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Pregame Notes: Rangers at Penguins 04.05.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

NEW YORK RANGERS at PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Saturday, Apr. 6, 2019, 7:00 p.m. ET
PPG Paints Arena - Pittsburgh, PA
TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Rangers: 31-36-14 (76 pts)
Penguins: 44-26-11 (99 pts)

The Rangers play their 82nd and final game of the 2018-19 season and conclude a back-to-back set on Saturday, Apr. 6, against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Metropolitan Division matchup at PPG Paints Arena (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM).

TOMORROW STARTS TODAY

Through seven trades made leading up to the NHL's Trade Deadline in both 2018 and 2019, the Rangers acquired 22 assets in exchange for eight players who were on the team's roster. Among the assets acquired were:

  • Four picks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft (including two first-round picks)
  • Six picks in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft (including one first-round pick and two second-round picks which could become first-round picks)
  • Five players who were 22 years old or younger at the time they were acquired (Brett Howden, Brendan Lemieux, Libor Hajek, Ryan Lindgren, and Yegor Rykov)

The Rangers either have made, or will make, seven selections in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft over a three-year period from 2017 - 2019. Since the start of the NHL Entry Draft Era in 1979 (following the NHL-WHA merger), no NHL team has made more than seven first-round selections in a three-year span. In addition, for the first time in franchise history (since the inception of the NHL Amateur/Entry Draft in 1963), the Rangers have had multiple first-round picks in three consecutive years (two first-round selections in 2017, three first-round selections in 2018, and two first-round selections in 2019).

In 2018, the Rangers selected three players in the first round of the same NHL Amateur/Entry Draft for the first time in franchise history. The Blueshirts used their three first-round picks to select Vitali Kravtsov, K'Andre Miller, and Nils Lundkvist.

  • Kravtsov - led all KHL players younger than 20 years old in goals (eight), assists (13), and points (21) during the regular season in 2018-19; Kravtsov's 21 points are tied for the ninth-most by a KHL player younger than 20 years old in the league's history (tied with Artemi Panarin)
  • Miller - leads NCAA freshmen defensemen (min. 25 games played) in assists per game (0.65) and points per game (0.85) in 2018-19; named one of the finalists for the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, and was named an Honorable Mention for the All-Big Ten Hockey Team in 2018-19
  • Lundkvist - led SHL defensemen younger than 19 years old in assists (seven) and points (10) during the regular season in 2018-19; over the last 30 seasons (since 1989-90) in the SHL, Lundkvist is one of 14 defensemen younger than 19 years old who have who have tallied 10 or more points in a single season, and his 10 points are tied for the 10th-most by a defenseman younger than 19 years old in the league over the span

The Rangers made 10 selections overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, which was the most the team made in one year since the NHL adopted a seven-round Draft format beginning in 2005. The Blueshirts currently have 10 picks in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft (their own first-round pick, Winnipeg's first-round pick, their own second-round pick, either Dallas' second-round pick or first-round pick, either Tampa Bay's second-round pick or first-round pick, their own third-round pick, Columbus' fourth-round pick, their own fifth-round pick, their own sixth-round pick, and Columbus' seventh-round pick).

RANGERS VS. PENGUINS

  • All-Time: 128-113-23-14 (71-54-9-7 at home; 57-59-14-7 on the road)
  • 2018-19: Saturday's game is the fourth of four meetings between the Rangers and Penguins, and the second of two meetings between the two teams at Pittsburgh. The Rangers have posted a 0-3-0 record (0-2-0 at home; 0-1-0 on the road), and the Penguins won the last meeting between the two teams, 5-2, on Mar. 25 at MSG. Mika Zibanejad (one goal, two assists), Kevin Shattenkirk (three assists), and Tony DeAngelo (three assists) are tied for the team lead with three points in the season series. New York is 2-for-8 (25.0%) on the power play in three games.
  • The Rangers have earned at least one point in 17 of their last 26 games against the Penguins, dating back to Apr. 3, 2013 (11-9-6 record over the span).
  • Six of the last nine meetings between the Rangers and Penguins have been decided by one goal, and three of those nine contests have been decided in either overtime or a shootout. In addition, nine of the last 25 meetings between the two teams have been decided in either overtime or a shootout.
  • The Rangers have recorded eight power play goals in their last nine games against the Penguins (8-for-23; 34.8%). The Blueshirts have also tallied 19 power play goals in their last 26 contests against Pittsburgh (19-for-79; 24.1% over the span).
  • Brian Leetch is the Rangers' all-time leader in games played (72), assists (70), and points (89) against the Penguins. Jean Ratelle is the Rangers' all-time leader in goals against Pittsburgh (23), while Brad Park has posted the best plus/minus rating of any Ranger against the Penguins (plus-38 in 31 games).

