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GAME NOTES: Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Tonight's Game

The Rangers face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.) in the first game of a three-game homestand. The Blueshirts are currently in third place in the Atlantic Division standings with a record of 20-17-5, and rank seventh in the Eastern Conference with 45 points. New York enters the contest having lost to the Oilers, 3-2, in a shootout on Saturday at Rexall Place and have now earned at least one point in five of their last eight games for a record of 3-3-2 over the span. Following tonight's contest, the Rangers will take on their division rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, on Thursday, January 10 (7:00 p.m.) and will close out their homestand against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, January 12 (7:00 p.m.). The Lightning, 15-22-5, are currently in fifth place in the Southeast Division with 35 points and have lost their last seven games.

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Tune In Tonight!
Tonight's game will be televised on MSG. You can also catch the radio broadcast on Radio Disney (1560 AM).

Rangers vs. Lightning Pre-Game Notes:

* The Rangers are 13-8-0 at MSG this season; The Lightning have posted a 3-14-3 record in 20 road contests.

* The Rangers are 6-3-2 against the Southeast Division this season; The Lightning are 2-6-1 vs. Atlantic Division opponents.

* New York has tallied 19 goals in their last 83 power play opportunities (22.9%), including six multi-goal efforts, in the last 18 games.

* New York has posted a record of 3-0-0 in their last three games against Tampa Bay overall, outscoring the 'Ning 10-2 over the span.

* The Blueshirts are 4-0-1 in their last five games vs. the Lightning at MSG.

* The Rangers have posted a 12-3-1 record in 16 games at MSG vs. Southeast Division opponents over the last two seasons.

* Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 6-2-2 record, along with a 1.78 goals-against average and one shutout in 10 career regular season appearances vs. Tampa Bay; He is 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals against in two games vs. the Lightning this season.

* In the season series, Brendan Shanahan leads the Rangers with two goals and hree points in two games vs. the Lightning.

* Jaromir Jagr has registered 68 points (30 goals and 38 assists) in 56 career games vs. the Lightning, including one hat trick -- February 4, 2003 at Tampa Bay (Grahame); Brendan Shanahan has notched 18 goals and 18 assists for 36 points in 32 career games vs. Tampa Bay; Martin Straka has collected 43 points (14 goals and 29 assists) in 45 career contests with the Lightning.

* Jagr has tallied several milestone goals vs. the Lightning, including his 300th goal (Apr. 15, 1998), 500th goal (Feb. 4, 2003) and 600th goal (Nov. 19, 2006).

* The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL with 26 goals scored by defensemen, accounting for 25.5% of the Blueshirts' scoring and trailing the Chicago Blackhawks by one goal for the league lead; Michal Rozsival is tied for second in the NHL among defensemen with 10 goals, and Dan Girardi is tied for fifth with eight goals.

* The Blueshirts rank fourth in the NHL in faceoff winning percentage, having won 1,187 of 2,260 faceoffs for a success rate of 52.5% this season; Chris Drury (55.5%) and Scott Gomez (54.7%) rank seventh and 14th in the league, respectively.

* The 2008 IIHF World Under-20 Championship concluded on Saturday in the Czech Republic; Six Rangers prospects, tied for the most of any NHL team (Philadelphia), competed in the elite tournament and three returned home with medals - Carl Hagelin (Sweden - Silver), Artem Anisimov (Russia - Bronze) and Alexei Cherepanov (Russia - Bronze).

* The Rangers have one former Lightning player on their roster; Paul Mara (1998-99 to 2000-01).

* The Lightning roster lists four former Rangers; Jan Hlavac (1999-00 to 2000-01, 2003-04), Johan Holmqvist (2000-01 to 2002-03), Tim Taylor (1999-00 to 2000-01), and Jason Ward (2005-06 to 2006-07).

All-Time - Rangers vs. Lightning
Overall: 30-24-5-3
At MSG: 17-11-2-2
At Tampa Bay: 13-13-3-1

2007-08 – Rangers vs. Lightning
October 29 Rangers 3 vs. Lightning 1 at MSG
November 21 Rangers 2 vs. Lightning 1 at Tampa
January 8 Rangers vs. Lightning at MSG
March 15 Rangers vs. Lightning at Tampa

Upcoming Regular Season Schedule
Jan. 8 Rangers vs. Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
Jan. 10 Rangers vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Jan. 12 Rangers vs. Montreal, 7 p.m.
Jan. 14 Rangers at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Jan. 16 Rangers vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.

Recent New York Rangers Games

Last 5 NYR games: 2-2-1
Last 10 NYR games: 4-4-2

* Sean Avery suffered a hand contusion on Saturday at Edmonton.

* Martin Straka suffered a concussion on Saturday at Edmonton.

* Brendan Shanahan suffered a knee contusion on Saturday at Edmonton.

* The Rangers have lost 81 manpower games due to injury or illness this season.

Highlights from Hartford
Follow the progress of the Rangers' top prospects:

The Wolf Pack are 0-2-0-1 in their last three games, their longest winless streak of the season, after a 3-2 home loss to Lowell (New Jersey affiliate) on Saturday. That followed a 5-4 defeat to Hershey (Washington affiliate) at the XL Center on Friday and a 3-2 shootout loss on home ice to Portland (Anaheim affiliate)  Wednesday. The Pack are still 10-5-0-3 in their last 18 games, but have gone 0-3-0-2 in their last five home contests and 1-4-0-2 in their last seven at home. The Wolf Pack hit the road this week, playing back-to-back games in Norfolk (Tampa Bay affiliate) Friday and Saturday (both 7:15) and visiting Hershey on Sunday (5:00).

Individual highlights of the Pack's recent games included:

Alex Bourret snapped a string of eight games without a point by scoring a goal in Friday night’s 5-4 home loss to Hershey.

Nigel Dawes tallied 1-1-2 in Saturday night’s 3-2 defeat vs. Lowell, after bagging two goals Friday against Hershey.  Has 5-1-6 in his last four AHL games and 8-10-18 in his last 10.

Andrew Hutchinson is tied for fourth among AHL defensemen in points and assists (5-20-25 in 32 GP), after contributing an assist Saturday night against Lowell.

Greg Moore
leads the AHL in plus/minus with a +22, and is tied for fifth in the league in goals (17).  

Pierre Parenteau chipped in two assists in Friday’s 5-4 loss vs. Hershey, and tallied 1-1-2 Saturday night against Lowell, after being held without a goal in the previous nine games.

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