Here are the pregame news and notes from the Rangers, via my anonymous source.
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS
Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Rangers: 13-5-0 (26 pts)
Panthers: 9-8-1 (19 pts)
The Rangers play their 19th game of the 2016-17 season and begin a back-to-back set tonight, Nov. 20, against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). All of the Blueshirts’ next nine games (including tonight’s game) are against Eastern Conference opponents, and six of the nine games are against Metropolitan Division opponents. The Rangers have won 12 of their last 16 games (12-4-0), including 11 of their last 14 games (11-3-0) and eight of their last 10 games (8-2-0). The Blueshirts have posted a 13-5-0 record this season.
RANGERS VS. PANTHERS
All-Time: 50-29-6-4 (26-14-4-0 at home; 24-15-2-4 on the road)
2016-17: Tonight’s game is the first of three meetings between the Rangers and Panthers, and the first of two meetings between the two teams at MSG. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers and Panthers will play against each other on the following dates: Mar. 7 (at Florida), Mar. 17 (at MSG).
2015-16: The Rangers posted a 2-1-0 record (1-0-0 at home; 1-1-0 on the road). New York registered four or more goals in two of the three contests. Rick Nash led all skaters with four goals in the season series, while Mats Zuccarello tied for first among all skaters with four points (two goals, two assists) in three games.
The Rangers have won each of their last five home games against the Panthers, dating back to Apr. 18, 2013. In addition, New York has won eight of its last nine home games (8-1-0) and nine of its last 11 home contests (9-2-0) against Florida.
Overall, the Blueshirts have won eight of their last nine games against the Panthers, dating back to Nov. 10, 2013 (8-1-0). In addition, the Rangers have won 13 of their last 17 games against Florida, dating back to Mar. 22, 2011 (13-4-0).
Brandon Pirri played parts of three seasons with Florida (2013-14 – 2015-16) and established a career-high with 22 goals while playing with the Panthers in 2014-15.
Jaromir Jagr played parts of four seasons with the Rangers (2003-04 – 2007-08) and established single-season franchise records with 54 goals and 123 points in 2005-06. Jagr also served as the Rangers captain for two seasons (2006-07 and 2007-08).
Keith Yandle played parts of two seasons with the Rangers (2014-15 and 2015-16).
Dylan McIlrath played parts of four seasons with the Blueshirts (2013-14 – 2016-17).
Jonathan Marchessault played one season with the Rangers’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Connecticut Whale (2011-12).
Roberto Luongo and Henrik Lundqvist rank first and second, respectively, among active NHL goaltenders in career appearances, wins, and shutouts.
90TH SEASON NOTE – Esa Tikkanen registered two overtime goals in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 1997 against Florida (Game 3 and Game 5), and his overtime goal in Game 5 ended the series. Tikkanen is one of four Rangers in franchise history who have tallied two overtime goals in the same playoff series (Don Raleigh – 1950 Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit; Pete Stemkowski – 1971 Semifinals against Chicago; Stephane Matteau – 1994 Eastern Conference Finals against New Jersey).
INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. PANTHERS
Henrik Lundqvist – 33 GP, 22-10-1, 1.91 GAA, .934 SV%, 5 SO – In his last 20 appearances against Florida (dating back to Nov. 25, 2009), Lundqvist has posted a 15-5-0 record, along with a 1.79 GAA, a .934 SV%, and 2 SO.
Rick Nash – 20 GP, 10-7-17 – Nash has registered six goals/points in the last five games against Florida.
Derek Stepan – 20 GP, 5-12-17 – Stepan has not gone two consecutive games without a point against Florida over the course of his career. He has notched an assist/point in seven of the last nine games against the Panthers, registering nine assists over the span.
Mats Zuccarello – 14 GP, 7-8-15 – Zuccarello has recorded a goal/point in three of the last five games against the Panthers (three goals, three assists), and he has posted five multi-point games in 14 career contests against Florida.
The Rangers’ 13 wins through 18 games this season are tied for the second-most the team has earned in the first 18 games of one season in franchise history. New York has earned 13 wins in the first 18 games of a season three times in franchise history (1972-73, 2015-16, and 2016-17).
Since Dec. 22, 2015, the Rangers have posted a 21-4-0 record in the game following a loss (regulation or overtime/shootout). New York has posted a 4-0-0 record in games following a loss in 2016-17.
The Rangers have registered 74 goals through the first 18 games of the 2016-17 season. New York has recorded at least 74 goals in the first 18 contests of a season for the first time since 1990-91 and for the sixth time in franchise history. The Rangers lead the NHL in goals per game this season (4.11).