RANGERS-PENGUINS CONNECTIONS

  • Glen Sather played parts of two seasons with the Penguins (1969-70 and 1970-71).
  • Matt Cullen played one season with the Rangers (2006-07).
  • Zach Aston-Reese is a native of Staten Island, New York.
  • Mike Sullivan served as an Assistant Coach with the Rangers for four seasons (2009-10 - 2012-13). Sullivan was selected by the Rangers in the fourth round (69th overall) of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Greg Brown played part of one season with the Penguins (1993-94).
  • David Quinn and Mike Sullivan were teammates at Boston University for two seasons (1986-87 and 1987-88; Quinn did not play in 1987-88 due to injury). In addition, Quinn and Sullivan were members of the same coaching staff with the United States at the 2007 IIHF World Championship.
  • Neal Pionk and Adam Johnson were teammates with Team North of the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League in 2012-13, with the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) for two seasons (2013-14 and 2014-15), and with the University of Minnesota Duluth for two seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17). Pionk and Johnson helped the University of Minnesota Duluth with the NCHC Championship and advance to the National Championship Game in 2016-17. In addition, both players were named to the USHL's First All-Star Team in 2014-15.
  • Neal Pionk and Jake Guentzel were teammates with the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) for part of one season (2012-13). Guentzel and Vinni Lettieri were both selected to the USHL All-Rookie Team in 2012-13.
  • Vinni Lettieri and Zach Aston-Reese were teammates with the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League (USHL) for parts of two seasons (2011-12 and 2012-13).
  • Chris Kreider and Brian Dumoulin were teammates at Boston College for three seasons (2009-10 - 2011-12) and helped the school win the National Championship twice (2009-10 and 2011-12). Greg Brown was an Assistant Coach at Boston College for all three seasons. Kreider and Dumoulin were both selected in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Chris Kreider, Brian Dumoulin, and Nick Bjugstad helped the United States earn a bronze medal at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Connor Brickley and Garrett Wilson were teammates in the Panthers organization for parts of three seasons (2013-14 - 2015-16).
  • Connor Brickley and Erik Gudbranson were teammates with the Panthers for part of one season (2015-16).
  • Vladislav Namestnikov and Olli Maatta were teammates with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for one season (2011-12) and helped the Knights win the OHL Championship.
  • Brendan Lemieux and Joseph Blandisi were teammates with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for parts of two seasons (2013-14 and 2014-15). Lemieux and Blandisi also both played with the Toronto Red Wings Minor Midget AAA Team in the Greater Toronto Minor Midget Hockey League (GTMMHL).
  • Brendan Smith and Justin Schultz were teammates at the University of Wisconsin for one season (2009-10).
  • Brady Skjei and Nick Bjugstad were teammates at the University of Minnesota for one season (2012-13).
  • Brady Skjei and Nick Bjugstad represented the United States at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.
  • Henrik Lundqvist and Sidney Crosby were both selected to the NHL's All-Rookie Team in 2005-06. Since they entered the NHL in 2005-06, Lundqvist leads the league in wins and Crosby leads the league in points.
  • Henrik Lundqvist and Evgeni Malkin were both selected to the NHL's First All-Star Team in 2011-12, while Lundqvist and Kris Letang were both selected to the NHL's Second All-Star Team in 2012-13.
  • Henrik Lundqvist and Patric Hornqvist have represented Sweden in several tournaments, including the 2010 Winter Olympics, the 2008 IIHF World Championship, and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
  • Marc Staal and Kris Letang helped Canada win a gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship in back-to-back years (2006 and 2007).
  • Mika Zibanejad, Lias Andersson, and Patric Hornqvist helped Sweden win a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.
  • Connor Brickley and Bryan Rust helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2010 IIHF U18 World Championship.
  • Chris Kreider, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Jack Johnson represented the United States at the 2011 IIHF World Championship.
  • Vladislav Namestnikov and Evgeni Malkin represented Russia at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
  • Connor Brickley and Nick Bjugstad represented the United States at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Phil Kessel was selected by Boston in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft; Boston's Interim General Manager was Jeff Gorton.
  • David Quinn has coached Phil Kessel with the United States in several tournaments, including the 2004 World U17 Hockey Challenge, the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championship, and the 2007 IIHF World Championship.
  • David Quinn coached Phil Kessel and Jack Johnson at both the 2004 World U17 Hockey Challenge and the 2007 IIHF World Championship. Quinn and Mike Sullivan both coached Kessel and Johnson in 2007.
  • Kevin Shattenkirk and Phil Kessel represented the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
  • Marc Staal, Sidney Crosby, and Jack Johnson were all selected in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Of the 30 players selected in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Staal and Crosby are only two of four players who are still playing for the team that drafted them (Carey Price - Montreal; Anze Kopitar - Los Angeles).
  • Brady Skjei and Olli Maatta were selected in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Pavel Buchnevich and Jake Guentzel were both selected in the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft (Buchnevich - 75th overall by the Rangers; Guentzel - 77th overall by Pittsburgh).
  • Tony DeAngelo and Jared McCann were both selected in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Marc Staal and Matt Murray are both natives of Thunder Bay, Ontario.
  • Greg Brown and Bill Guerin were teammates at Boston College for two seasons (1988-89 and 1989-90).
  • Mika Zibanejad and Sergei Gonchar were teammates with the Senators for parts of two seasons (2011-12 and 2012-13).
  • Sergei Gonchar was coached by Lindy Ruff for parts of two seasons with the Stars (2013-14 and 2014-15) and by Jim Schoenfeld for parts of three seasons with the Capitals (1994-95 - 1996-97).
  • Lindy Ruff was one of Sidney Crosby's Assistant Coaches with Team Canada when Canada won a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Winter Olympics. Jim Ramsay was Team Canada's Athletic Trainer in both tournaments.
  • Jake Guentzel and former Ranger (and current Director of Player Development) Jed Ortmeyer are two of three players in NHL history who were born in Nebraska. 

