The Rangers will begin their 2013-14 regular season against the Phoenix Coyotes tomorrow at Jobing.com Arena (10:00 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in their first of nine straight games on the road. This will be the sixth consecutive season the Blueshirts will open their regular season campaign on the road, and the 12th time in the last 14 seasons. Last season, the Rangers finished second in the Atlantic Division Standings, and sixth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 26-18-4 (56 pts). The Coyotes finished the 2012-13 season with a 21-18-9 (51 pts) record to rank 10th in the Western Conference. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, Oct. 7, at Staples Center (10:30 p.m.), to begin a stretch of four games in six days.
Rangers vs Phoenix Coyotes Pregame Notes
*Last Season: Did not play. In 2011-12, New York was 2-0-0 overall (1-0-0 mark at home; 1-0-0 mark on the road). Both contests were decided by one goal, including a 2-1 shootout win on Jan. 10, 2012, at MSG. The Rangers out-shot the Coyotes, 62-42, including a 21-10 advantage in the first period and a 23-12 advantage in the third period, and out-scored Phoenix 3-1 in the third period. Three different Rangers combined to score the team's four goals in the series, including a game-winner by Brad Richards on Dec. 17, 2011 at Phoenix, and nine different Blueshirts tallied at least one point in the two games. Henrik Lundqvist was 1-0-0 with a 0.93 GAA and .947 Sv%, while Martin Biron was 1-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA and .913 Sv%.
* The Blueshirts enter tonight's contest with a three-game winning streak against the Coyotes.
* The Rangers have won eight of their last 10 games against the Coyotes, including a 3-1 mark at Phoenix over the span, dating back to a 3-2 win on Oct. 28, 2002.
* Each of the last four meetings between the Rangers and Coyotes have been decided by one goal, including two contests that required the shootout.
* New York tied for 19th in the NHL with a 10-12-2 (22 pts) record on the road last season; Phoenix tied for 15th with a 14-8-2 (30 pts) mark at home last season.
* The Rangers were 10-6-2 vs. the Western Conference in 2011-12; the Coyotes were 8-7-3 vs. the Eastern Conference in 2011-12.
* New York lists one former Coyote on their roster: Taylor Pyatt (2009-10 - 2011-12).
* Phoenix lists two former Rangers on their roster: Lauri Korpikoski (2008-09); Derek Morris (2008-09).
All Time - Rangers vs. Coyotes
At Madison Square Garden: 22-10-2-0
At Phoenix: 16-14-4-0
Individual Career Leaders vs. Coyotes:
* Henrik Lundqvist — 4 GP, 4-0-0, 1.71 GAA
* Martin Biron — 11 GP, 5-4-0-1, 2.38 GAA, 1 SO
* Rick Nash — 34 GP, 17-16-33
* Brad Richards — 27 GP, 5-13-18
* Derick Brassard — 19 GP, 6-9-15
* Dan Girardi — 7 GP, 3-1-4
* The Rangers are 35-37-14 all-time in 86 season-opening games, including a 25-28-9 record in 62 season openers away from MSG. The Blueshirt's .476 win% in season openers on the road ranks 10th in the NHL.
* New York has out-scored their opponents, 244-242 in season-openers
* Blueshirts legend Andy Bathgate holds the franchise record, and is tied for second all-time in the NHL, for most assists and points in a season-opening game, having registered four assists and five points on Oct. 7, 1955 at Chicago. Former Ranger Walt Tkaczuk also tallied four assists in a season-opening game on Oct. 9, 1974 vs. Washington.
* Derek Stepan tallied three goals while making his NHL debut in the 2010-11 season opener on Oct. 9, 2010 at Buffalo. His three goals tied the franchise record for goals in a season opener, and he became the fourth player in NHL history and first Ranger to register a hat trick in his NHL debut. Ron Murphy, who skated with the Rangers from 1952-53 to 1956-57, also tallied three goals in the 1955-56 season opener at Chicago on Oct. 7, 1955.
