Rangers Vs. Sharks: Keys To The Game

The San Jose Sharks are riding a six game winning streak heading into tonight's game. The Rangers however, have dropped two straight at home, and are looking to rebound tonight. Here are tonight's keys to the game.

Play a Full 60 Minutes: This cannot be stressed enough for this hockey club. The Rangers always seem to come up short against their opponents. Last game, the Rangers sat back on a 4-1 lead and gave up three goals in ten minutes. If the Rangers gain a lead tonight, they need to keep on hounding their opposition.

Contain San Jose's Offense: Joe Pavelski currently has nine points, in his last four games. The Rangers defense need to contain the fire power of the Sharks offense tonight, and be physical. Even with the loss of Devin Setoguchi, and Danny Heatley, the Sharks are still a very offensively talented team. Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh will have to work overtime in order to keep their offense in check.

Follow after the jump for more and the official New York Rangers pre-game notes. Be sure to check out our open game thread starting at 6:30 tonight as well!

Establish a Strong Fore-check: The Rangers are known for their persistent forechecking, and it was evident last game. The Rangers need to battle in the corners, and tire out the Sharks defense. That will in turn create chances in front of the net, as we saw last game for the Rangers.

In Between the Pipes: Tonight's starter for the Sharks will likely be Antti Niemi, and in goal for the Rangers will be Martin Biron. Biron will be getting his second start this season for the Rangers.

Sharks Firepower: There are a couple players to watch out for, and keep on eye on for the Sharks. Brent Burns currently has three goals this season, including the overtime winner against the New York Islanders last night. Logan Couture notched his third in the last five games, on Sunday night as well. If the Rangers want to take this game tonight, they need to be on top of their A game. If they do come out with a win, it will be a huge confidence booster for them as well.

New York Rangers Pre-game Notes:

Monday, Oct. 31, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden - New York, New York
Rangers: 3-3-3 (9 pts)
Sharks: 6-3-0 (12 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Oct. 29

The Rangers will face-off against the San Jose Sharks tomorrow at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in the third game of their six-game homestand. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and 11th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 3-3-3 (9 pts). The Rangers enter tomorrow's contest having been defeated by the Ottawa Senators, 5-4, in the shootout on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, and have now registered at least one point in four of their last six games (3-2-1). The Sharks enter the contest with a 6-3-0 (12 pts) record to rank fifth in the Western Conference, and have won their last five games. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, Nov. 3, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), as they continue their six-game homestand.

Prior to tomorrow's contest, the Rangers' morning skate is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the MSG Training Center. Head Coach John Tortorella will be available to the media at 4:50 p.m. in the Press Conference Room, located on the fifth floor of Madison Square Garden.
* Schedule and availability subject to change

* TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig
7:00 p.m. - Rangers vs. Sharks
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 vs. Sharks
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)

* All-Time: 19-6-3-0 overall (8-3-1-0 at home; 11-3-2-0 on the road)
* 2011-12: Tonight marks the first and only meeting this season
* Last Season: New York was 1-0-0 overall, having won their only meeting, 3-2, in the shootout on Mar. 12 at San Jose. Erik Christensen and Michael Sauer each notched a goal in regulation, while Wojtek Wolski and Brandon Dubinsky (game-decider) both converted their shootout attempt. Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves and stopped five of six shootout attempts.
* The Rangers have registered at least a point in seven of the last nine contests vs. the Sharks (6-2-1-0 over the span) dating back to Dec. 28, 2001.
* New York ranks 29th with a 0-1-1 (1 pt) record at home; San Jose ranks second with a 5-1-0 (10 pts) mark on the road
* The Rangers have posted a 0-0-2 record vs. Pacific Division opponents; the Sharks are 2-0-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 2-1-0 record with a 2.35 goals against average in four career regular season contests vs. San Jose; Martin Biron is 2-3-0-1 with a 2.14 goals against average in seven career regular season games vs. the Sharks
* Brad Richards leads the Rangers with eight goals, 12 assists and 20 points in 24 career regular season contests vs. San Jose; Ryan Callahan has tallied three goals and four points in four games vs. the Sharks
* New York lists no former Sharks on their roster
* San Jose lists no former Rangers on their roster

* Power Play: The Rangers tallied two goals in four power play opportunities (7:00) on Saturday vs. Ottawa, and are now 5-19 (26.3%) with the man advantage in the last five games. New York is tied for 20th overall (5-35, 14.3%) and ranks third at home (2-7, 28.6%). The Rangers are 0-2 (1:05) in five-on-three situations (last – 10/22 at EDM), and 0-3 (2:04) when four-on-three (last – 10/27 vs. TOR). Shorthanded goals allowed (0).
* Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered one goal to the Senators in four shorthanded situations (6:40) on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, and are now 23-26 (88.5%) in the last six games. New York ranks seventh overall (39-45, 86.7%) and is tied for 12th at home (7-8, 87.5%). 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 (5:00) on Saturday vs. Ottawa. The Rangers are now plus-three in 19 four-on-four situations (32:56), 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 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.

New York defensemen have accounted for 20.0% of the team's scoring, which is tied for sixth in the league. Ranger blueliners have tallied four goals combined through nine games to begin the season. Ryan McDonagh leads all Blueshirt defensemen with two goals.

The Rangers finished their season-opening seven-game road trip with a 3-2-2 mark. The trip set a new franchise record for longest stretch away from Madison Square Garden to begin a season, breaking the old record of five games set in 1952-53 and 1953-54. It was only the seventh time in franchise history that the Rangers had a road trip of seven games or longer at any point in the season - 1955-56 (4-4-1-0), 1959-60 (1-5-1-0), 1981-82 (5-1-2-0), 1984-85 (0-6-1-0), 1987-88 (4-2-1-0), and 1997-98 (2-3-2-0) - and the third time they posted a winning record on such a trip (1981-82, 1987-88). The Blueshirts opened their home schedule with a 4-2 loss on Thursday 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 completed their four-game Western Canada road trip with a 3-1-0 record. The Rangers began the 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. On Oct. 24, the Blueshirts visited Winnipeg for the first time since they faced the former Winnipeg Jets franchise on Nov. 17, 1995 (3-6). New York came away with a 2-1 victory, marking the first time they won in Winnipeg since Nov. 21, 1992 (5-4).

Defenseman Dan Girardi enters the contest ranked second in the NHL in average ice time, logging 28:12 per contest. He has logged 30:00+ of ice time twice this season, including a career-high 33:14 of ice time on Saturday vs. Ottawa.

* The Rangers have posted a record of 284-273-94 all-time in the month of October, including a 176-118-49 mark at home and a 108-155-45 record on the road. New York (3-3-3) 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).

The Rangers are currently 13 wins shy of 2,500 wins, having won 2,487 games all-time in franchise history.

* Brian Boyle: 2 games from 200th NHL career
* Ryan Callahan: 7 games from 300th NHL career
* Steve Eminger: 9 points from 100th NHL career
* Wojtek Wolski: 3 games from 400th NHL career; 9 goals from 100th NHL career

* Brad Richards: 500th career NHL assist (10/20 at CGY)

* Marc Staal (concussion, IR on 10/5) - 9
* Mike Rupp (knee, 10/24) - 2
Total Man-Games Lost: 20

* Oct. 25 - Assigned defenseman Brendan Bell to Connecticut (AHL)
* Oct. 29 - Assigned forward Kris Newbury to Connecticut (AHL)
* Oct. 29 - Assigned defenseman Tim Erixon to Connecticut (AHL)
* Oct. 30 - Recalled forward Andre Deveaux from Connecticut (AHL)