My anonymous source has provided me with the pregame news and notes, and below those is the official release on Nieves being returned to Hartford. Special thanks for E3 providing the review tonight.
NEW YORK RANGERS at COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, 7:00 p.m. ET
Nationwide Arena – Columbus, OH
Rangers: 13-4-0 (26 pts)
Blue Jackets: 8-4-2 (18 pts)
The Rangers play their 18th game of the 2016-17 season and conclude a four-game road trip tonight, Nov. 18, against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). New York enters tonight’s game with a three-game winning streak. All of the Blueshirts’ next 10 games (including tonight’s game) are against Eastern Conference opponents, and seven of the 10 games are against Metropolitan Division opponents. The Rangers have won 12 of their last 15 games (12-3-0), including 11 of their last 13 games (11-2-0) and eight of their last nine games (8-1-0). The Blueshirts have posted a 13-4-0 record this season.
RANGERS VS. BLUE JACKETS
All-Time: 14-8-1-1 (7-2-1-1 at home; 7-6-0-0 on the road)
2016-17: Tonight’s game is the first of five meetings between the Rangers and Blue Jackets, and the first of three meetings between the two teams in Columbus. Following tonight’s game, the Rangers and Blue Jackets will face each other on the following dates: Jan. 7 (at Columbus), Jan. 31 (at MSG), Feb. 13 (at Columbus), Feb. 26 (at MSG).
2015-16: The Rangers posted a 4-0-0 record (2-0-0 at home; 2-0-0 on the road). New York outscored Columbus, 15-7, in the season series, tallying four or more goals in three of the four contests and allowing two or fewer goals in all four games. Mats Zuccarello led all skaters with four goals in four games, while Derek Stepan led all skaters with five points (three goals, two assists) in the season series. Henrik Lundqvist posted a 3-0-0 record, along with a 2.00 GAA and a .941 SV% in three appearances.
The Rangers enter the contest with a seven-game winning streak against the Blue Jackets, dating back to Jan. 16, 2015. The Blueshirts’ current winning streak against Columbus is their longest against the Blue Jackets since the teams began playing against each other in 2000-01.
RANGERS-BLUE JACKETS CONNECTIONS
Rick Nash played with the Columbus for nine seasons (2002-03 – 2011-12), and he is the franchise’s all-time leader in several categories, including games played (674), goals (289), assists (258), and points (547).
Nick Holden made his NHL debut with the Blue Jackets and played parts of two seasons with Columbus (2010-11; 2012-13).
J.T. Miller is a native of East Palestine, Ohio.
Scott Arniel served as Blue Jackets Head Coach for parts of two seasons (2010-11 – 2011-12).
Brandon Dubinsky played parts of six seasons with the Rangers (2006-07 – 2011-12) and won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award during his rookie season in 2007-08.
Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella served as Rangers Head Coach for parts of six seasons (1999-00; 2008-09 – 2012-13).
Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations/Alternate Governor John Davidson played parts of eight seasons with the Rangers (1975-76 – 1982-83) and served as TV Analyst for 20 years on MSG Network (1986-2006).
90TH SEASON NOTE: Oscar Lindberg became the first rookie in franchise history to tally a goal in each of the Rangers’ first three games of one season when he recorded two goals on Oct. 10, 2015 vs. Columbus.
INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. BLUE JACKETS
Henrik Lundqvist – 13 GP, 9-3-1, 2.44 GAA, .920 SV% – Lundqvist has earned a win in each of his last six appearances against Columbus (dating back to Mar. 21, 2014), posting a 1.82 GAA and a .944 SV% over the span. In six career road appearances against Columbus, he has posted a 5-1-0 record, along with a 1.67 GAA and a .942 SV%.
Derek Stepan – 13 GP, 7-8-15 – Derek Stepan enters the contest with an eight-game point streak against Columbus (six goals, seven assists), including a three-game goal streak.
Mats Zuccarello – 12 GP, 4-4-8 – Zuccarello has recorded a goal in three of the last four games against Columbus (four goals over the span).
