The New York Rangers kick off their 2011 campaign this afternoon against the Los Angeles Kings.
Here are a few notes to hold you over until the puck drops:
- As you know, Brandon Dubinsky is getting the start today on the top line. We don't have any real confirmation yet if this is an indication of Wojtek Wolski's health or play coming into the game, but we will get a good look at how Dubinsky preforms in the pressure position. I personally think he fits well here, but we'll talk more about this after the game.
- Something we're going to be hearing about for awhile is the very inexperienced defense. Against a very talented Los Angeles Kings team we should get a good feel for some of the issues that are going to need to be addressed as the season progresses without Marc Staal.
- The Rangers didn't just bring in Brad Richards to mesh with Marian Gaborik, they brought him in to help fix the power play as well. Not better time than opening night (afternoon) to have some early success with the man advantage.
- Michael Del Zotto told the New York Post today that he "felt more confident than he has in a long time." That's good, since confidence was his main issue last year, but as of right now, those are just words. Today, he gets an opportunity to put those words into practice.
You can find the New York Rangers official pregame notes below the jump. The open game thread opens at 12:30 p.m.
The Rangers will begin their 2011-12 regular season tomorrow against the Los Angeles Kings at Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden (1:00 p.m. EST), as part of the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere. This will be the fourth consecutive year the Blueshirts have started the season on the road, and the second time New York has begun the season in Europe. Tomorrow's game is the first of two contests in Stockholm for the Rangers, who will face-off against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, October 8 (1:00 p.m. EST). In seven preseason contests, New York posted a record of 4-2-1 (9 pts), including a 3-1-0 (6 pts) mark against European clubs. The Kings posted a 4-2-2 (10 pts) record in eight preseason games, including a 5-4 victory over the Hamburg Freezers on Tuesday.
TV: MSG Network
12:30 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
1:00 p.m. - Rangers at Kings (Stockholm, Sweden)
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst)
Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
12:30 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show
1:00 p.m. - Rangers at Kings (Stockholm, Sweden)
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. KINGS:
-All-Time: 65-43-16-0 overall (37-18-6-0 at home; 28-25-10-0 on the road)
-2010-11: This is the first and only meeting between the Rangers and Kings this season.
-Last Season: New York was 1-0-0 following a 4-3 shootout win against the Kings on Feb. 17 at Madison Square Garden.
-The Rangers ranked ninth with a 24-16-1 (49 pts) record on the road last season; the Kings ranked eighth with a 25-13-3 (53 pts) mark at home last season
-New York was 4-1-0 vs. the Pacific Division last season; Los Angeles was 3-2-2 against the Atlantic Division last season
-Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 2-3-0 record with a 2.97 GAA in five career regular season contests vs. Los Angeles, including a 1-0-0 mark with a 2.77 GAA in one game last season; Martin Biron is 4-1-0 with a 2.04 GAA and one shutout in six career regular season games vs. the Kings
-Marian Gaborik leads the Rangers with 19 goals and 29 points in 27 career regular season contests vs. Los Angeles; Brad Richards has recorded a team-high, 19 assists (26 points) in 23 career regular season games vs. the Kings
-Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov each tallied a team-high, two points, with a goal and an assist apiece last season vs. the Kings
-New York lists one former King on their roster: Brian Boyle (2007-08 - 2008-09)
-Los Angeles lists no former Rangers on their roster
SPECIAL TEAMS (last season):
The Blueshirts posted a plus-13 rating on special teams (PPG+SHG minus PPGA+SHGA) last season, which tied for second in the league.
-Power Play: The Rangers were 14-72 (19.4%) in their final 21 games. New York ranked 18th overall (49-290, 16.9%) and 21st on the road (21-139, 15.1%). The Rangers were 5-15 (12:41) in five-on-three situations (last 4/3 at PHI), and 0-7 (8:42) when four-on-three (last 4/3 at PHI). Shorthanded goals allowed (5): 11/20 at MIN (Cullen); 12/5 vs. OTT (Kelly); 1/2 at FLA (Weiss); 1/16 vs. PHI (Richards); 3/20 at PIT (Kunitz).
-Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts were 18-20 (90.0%) in their final 11 games. New York tied for ninth overall (215-257, 83.7%) and ranked sixth on the road (117-139, 84.2%). The Rangers were 7-10 (7:21) in three-on-five situations (last 2/27 vs. TBL), and 4-6 (2:41) when three-on-four (last 11/15 at PIT). Shorthanded goals for (11): 10/9 at BUF (Dubinsky); 11/5 at NJD (Dubinsky); 11/15 at PIT (Staal); 11/24 at TBL (Boyle); 11/26 at FLA (Prust); 12/5 vs. OTT (Prust); 12/12 vs. WSH (Staal); 12/16 vs. PHX (Prust); 1/7 at DAL (Fedotenko); 2/27 vs. TBL (Prust); 3/15 vs. NYI (Prust).