The Rangers have tallied five or more goals in nine of the first 18 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 18 games of a season since Buffalo in 2006-07.
MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
The Rangers lead the NHL in goal differential this season (plus-32; 74 goals for, 42 goals against). The Rangers’ plus-32 goal differential through 18 games this season is the second-best goal differential the team has posted through the first 18 games of any season in franchise history (1971-72; plus-36).
The Rangers have posted an 8-2-0 record at home this season and have outscored opponents, 45-24, at MSG in 2016-17. New York leads the NHL in goals for (45) and goals per game (4.50) at home in 2016-17. The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 69 of their last 90 home games, dating back to Oct. 16, 2014 (60-21-9 record).
The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in 11 of the last 15 games. The Rangers 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).
The Rangers are the only NHL team that has 14 players who have tallied 10 or more points thus far this season.
Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei have both tallied 11 assists through the first 18 games of the season. Two Rangers defensemen have recorded 11 or more assists within the first 18 games of a season for the first time since 1993-94 (Leetch and Zubov).
UP FOR GRABS
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Michael Grabner is the first Ranger who has tallied 11 or more even strength goals in the team’s first 18 games of one season since Rod Gilbert in 1971-72. Grabner leads the NHL in even strength goals (11) and plus/minus rating (plus-17), and he is tied for second in the NHL in goals (11) this season.
Henrik Lundqvist is one of 10 goaltenders in NHL history who have earned at least 350 career wins and 60 career shutouts. Lundqvist has earned a win in five of his last six starts (5-1-0), posting a 1.84 GAA, a .940 SV%, and 1 SO over the span. In his last 10 starts, Lundqvist has posted an 8-2-0 record, along with a 2.01 GAA, a .931 SV%, and 1 SO. Lundqvist enters the contest with 699 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).
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 14 games, and he leads the team in points this season (17).
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei leads NHL rookies in assists this season (11), and he has tallied 10 assists/points in the last 13 games. He is tied for third among NHL defensemen in assists this season.
Ryan McDonagh is tied for third among NHL defensemen in assists this season (11). He has led the Rangers in ice time in each of the first 18 games in 2016-17. McDonagh is one of 11 NHL players who have averaged at least 18:00 of even strength ice time per game, 3:00 of power play ice time per game, and 2:00 of shorthanded ice time per game this season.
Mika Zibanejad is expected to skate in his 300th career NHL game in tomorrow’s contest. He has registered a point in four of the last five games (two goals, three assists), and he is tied for third on the Rangers in points this season (14).
The Rangers were 0-for-2 (4:00) on Nov. 18 at Columbus.
The Blueshirts rank fifth in the NHL in power play efficiency this season (23.2%; 13-for-56).
New York has recorded a power play goal in eight of the last 14 games and in 10 of 18 games in 2016-17.
The Rangers were 2-for-2 (4:00) on Nov. 18 at Columbus.
The Blueshirts rank eighth in the NHL in penalty kill efficiency this season (85.7%; 42-for-49).
The Rangers have not allowed a power play goal against in six of the last seven games. The Blueshirts have killed off 19 of their opponents’ last 20 power play opportunities (over an eight-game stretch), dating back to Nov. 3 vs. Edmonton (95.0% over the span).
New York is tied for fifth in the NHL in shorthanded goals this season (two).
Henrik Lundqvist – 1 appearance away from 700 in his NHL career/as a Ranger
Mika Zibanejad – 1 game away from 300 in his NHL career; 3 assists away from 100 in his NHL career
Kevin Hayes – 3 points away from 100 in his NHL career/as a Ranger
INJURIES (36 Man-Games Lost to Injury)
Pavel Buchnevich (back spasms) – has missed three games
Nov. 14 – Recalled Cristoval Nieves from Hartford (AHL)
Nov. 17 – Assigned Cristoval Nieves to Hartford (AHL)
THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY
· Nov. 19, 1991 – Mark Messier registered a hat trick – his first as a Ranger – and tallied his 400th career NHL goal as the Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks, 4-3.
· Nov. 19, 2006 – Jaromir Jagr recorded his 600th career NHL goal as the Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1, at MSG.
· Nov. 20, 1926 – The Rangers played their first road game in franchise history and earned their first road win, defeating the Toronto St. Pats, 5-1. Rangers captain Bill Cook tallied three goals to register the first hat trick in franchise history.
· Nov. 20, 1949 – Tony Leswick registered three goals in a span of 3:05 (which at the time was a franchise record for the fastest hat trick) as the Rangers defeated the Chicago Black Hawks, 5-2.