The Rangers’ 13 wins through 17 games this season are tied for the most the team has earned in the first 17 games of one season in franchise history. New York has earned 13 wins in the first 17 games of a season twice in franchise history (2015-16 and 2016-17). In addition, the Rangers have earned 13 wins in their first 17 games and recorded all of the 13 wins in regulation for the first time in their 90-season history. The Rangers are tied for the NHL lead in wins thus far this season (13 – tied with Montreal).
The Rangers have registered 72 goals through the first 17 games of the 2016-17 season. New York has recorded at least 72 goals in the first 17 contests of a season for the first time since 1988-89 and for the fourth time in franchise history. The Rangers lead the NHL in goals per game this season (4.24).
The Rangers have tallied five or more goals in nine of the first 17 games in one season for the second time in franchise history (also in 1972-73). New York is the first NHL team to tally five or more goals in nine of its first 17 games of a season since Buffalo in 2006-07.
MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
The Rangers lead the NHL in goal differential this season (plus-34; 72 goals for, 38 goals against). The Rangers’ plus-34 goal differential through 17 games this season is the second-best goal differential the team has posted through the first 17 games of any season in franchise history (1971-72; plus-39).
The Blueshirts are the first NHL team to post a plus-34 goal differential or better through 17 games of a season since Ottawa in 2005-06. Since 1986-87, only four teams have posted a plus-34 goal differential or better through 17 games of one season (NY Rangers – 2016-17; Ottawa – 2005-06; Pittsburgh – 1995-96; Montreal – 1991-92).
SHUTTING THE DOOR
The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in 11 of the last 14 games, dating back to Oct. 19 vs. Detroit. The Blueshirts have won 37 of the last 38 games in which they allowed two goals or fewer, dating back to Dec. 15, 2015 (37-1-0). New York ranks fourth in the NHL in goals against per game this season (2.24).
SAVING THE DAY
Over the last three games, Rangers goaltenders have posted a .965 SV% (109 saves on 113 shots).
The Rangers are the only NHL team that has 13 players – as well as 11 forwards – who have tallied 10 or more points thus far this season.
Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei have both tallied 10 or more assists through the first 17 games of the season (McDonagh – 11; Skjei – 10). Two Rangers defensemen have recorded 10 or more assists within the first 17 games of a season for the first time since 1993-94 (Brian Leetch – 14; Sergei Zubov – 13).
New York leads the NHL in road wins since 2013-14 (77). The Rangers have won each of their last four road games and five of their last six road contests (5-1-0).
Alain Vigneault leads all NHL head coaches in wins since the start of the 2006-07 season (470).
UP FOR GRABS
This season, Michael Grabner became the second Ranger since 1990-91 to tally 10 even strength goals within the first 16 games of a season (Nash – 2014-15). Grabner has tallied a goal/point in five of the last nine games, recording 10 points (eight goals, two assists) over the span. Grabner leads the NHL in even strength goals this season (10). He is one of five NHL players who have registered at least 10 goals this season (along with Laine, Crosby, Scheifele, and Pastrnak), and he is tied for second in the NHL in goals. Grabner is also tied for the NHL lead in plus/minus rating this season (plus-16).
Henrik Lundqvist is one of 10 goaltenders in NHL history who have earned at least 350 career wins and 60 career shutouts. He is the Rangers’ all-time leader in several categories, including appearances (698), wins (383), SV% (.921), and SO (60). Lundqvist has earned a win in each of his last five starts, posting a 1.60 GAA, a .950 SV%, and 1 SO over the span. In his last nine starts, Lundqvist has posted an 8-1-0 record, along with a 1.89 GAA, a .936 SV%, and 1 SO. Lundqvist enters the contest with 698 career NHL appearances. Only four goaltenders in NHL history have made at least 700 appearances with one franchise (Brodeur – NJD; Esposito – CHI; Sawchuk – DET; Kolzig – WSH). He is also two wins away from tying Mike Vernon for 13th place on the NHL’s all-time wins list.
IT’S MILLER TIME
J.T. Miller has recorded a point in 12 of the Rangers’ 13 wins in 2016-17, and the Blueshirts have posted a 12-0-0 record in games which he has tallied a point this season. He has registered 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in the last 13 games, and he leads the team in points this season (17; seven goals, 10 assists). Miller is tied for the NHL lead in plus/minus rating this season (plus-16).