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. PENGUINS

  • Vladislav Namestnikov - 13 GP, 4-7-11 - Namestnikov has registered a point in eight of 13 career games against Pittsburgh, and he has recorded more assists and points against the Penguins than against any other opponent in his NHL career.
  • Chris Kreider - 21 GP, 4-9-13 - Kreider established a single-game career-high with four points (one goal, three assists) on Mar. 14, 2018 against Pittsburgh at MSG. He has tallied 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his last 14 games against the Penguins.
  • Mika Zibanejad - 17 GP, 5-7-12 - Zibanejad has registered 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his last 14 games against Pittsburgh, including nine points (three goals, six assists) in his last nine contests and eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last seven games against the Penguins.
  • Kevin Shattenkirk - 15 GP, 2-7-9 - Shattenkirk has registered a point in seven of his last 10 games against Pittsburgh (one goal, seven assists), including an assist/point in four of his last six contests against the Penguins (five assists).
  • Ryan Strome - 18 GP, 4-4-8 - Strome has recorded a goal/point in two of his three games against Pittsburgh as a member of the Rangers (two goals).
  • Jesper Fast - 17 GP, 3-3-6 - Fast has tallied a goal/point in two of his last four games against the Penguins (two goals), and he has also notched six points (three goals, three assists) in his last 13 games against Pittsburgh.
  • Pavel Buchnevich - 9 GP, 3-2-5 - Buchnevich has recorded a point in five of the last seven games against the Penguins (three goals, two assists).
  • Tony DeAngelo - 4 GP, 0-4-4 - DeAngelo has recorded an assist/point in each of his last three games against Pittsburgh (four assists over the span).
  • Neal Pionk - 4 GP, 0-3-3 - Pionk established single-game career-highs with three assists and three points against the Penguins on Mar. 14, 2018 at MSG.
  • Vinni Lettieri - 2 GP, 1-1-2 - Lettieri has recorded a point in each of his two career games against Pittsburgh.
  • Brendan Lemieux - 5 GP, 2-0-2 - Lemieux has tallied a goal/point in two of his last four games against the Penguins.
  • Connor Brickley - 3 GP, 0-2-2 - Brickley registered two assists, including his first career NHL assist, on Oct. 20, 2015 at Pittsburgh as a member of the Florida Panthers.

