The New York Rangers are looking to win their fourth consecutive game tonight when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes on the road.
Here's how they can make it happen:
Convert On The Power Play: The Rangers did a good job of making the Pittsburgh Penguins pay when they took penalties. At least at first. Still, two power play goals is nothing to shrug off, and it helped the Rangers get back into, and then take over the game. The puck movement has been better, and Michael Del Zotto and Brad Richards look a little more comfortable at the point. The Rangers are keeping players in front of the net and getting off quality shots, that all needs to continue tonight.
Don't Relax On D: The Hurricanes might not be scoring goals in bunches this year, but they still have players who can light the lamp. Eric Staal might be struggling, but he's still lethal around the net and Jeff Skinner is getting better and better with each passing game. The Rangers' defense has done a good job shutting down top players and that should be a priority tonight as well. Some of this has to do with the Rangers staying out of the penalty box, some of it simply has to do with Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh being fantastic hockey players.
Join me after the jump for more keys and the Rangers' official pre-game notes.
Get On The Board Early: The Rangers did a good job of not letting a rough start (even though it wasn't rough because of their play) effect them in the win over the Penguins. Tonight, the Rangers will do themselves a ton of favors by getting on the board early and keeping the home crowd out of the game. Richards is coming off a three-point effort against the Penguins and both Gaborik and Ryan Callahan had a goal and an assist as well. New York is scoring goals, no reason for it to stop doing just that tonight.
Keep Playing Confident: One of the main factors in the Rangers' win over the Penguins was the team's confidence. The group never played like they were out of the game, and even when Pittsburgh came roaring back they kept their composure. The Rangers have every reason in the world to be confident with the way they are playing. A loss tonight would probably put a dent in that confidence, but a win would keep the train moving in the right direction.
Rangers pre-game notes below:
* All information through NHL games on Nov. 29
The Rangers will face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow at RBC Center (7:00 p.m.), to begin a two-game Southeast road trip. The Blueshirts currently rank second in the Atlantic Division standings, and fourth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 13-5-3 (29 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-3, on Tuesday at Madison Square Gardento extend their home winning streak to seven games, and have now won their last three contests overall. The Hurricanes enter the contest with an 8-14-4 (20 pts) record to rank 14th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost their last four games (0-3-1). Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, Dec. 3, at St. Pete Times Forum (7:00 p.m.), to conclude their two-game Southeast road trip.
RANGERS PRACTICE SCHEDULE:
Prior to tomorrow's contest, the Rangers' morning skate is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Head Coach John Tortorella will be available to the media at 11:45 a.m.
* Schedule and availability subject to change
· TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
7:00 p.m. - Rangers at Hurricanes
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
· Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
6:30 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:00 p.m. - Rangers at Hurricanes
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)
RANGERS vs. HURRICANES:
· All-Time: 56-48-7-2 overall (35-17-4-2 at home; 21-31-3-0 on the road)
· 2011-12: Tonight is the second of four meetings this season, and the first of two at RBC Center. New York is 1-0-0 following a 5-1 win on Nov. 11 at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers tallied four goals in the third period, including two goals in nine seconds and three goals in three minutes. The Blueshirts registered a season-high, 40 shots on goal in the contest, including 17 shots in the third period, which marks a Rangers' season high for most shots in a period. Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky and Brad Richards recorded one goal and one assist apiece, while Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves.
· Last Season: New York was 2-2-0 overall, including a 1-1-0 mark at home. Three of the four contests were decided by one goal, including two that required extra time. The Rangers' power play was 3-14 (21.4%) in the season series. Ryan Callahan tied for the team-high with two goals and three points in two games, while Brandon Dubinsky (one goal, two assists) and Ryan McDonagh led the team with two assists apiece. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-2-0 with a 2.92 GAA and a .915 Sv% in four games.
· New York ranks 11th with a 6-4-2 (14 pts) record on the road; Carolina ranks 22nd with a 5-7-2 (12 pts) mark at home
· The Rangers have posted a 4-1-0 record vs. Southeast Division opponents; the Hurricanes are 2-5-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
· Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 11-8-1 record with a 2.37 GAA and one shutout in 20 career regular season games vs. Carolina; Martin Biron is 10-4-1-2 with a 2.53 GAA and one shutout in 19 career regular season games vs. Carolina
· Brad Richards leads the Rangers with 29 assists and 41 points in 47 career regular season games vs. Carolina; Ruslan Fedotenko has tallied a team-high, 14 goals in 46 career regular season games vs. Carolina
· New York lists no former Hurricanes on their roster
· Carolina lists no former Rangers on their roster
· Power Play: The Rangers tallied two goals in six power play opportunities (8:37) on Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh, and are 4-13 (30.8%) in their last three games. New York ranks 21st overall (13-87, 14.9%) and 28th on the road (4-45, 8.9%). The Rangers are 1-9 (7:17) in five-on-three situations (last - 11/29 vs. PIT), and 0-4 (3:46) when four-on-three (last - 11/3 vs. ANA). Shorthanded goals allowed (0).
· Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered on goal to the Penguins in four shorthanded situations (7:20) on Tuesday at MSG. New York ranks 10th overall (72-85, 84.7%) and is tied for 15th on the road (48-58, 82.8%). 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 tally/yield a goal in two four-on-four situations (4:00) on Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh. The Rangers are plus-three in 28 four-on-four situations (49:13), 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).
The Rangers are scheduled to play 14 back-to-back sets this season. New York has posted a record of 2-0-1 (1-0-0 at home, 1-0-1 on the road) in the first game of the set, and are 2-0-1 (2-0-0 at home, 0-0-1 on the road) in the second game. Since 2009-10, New York is 23-8-3 in the second game of back-to-back sets, with an 11-3-1 mark at MSG and 12-5-2 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 fourth back-to-back set will be on Dec. 22-23 vs. the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers, with both games at MSG.
THE PUCK STOPS HERE
The Blueshirts lead the league in fewest goals against, allowing 44 goals through 21 games, and rank third with a 2.10 GAA. Henrik Lundqvist is 10-4-3 with a 2.10 GAA, .933 Sv% and two shutouts, while Martin Biron is 3-1-0 with a 1.68 GAA, .937 Sv% and one shutout. Rangers goaltenders have combined for a league-best, .932 Sv%. Lundqvist is tied for sixth in the NHL in Sv% and shutouts, eighth in wins and ninth in GAA.
Carl Hagelin tallied a primary assist, led all skaters with six shots on goal and was credited with three blocked shots in a 4-3 win vs. Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The rookie has now tallied a point in three straight games to begin his career, following his recall from Connecticut (AHL) on Nov. 24, becoming the first Rangers rookie to do so since Steven King recorded a point in four consecutive games to begin his career in 1992-93.
New York has seen nine new faces in their lineup during the 2011-12 season - Tim Erixon* (10/7 at LAK), Brad Richards (10/7 at LAK, one assist), Mike Rupp (10/7 at LAK), Jeff Woywitka (10/15 at NYI), Brendan Bell (10/22 at EDM), Andre Deveaux (10/31 vs. SJS), Anton Stralman (11/23 at FLA), Carl Hagelin* (11/25 at WSH, one assist), and John Mitchell (11/25 at WSH, one assist). *NHL debut
COUNTDOWN TO 2,500 WINS
The Rangers are currently three wins shy of 2,500 wins, having won 2,497 games all-time in franchise history.
· The Rangers have the fewest regulation losses (five) in the NHL
· The Blueshirts are 4-13 (30.8%) on the power play during their current three-game winning streak
· New York is 4-1-0 when leading after the first period and 8-0-1 when leading after the second, including a 4-0-0 mark when leading after two on the road
· The Blueshirts are the only team in the NHL who are undefeated when out-shooting their opponents, posting a 7-0-0 mark in those contests, and have out-shot the opposition in each of the last three games (95-77 over the span)
· The Rangers are 7-0-0 all-time in games when Brandon Prust is assessed a fighting major in the opening two minutes
· The Blueshirts are 11-1-0 when scoring first, tying for second in the NHL in wins and ranking second with a .917 win% in those games
· Henrik Lundqvist posted a record of 8-1-0 with a 1.88 GAA, .937 Sv% and one shutout in November
· Brad Richards enters the contest with a three-game goal/point streak (three goals, three assists over the span)
· John Mitchell enters the contest with a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists over the span)
· Marian Gaborik has tallied 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in the last 14 games, with four points (two goals, two assists) in the last four
· Ryan Callahan has tallied 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in the last 13 games, with nine points (three goals, six assists) in the last seven
· Ryan McDonagh has tallied five assists and a plus-10 rating in the last 10 games
· Brian Boyle has posted a plus or even rating in 11 consecutive games (plus-seven)
· Rangers' prospect Christian Thomas is one of 41 players invited to participate in Canada's National Junior Team selection camp (Dec. 10-14) for the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
· Erik Christensen: 7 assists from 100th NHL career
· Steve Eminger: 8 points from 100th NHL career
· Marian Gaborik: 4 assists from 300th NHL career; 6 goals from 300th NHL career
· Dan Girardi: 5 assists from 100th NHL career
· Brad Richards: 7 games from 800th NHL career
· Michael Sauer: 5 games from 100th NHL career
· Wojtek Wolski: 1 game from 400th NHL career; 9 goals from 100th NHL career
MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
· Carl Hagelin: 1st career NHL game; 1st career NHL assist/point (11/25 at WSH)
· Carl Hagelin: 1st career NHL goal (11/26 vs. PHI)
· Marc Staal (concussion, IR on 10/5) - 21
· Mike Rupp (knee, 10/24) - 14
· Wojtek Wolski (groin, 11/3) - 10
Total Man-Games Lost: 54
· Nov. 24 - Recalled forward Carl Hagelin from Connecticut (AHL)
· Nov. 24 - Recalled forward John Mitchell from Connecticut (AHL)