-Four-on-Four: New York posted a plus-three rating in 67, four-on-four situations (134:41), and an even rating in one, three-on-three situation (2:00, 2/17 vs. LAK). Four-on-four goals for (7): 10/18 vs. COL (Frolov); 11/11 vs. BUF (Anisimov); 11/15 at PIT (Callahan); 12/12 vs. WSH (Callahan); 1/5 vs. CAR (Zuccarello); 3/4 at OTT (Stepan); 3/6 vs. PHI (Zuccarello). Four-on-four goals allowed (4): 10/15 vs. TOR (Kessel); 1/1 at TBL (Thompson); 3/15 vs. NYI (Moulson); 4/3 at PHI (Zherdev).
-The Rangers are 35-36-13 all-time in 84 season-opening games, including a 25-27-8 record in 60 season openers away from MSG. The Blueshirt's .483 winning percentage in season openers on the road ranks ninth in the NHL.
-New York has out-scored their opponents, 241-236 in season-openers.
-Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella ranks fifth among active NHL head coaches in season openers with a record of 6-2-0 in eight career season-opening games for a .750 winning percentage.
-Blueshirts legend Andy Bathgate holds the franchise record for most assists and points in a season-opening game, having registered four assists and five points on Oct. 7, 1955 at Chicago. His four assists and five points in the 1955-56 season opener are tied for second all-time in the NHL. Former Ranger Walt Tkaczuk also tallied four assists in a season-opening game on Oct. 9, 1974 vs. Washington.
-Derek Stepan tallied three goals while making his NHL debut in last season's opener on Oct. 9, 2010 at Buffalo. His three goals tied the franchise record for goals in a season opener, and he became the fourth player in NHL history and first Ranger to register a hat trick in his NHL debut. Ron Murphy, who skated with the Rangers from 1952-53 to 1956-57, also tallied three goals in the 1955-56 season opener at Chicago on Oct. 7, 1955.
-Stepan is one of two active players who have notched a hat trick in a season-opening game (Paul Stastny, COL).
-Former Rangers' captain Jaromir Jagr holds the team record for fastest goal to start a game in a season opener with his goal just 29 seconds into the contest on Oct. 5, 2006 vs. Washington.
-Andy Bathgate, Rod Gilbert and Walt Tkaczuk are tied for the Rangers' record for most career points in season-opening games, with each player having tallied 13 career points in season openers.
-Former Rangers' goaltender Gump Worsley holds the franchise record for most opening night wins with five career wins in season-opening games. Henrik Lundqvist has registered four career wins in season-opening games.
The Rangers have five new players on their opening night roster: Brad Richards, Mike Rupp, Brendan Bell, Tim Erixon and Jeff Woywitka. Erixon is looking to make his NHL debut.
-The Rangers have posted a record of 281-270-91 all-time in the month of October, including a 176-117-48 mark at home and a 105-153-43 record on the road. New York 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 33 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 2500 WINS
The Rangers are currently 16 wins shy of 2,500 wins, having won 2,484 games all-time in franchise history.
The Blueshirts were the only team in the NHL who were undefeated when leading after two periods last season, posting a record of 29-0-0 in those contests. The Rangers tied for third in the league with a plus-22 goal differential in the third period (85 goals for, 63 goals against). New York also tied for second in the NHL with eight wins and 20 points in games in which it trailed entering the final frame.
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS
The Rangers completed the 2010-11 season leading the league in hits (2,333), ranked fourth in blocked shots (1,301), tied for first in shutouts (11), second in number of players with at least one GWG (19), third in shootout wins (nine), fourth in shorthanded goals (11) and road wins (24), fifth in goals against (198), and fifth with a plus-35 goal differential.
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
-Brandon Prust: 3 games from 200th NHL career
-Brad Richards: 4 assists from 500th NHL career
-Mike Rupp: 3 games from 500th NHL career
-Marc Staal (Injured Reserve, 10/5) - 0
Total Man-Games Lost: 0
Oct. 5 - Recalled defenseman Tim Erixon from Connecticut (AHL)
Oct. 5 - Assigned forward Sean Avery to Connecticut (AHL)
Oct. 5 - Placed defenseman Marc Staal on IR
Oct. 6 - Claimed defenseman Jeff Woywitka off waivers from Montreal
Oct. 6 - Assigned defenseman Stu Bickel to Connecticut (AHL)