CONNECTING THE DOTS

Several Rangers players have connections with fellow members of the Blueshirts and/or members of the team's coaching staff in addition to being teammates with the Rangers:

  • Pavel Buchnevich and Alexandar Georgiev were teammates while representing Russia in international competition during the 2014-15 season.
  • Fredrik Claesson and Mika Zibanejad were teammates with several teams prior to joining the Rangers:
    • The two were teammates in Sweden with Djurgardens' U18 team, U20 team in SuperElit, and professional team in the SHL over the course of three seasons (2009-10 - 2011-12).
    • Zibanejad and Claesson helped Sweden earn a gold medal at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.
    • Claesson and Zibanejad were both selected by the Ottawa Senators in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and were teammates in the Senators' organization (either with Ottawa or with Ottawa's American Hockey League (AHL) team, the Binghamton Senators) for parts of three seasons (2012-13 - 2013-14; 2015-16).
  • Fredrik Claesson and Jesper Fast represented Sweden in several tournaments over the course of three seasons (2009-10 - 2011-12).
  • Chris Kreider and Neal Pionk helped the United States earn a bronze medal at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.
  • Chris Kreider and Kevin Shattenkirk represented the United States at the 2011 IIHF World Championship.
  • Kevin Shattenkirk was coached by David Quinn on several teams throughout his career before Quinn became the Rangers Head Coach:
    • Quinn was an Associate Head Coach at Boston University for two seasons while Shattenkirk attended the school (2007-08 and 2008-09), and Boston University won the National Championship in 2008-09.
    • Quinn was Shattenkirk's first Head Coach in professional hockey, as he coached Shattenkirk for parts of two seasons (2009-10 and 2010-11) with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League (AHL).
  • David Oliver served as the Avalanche's Director of Player Development for two seasons (2009-10 and 2010-11) while Kevin Shattenkirk was in the organization. Shattenkirk made his professional hockey debut in 2009-10 and his NHL debut with Colorado in 2010-11.
  • Kevin Shattenkirk and Brendan Smith were both selected in the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft (Shattenkirk - 14th overall by Colorado; Smith - 27th overall by Detroit).
  • Kevin Shattenkirk is a native of New Rochelle, New York. He was a Rangers fan growing up, and his favorite player was Brian Leetch.
  • Kevin Shattenkirk was coached by Rangers TV/Radio Analyst Dave Maloney when he was in high school.
  • Brady Skjei was coached by David Quinn at the 2016 IIHF World Championship (Quinn was an Assistant Coach with Team USA).
  • Brady Skjei was coached by Greg Brown at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship (Brown was an Assistant Coach with Team USA).
  • Ryan Strome and Mika Zibanejad were selected with back-to-back picks in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft (Strome - fifth overall by the NY Islanders; Zibanejad - sixth overall by Ottawa). Vladislav Namestnikov was also selected in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Jimmy Vesey and Connor Brickley both attended Belmont Hill School in Massachusetts; Brickley's final season at the school was in 2008-09, and Vesey's final season at the school was in 2010-11.
  • Lias Andersson's uncle, Mikael Andersson, was teammates with Lindy Ruff as members of the Buffalo Sabres (1985-86 - 1988-89).
  • Lias Andersson's father, Niklas Andersson, was teammates with Henrik Lundqvist as members of Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) for four seasons (2001-02 - 2004-05).
  • Lias Andersson and Mika Zibanejad helped Sweden earn a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.
  • Filip Chytil and Libor Hajek represented the Czech Republic at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Brady Skjei and Vinni Lettieri were teammates at the University of Minnesota for two seasons (2013-14 and 2014-15). Lettieri and Ryan Lindgren were teammates at the University of Minnesota for one season (2016-17).
  • Brady Skjei and Ryan Lindgren's older brother, Charlie (a goaltender in the Canadiens' organization), were grew up together in Lakeville, Minnesota and were teammates at Lakeville North High School.
  • Ryan Lindgren was coached by Greg Brown (Assistant Coach) with the United States at the IIHF World Junior Championship in both 2017 and 2018; Team USA earned a gold medal in 2017 and a bronze medal in 2018.

YOUTH SERVED

The Rangers are currently the youngest team in the NHL (average age is 25.5 years old). At least one Ranger who is 23 years old or younger has tallied a goal in 13 of the last 15 games and in 15 of the last 18 games.

ON POINT

At least one Rangers defenseman has recorded a point in 27 of the team's last 30 games. Rangers defensemen have tallied 53 points (eight goals, 45 assists) in the last 29 games (note - does not include even strength points recorded by Brendan Smith, who has played as both a forward and a defenseman during the stretch).

