Mike Sauer injury. The defense has been good, now it's time for the offense to help them out.
Official New York Rangers press release below:
The Rangers will face-off against the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow, Oct. 24, at MTS Centre (8:30 p.m.), in their first trip to Winnipeg since they faced the former Winnipeg Jets franchise on Nov. 17, 1995 (3-6). The Blueshirts enter the contest having been defeated by the Edmonton Oilers, 2-0, on Saturday at Rexall Place to drop to 2-1-0 on their current four-game Western Canada road trip, and are now 2-2-2 (6 pts) through six games. The Jets enter the contest with a 2-4-1 (5 pts) record, and have registered a point in three of their last four games (2-1-1). Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers will return to New York for their 2011-12 home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, Oct. 27, in an Original Six match-up at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.).
RANGERS PRACTICE SCHEDULE:
Prior to tomorrow's contest, the Blueshirts' morning skate is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. CDT at MTS Centre.
* Schedule and availability subject to change
-TV: MSG Network
8:00 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
8:30 p.m. - Rangers at Jets
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
-Radio: Bloomberg Radio and newyorkrangers.com
8:00 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show
8:30 p.m. - Rangers at Jets
Broadcasters: Joe Tolleson (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. JETS:
-All-Time*: 19-15-1-9 overall (7-9-1-5 at home; 12-6-0-4 on the road)
-2011-12: Tonight marks the first of four meetings this season, and the first of two meetings at Winnipeg.
-Last Season*: New York was 1-3-0 overall, including a 1-1-0 mark on the road. Brian Boyle led the Rangers with two goals in the season series, and Henrik Lundqvist posted a 1-2-0 record with a 2.61 goals against average in three games.
-New York is tied for sixth with a 2-2-2 (6 pts) record on the road; Winnipeg is tied for 15th with a 2-1-0 (4 pts) mark at home
-The Rangers have not faced a Southeast Division opponent this season; the Jets are 1-0-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
-Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 7-5-6 record with a 2.24 GAA and one shutout in 19 career regular season contests vs. Winnipeg*; Martin Biron is 6-11-0-0 with a 3.31 GAA and three shutouts in 18 career regular season games vs. the Jets*
-Brad Richards leads the Rangers with 17 goals, 36 assists and 53 points in 46 career regular season contests vs. Winnipeg*; Marian Gaborik has tallied 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 13 games vs. the Jets*
-New York lists one former Jet* on their roster: Erik Christensen (2007-08 - 2008-09)
-Winnipeg lists one former Ranger on their roster: Nik Antropov (2008-09)
* Includes the record vs. the Atlanta Thrashers from 1999-00 - 2010-11
-Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in five power play opportunities (8:39) on Saturday at Edmonton, and are now 1-23 (4.4%) through six games. The Rangers are 0-2 (1:05) in five-on-three situations (last 10/22 at EDM), and 0-1 (0:40) when four-on-three (last 10/8 at ANA). Shorthanded goals allowed (0).
-Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Oilers in four shorthanded situations (5:19) on Saturday at Edmonton. New York is tied for 12th overall (31-36, 86.1%) and ranks 11th on the road (31-36, 86.1%). 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 (1): 10/20 at CGY (Prust).
-Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (0:24) on Saturday at Edmonton, and are now plus-two in 14 four-on-four situations (23:33). Four-on-four goals for (2): 10/18 at VAN (Gaborik); 10/20 at CGY (McDonagh). Four-on-four goals allowed (0).
IT'S MANITOBA TIME
Tonight's contest marks the Rangers' first trip to Winnipeg since they faced the former Winnipeg Jets franchise on Nov. 17, 1995 (3-6). New York's last win in Winnipeg was a 5-4 victory on Nov. 21, 1992. Forward Phil Bourque tallied a game-high, two goals, and John Vanbiesbrouck made 21 saves in the win.
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 was 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).
New York began their current four-game Western Canada road trip by defeating Vancouver (4-0) and Calgary (3-2, OT), marking the first time the team has won in those two cities in the same season since 1986-87.
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 made his 32nd consecutive regular season start on Saturday at Edmonton, dating back to Feb. 11, 2011 at Atlanta. He has posted a record of 17-12-3 with a 2.22 goals against average, a .926 save percentage and five shutouts over the span. Including playoffs, Lundqvist has started each of the Rangers last 37 games.
Defenseman Dan Girardi enters tonight's contest leading the NHL in average ice time, logging 28:39 per contest. He has logged 30:00+ of ice time twice this season, including a season-high 31:25 of ice time on Oct. 8 against Anaheim in Stockholm, Sweden.
Brad Richards has registered a point in five of six games as a Ranger to lead the team with four assists and five points on the season. His five-game scoring streak to begin the season was the longest by a new Ranger since Marian Gaborik tied the franchise record set by Dave Creighton in 1955-56 by registering a point in eight consecutive games to begin the 2009-10 season. Richards also tallied his 500th career NHL assist on Thursday at Calgary.
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 teams captain. He also established a Rangers record for most shots in a season opener with a career-high 11 shots on goal. Callahan's 11 shots 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 Oct. 15 at Long Island, while defenseman Brendan Bell made his Blueshirts debut on Saturday at Edmonton.
-The Rangers have posted a record of 283-272-93 all-time in the month of October, including a 176-117-48 mark at home and a 107-155-45 record on the road. New York (2-2-2) 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 35 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 14 wins shy of 2,500 wins, having won 2,485 games all-time in franchise history.
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
-Brian Boyle: 5 games from 200th NHL career
-Wojtek Wolski: 6 games from 400th NHL career; 9 goals from 100th NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
-Brandon Prust: 200th career NHL game (10/15 at NYI)
-Mike Rupp: 500th career NHL game (10/15 at NYI)
-Brad Richards: 500th career NHL assist (10/20 at CGY)
-Marc Staal (concussion, IR on 10/5) - 6
-Wojtek Wolski (groin, 10/7) - 5
-Michael Sauer (shoulder, 10/8) - 4
Total Man-Games Lost: 15
-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)