* Stepan is one of four active players who have notched a hat trick in a season-opening game (Teemu Selanne, Paul Stastny, and Mikhail Grabovski)
* Former Rangers' captain Jaromir Jagr holds the team record for fastest goal to start a game in a season opener with his goal just 29 seconds into the contest on Oct. 5, 2006 vs. Washington
* Andy Bathgate, Rod Gilbert and Walt Tkaczuk are tied for the Rangers' record for most career points in season-opening games, with each player having tallied 13 career points in season openers
* Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault has posted a 3-5-1-2 record in 11 career season-opening games
* Henrik Lundqvist is 4-2-1 with a 2.42 GAA and a .918 Sv% in seven career season-openers
* Brad Richards is tied for third in the NHL in goals (seven) and seventh in points (13) in 12 career season-opening games entering the 2013-14 season *Elias Sports Bureau
New (and familiar) Faces
The Rangers have three new players on their opening night roster: Jesper Fast, Justin Falk, and Benoit Pouliot. In addition, Dominic Moore will be making his return to the Rangers lineup after skating with the Blueshirts from 2003-04 to 2005-06, and Derek Dorsett is looking to make his regular season debut after skating in 11 playoff contests with the Rangers last season.
The Rangers enter the season having played 5,942 regular season games throughout the franchise's 88 seasons, just 58 games shy of 6,000 all-time. The Blueshirts are scheduled to play their 6,000th game all-time on February 6 against the Edmonton Oilers at Madison Square Garden.
* The Blueshirts were the least penalized team in the NHL last season with 183 penalties and 9.2 penalty minutes per game
* New York ranked third in the NHL with 1,413 hits, and sixth in the league with 773 blocked shots last season
* The Rangers held opponents to 2.25 GA/game last season, which ranked third in the East and fourth in the NHL overall
* Last season, the Blueshirts led the NHL in goal scoring after the trade deadline on Apr. 3, averaging 3.6 goals per contest. Prior to the trade deadline, the Rangers averaged 2.4 goals per game.
Finishing the Job
The Blueshirts have registered a point in 92 consecutive regular season games when leading after the second period, dating back to the 2009-10 season, posting a record of 85-0-6 over the span. The Rangers’ last regulation loss in a game when entering the third with the lead was Feb. 4, 2010 (6-5 loss vs. WSH). New York posted a 16-0-0 record when leading after the second period last season.
The King's Reign
* Henrik Lundqvist is one of four active NHL goalies to reach the 20-win mark in eight consecutive seasons (Brodeur, 12; Luongo, 9; Vokoun, 9), and is the only goaltender with an active streak of eight straight 20-win seasons
* Was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season, the fifth time in his eight-year career he has been voted a finalist for the award which he won in 2012
* Finished last season tied for the league lead with 24 wins, becoming the first Rangers goaltender to lead the league in wins since Mike Richter in 1993-94 (42)
* Passed Ed Giacomin as the franchise leader in career total shutouts (regular season + playoffs) with a 20-save shutout in last season's finale against New Jersey, the 51st total shutout of his career
* The Blueshirts' netminder has captured Rangers’ MVP honors for a franchise record, seven consecutive years. His seven Rangers’ MVP awards are also a franchise record, passing Brian Leetch (six) for the most in franchise history.
Nine Straight For Nash
Rick Nash enters the season as the only player in the NHL with an active streak of nine consecutive 20-goal seasons.
Rangers Record When … (last season):
Scoring First — 18-2-1 (2nd in NHL)
Leading After 1st Period — 13-0-1 (2nd in NHL)
Leading After 2nd Period — 16-0-0 (1st in NHL)
In Overtime — 4-0-0
Out-Shooting Opponents — 15-9-3 (T-13th in NHL)
Out-Scoring Opponents On Special Teams — 12-1-1
In 1-Goal Games — 12-5-4 (9th in NHL)
Scoring 4+ Goals — 17-0-0
Holding Opponents to 2-or-fewer Goals — 22-1-1
Holding Opponents to 1-or-fewer Goals — 14-0-0
Milestones in Sight
Arron Asham — 10 penalty minutes from 1,000th NHL career
John Moore — 1 game from 100th NHL career
Marc Staal — 3 points from 100th NHL career
Anton Stralman — 1 point from 100th NHL career
Ryan Callahan (IR - 9/30; shoulder, 2-4 weeks)
Carl Hagelin (IR - 9/30; shoulder, out indefinitely)
Total Man-Games Lost: 0