KING HENRIK

Henrik Lundqvist has earned 449 wins in his NHL career. Lundqvist ranks sixth on the NHL's all-time wins list, and his 449 career wins with the Rangers are the second-most a goaltender has earned with one franchise in NHL history.

ALEXANDAR THE GREAT

Alexandar Georgiev made 94 consecutive saves and posted a shutout streak of 147:23, from the 15:02 mark of the first period Mar. 29 vs. St. Louis to the 2:25 mark of the third period on Apr. 5 vs. Columbus; according to NHL Stats & Information, Georgiev's streak of 94 consecutive saves is the longest by a Rangers goaltender since the start of the 1997-98 season. Over his last three appearances, he has posted a 2-0-1 record, along with a 1.31 GAA, a .966 SV% (112 saves on 116 shots), and 1 SO. 

MIKA MAGIC

Mika Zibanejad was named the Rangers' MVP and the winner of the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award in 2018-19. He is the sixth Ranger who has been named the Team's MVP (as chosen by the media) and has received the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award (as chosen by the fans) in the same season since 1987-88, which was the first year the Steven McDonald Extra Award was presented. Zibanejad joins Adam Graves (1992-93 and 1993-94), Mark Messier (1994-95 and 1995-96), Brian Leetch (1996-97), Wayne Gretzky (1997-98), and Henrik Lundqvist (2017-18) as the only players to win both awards in the same season. He leads the Rangers in goals (30), assists (44), and points (74) this season, and he has established career-highs in all three categories. Zibanejad is one of six NHL players who have registered 30 or more goals and have won 800 or more faceoffs this season (Barkov, Crosby, Larkin, Tavares, Toews). He is also the only Ranger who has skated in every game this season.

STROME SURGE

Ryan Strome has recorded 17 goals since he was acquired by the Rangers on Nov. 16; his 17 goals with the Rangers are tied for the most any NHL player acquired during the 2018-19 season has tallied with his new team (he is tied with his brother, Dylan Strome, who has recorded 17 goals with Chicago).

DE-FENSE

Tony DeAngelo has notched an assist/point in 15 of his last 25 games (16 assists) and in 17 of his last 29 games (18 assists). DeAngelo's 18 assists since Feb. 4 are tied for the fourth-most among NHL defensemen. He is one of six Rangers defensemen 23 years old or younger who have tallied 30 or more points in a season over the last 30 seasons (Leetch, Zubov, Del Zotto, McDonagh, and Skjei).

SPECIAL TEAMS

Power Play:

  • The Rangers did not have a power play opportunity tonight vs. Columbus.

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 2-for-2 (4:00) tonight vs. Columbus.

INJURIES (187 Man-Games Lost to Injury)

  • Libor Hajek (separated shoulder) - has missed 13 games
  • Jesper Fast (upper-body; out for season) - has missed nine games
  • Filip Chytil (upper-body) - has missed two games

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

  • Apr. 4 - Recalled Ryan Lindgren from Hartford (AHL)
  • Mar. 30 - Agreed to terms with free agent forward Patrick Newell

THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Apr. 6, 1950 - The Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 3-0, in Game 5 of the Semifinals to win the series, four games to one, and advance to the Stanley Cup Final. Hall of Fame goaltender (and 1949-50 Hart Trophy winner) Chuck Rayner posted his only career NHL playoff shutout to help the Blueshirts win the game.
  • Apr. 6, 1980 - Ron Duguay tallied a goal nine seconds into the Rangers' contest against the Philadelphia Flyers, which is the fastest goal from the start of a game in franchise history. The Blueshirts defeated the Flyers, 8-3, as Ron Greschner recorded four points (two goals, two assists) in the contest.

REMEMBERING 1993-94

When the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1993-94, Mark Messier became the first player in NHL history to serve as the captain of a Stanley Cup-winning team for two different franchises (Edmonton Oilers - 1989-90; Rangers - 1993-94).

RANGERS VS. PENGUINS - 1993-94

The Rangers posted a 2-2-0 record in four games against Pittsburgh during the 1993-94 season. The Blueshirts scored six power play goals in four games against the Penguins (6-for-23; 26.1%). Mark Messier led the Rangers with five points (two goals, three assists) in four games, while Sergei Zubov led the team with four assists in the season series.

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