HEY HEY HAYES
Kevin Hayes has tallied a point in eight of the last nine games, registering 13 points (six goals, seven assists) over the span. He ranks second on the Rangers in goals (eight) and points (16) this season.
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei leads NHL rookies in assists this season (10), and he has tallied nine assists/points in the last 12 games. He is also tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in assists this season.
Ryan McDonagh is tied for second among NHL defensemen in assists this season (11 – tied with Erik Karlsson and trails Duncan Keith by one), and he leads the Rangers in assists in 2016-17. McDonagh has led the Rangers in ice time in each of the first 17 games this season. He is one of two NHL defensemen who have registered at least 10 points and a plus-10 rating this season (along with Shea Weber).
Brandon Pirri has led the Rangers in faceoff win percentage in six of the last seven games (min. five faceoffs taken in the game). Since Nov. 3, Pirri leads the NHL (min. 50 faceoffs taken) in faceoff win percentage (65.4%; 34-for-52). Pirri is tied for the NHL lead in game-winning goals this season (three), and he leads the Rangers in power play goals (three).
The Rangers were 2-for-3 (3:16) on Nov. 15 at Vancouver.
The Blueshirts rank third in the NHL in power play efficiency this season (24.1%; 13-for-54).
New York has recorded a power play goal in eight of the last 13 games and in 10 of 17 games in 2016-17.
The Rangers were 4-for-4 (8:00) on Nov. 15 at Vancouver.
The Blueshirts rank eighth in the NHL in penalty kill efficiency this season (85.1%; 40-for-47).
New York is tied for fifth in the NHL in shorthanded goals this season (two).
Mika Zibanejad – 2 games away from 300 in his NHL career; 3 assists away from 100 in his NHL career
Henrik Lundqvist – 2 appearances away from 700 in his NHL career/as a Ranger
Kevin Hayes – 3 points away from 100 in his NHL career/as a Ranger
INJURIES (34 Man-Games Lost to Injury)
Pavel Buchnevich (back spasms) – has missed two games
Nov. 14 – Recalled Cristoval Nieves from Hartford (AHL)
· Nov. 17 – Assigned Cristoval Nieves to Hartford (AHL)
THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY
· Nov. 17, 1974 – The Rangers defeated the California Golden Seals, 10-0, at MSG. The game featured the most the goals the Rangers have tallied while also posting a shutout in franchise history, and it marked the second time in franchise history the Blueshirts defeated an opponent by 10 or more goals. Rick Middleton tied a single-game franchise rookie record by tallying five points in the contest.
· Nov. 18, 1953 – Andy Bathgate registered his first career NHL goal as the Rangers defeated the Chicago Black Hawks, 3-1, at MSG.
· Nov. 18, 2000 – Brian Leetch registered his 616th career assist as a Ranger to became the franchise’s all-time leader in assists, passing Rod Gilbert. Leetch registered three points (one goal, two assists) as the Rangers defeated the Calgary Flames, 5-4, in overtime.
· Nov. 18, 2001 – Eric Lindros tallied his first hat trick as a Ranger and recorded four points (three goals, one assist), Mike York tallied four assists, and Mike Richter stopped 38 of 40 shots as the Rangers defeated the Atlanta Thrashers, 6-2, at MSG. The “FLY Line” of Theo Fleury, Lindros, and York registered 11 points in the game (three goals, eight assists).
RANGERS ASSIGN CRISTOVAL NIEVES TO HARTFORD
NEW YORK, November 17, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has assigned Cristoval Nieves to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Nieves skated in one game with the Rangers after being recalled on Nov. 14, making his NHL debut on Nov. 15 at Vancouver.
The 6-3, 219-pounder has skated in 13 games with the Wolf Pack this season, registering one goal and five assists for six points. At the time of his recall, Nieves ranked second on the team in assists and ranked third on the team in points in 2016-17, and he led all rookies on Hartford in assists and points this season. Nieves registered four assists/points in his last seven AHL games prior to being recalled by the Rangers, and he is the only skater on the Wolf Pack who has not been called for a penalty thus far this season.