The Rangers play their 36th game of the 2020-21 season and begin a two-game set today, Apr. 1, against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM).
RANGERS VS. SABRES
- All-Time: 80-79-25-5 (45-31-15-3 at home; 35-48-10-2 on the road)
- 2020-21: The Rangers are playing Buffalo in the fifth of eight games between the two teams, and the third of four meetings between the two teams at Buffalo. The Blueshirts have posted a 3-1-0 record and won the last meeting between the two teams, 5-3, on Mar. 22 at MSG. Each of the four contests has been decided by two or fewer goals, and three of the four contests have been decided by one goal. The Rangers have outshot the Sabres, 128-92, in the four contests. Pavel Buchnevich, Adam Fox, and Artemi Panarin are tied for first among all skaters with four assists and five points in the season series, while Chris Kreider leads all skaters with four goals in four games. The Rangers are also scheduled to play against the Sabres on the following dates: Apr. 3 (at Buffalo), Apr. 25 (at MSG), Apr. 27 (at MSG).
- New York is playing eight games against Buffalo in one season for the first time in franchise history; prior to the 2020-21 season, the most games the Rangers had played against the Sabres in one season was six (three times, most recently in 1972-73).
- The Rangers and Sabres are in the same division for the fifth season (1970-71 - 1973-74; 2020-21) - East (1970-71 - 1973-74), MassMutual NHL East (2020-21).
- The Rangers have won 10 of their last 13 games against the Sabres, dating back to Feb. 2, 2017 (10-3-0 record). In addition, the Rangers have won 19 of their last 25 games against Buffalo, dating back to Apr. 19, 2013 (19-6-0 record).
- The Rangers have won nine of their last 12 road games against the Sabres, dating back to Apr. 19, 2013 (9-3-0 record).
- Nine of the last 16 meetings between the Blueshirts and Sabres, including seven of the last 13 meetings and four of the last five contests, have been decided by one goal.
- Since Oct. 7, 2001, 52 of 67 regular season meetings between the Rangers and Sabres have been decided by two or fewer goals (77.6%), and 34 of 67 meetings have been decided by one goal or fewer (50.7%).
- Brian Leetch and Rod Gilbert both registered 41 points against Buffalo in their Rangers tenure, which is tied for the most points any Ranger has tallied against the Sabres in franchise history. Gilbert is the Rangers' all-time leader in goals against Buffalo (17) and Leetch is the Blueshirts' all-time leader in assists against the Sabres (38). Henrik Lundqvist's 22 career wins and 38 career appearances against the Sabres are each the most any Rangers goaltender has earned against Buffalo in franchise history.
- Most goals by the Rangers in one game against Buffalo: 9 - Dec. 27, 1974 vs. Buffalo (9-5 win)
- Most goals in one game by a Ranger against Buffalo: 3 (seven times) - most recently, Brad Richards on Apr. 19, 2013 at Buffalo
- Most assists in one game by a Ranger against Buffalo: 4 - Jean Ratelle on Dec. 27, 1974 vs. Buffalo
- Most points in one game by a Ranger against Buffalo: 5 (three times) - Dave Balon on Dec. 22, 1970 at Buffalo (three goals, two assists); Jean Ratelle on Dec. 27, 1974 vs. Buffalo (one goal, four assists); Derick Brassard on Jan. 25, 2016 vs. Buffalo (two goals, three assists)
- Most saves in one game by a Ranger against Buffalo: 47 (twice) - John Vanbiesbrouck on Mar. 4, 1988 at Buffalo; Mike Richter on Nov. 27, 2001 at Buffalo
- Last hat trick by a Ranger against Buffalo: Brad Richards on Apr. 19, 2013 at Buffalo
- Last hat trick by a Ranger at home against Buffalo: None
- Last shutout by a Ranger against Buffalo: Mar. 14, 2015 at Buffalo (Mackenzie Skapski - 20 saves in 2-0 win)
- Last shutout by a Ranger at home against Buffalo: Oct. 31, 2013 vs. Buffalo (Henrik Lundqvist - 29 saves in 2-0 win)
- Last Rangers overtime game against Buffalo: Jan. 28, 2021 at Buffalo (3-2 win; game-winning goal - Alexis Lafrenière at 2:47 of overtime)
STARS ON BROADWAY
A Ranger has been selected as one of the NHL's Three Stars of the Week in each of the last two weeks (Mika Zibanejad - Third Star for the week ending on Mar. 21; Adam Fox - First Star for the week ending on Mar. 28). The Rangers have had one of the NHL's Three Stars of the Week in two consecutive weeks for the first time since January of 2017 (Chris Kreider and Michael Grabner).
LEADING THE WAY
Since Mar. 17, several Rangers are among the NHL's leaders in various categories:
- Mika Zibanejad's eight goals and 16 points are each the most in the NHL, and his plus-nine rating is tied for the best in the NHL
- Adam Fox's 13 assists are the most in the NHL, his 15 points are the second-most in the NHL, and his plus-nine rating is tied for the best in the NHL
- Ryan Strome's 12 assists are the second-most in the NHL and his 13 points are tied for the third-most in the NHL
- Pavel Buchnevich's six goals are tied for the second-most in the NHL and his plus-nine rating is tied for the best in the NHL
MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
The Rangers have posted a plus-18 goal differential over the last eight games (36 goals for, 18 goals against) and a plus-21 goal differential over the last 10 games (44 goals for, 23 goals against).
The Blueshirts have tallied three or more goals in five of the last six games (26 goals over the span) and in eight of the last 10 games, including four or more goals in seven of the last 10 contests. Including team goals awarded for a shootout win, the Rangers have recorded at least three goals in 15 of the last 21 games and have tallied three or more goals in each of their 16 wins this season.
The Rangers registered 62 goals in March this season, and three players recorded at least 20 points during the month (Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Strome, and Adam Fox). According to NHL Stats and Information, the Rangers tallied at least 62 goals in one calendar month for the first time since December of 1995 (also 62 goals). Also according to NHL Stats and Information, the Blueshirts had three players tally 20 or more points in the same calendar month for only the sixth time in franchise history. The previous five instances were:
- February of 1972 - Jean Ratelle, Vic Hadfield, Rod Gilbert
- December of 1974 - Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle, Steve Vickers
- March of 1982 - Mike Rogers, Don Maloney, Eddie Johnstone
- January of 1989 - Tomas Sandstrom, Tony Granato, Carey Wilson
- December of 1995 - Mark Messier, Pat Verbeek, Brian Leetch
Of the six instances, only December of 1995 and March of 2021 included two forwards and one defenseman recording at least 20 points in the same calendar month.
Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin each reached the 30-point plateau for the 2020-21 season on Mar. 30 vs. Washington. The Rangers have four players who have tallied 30 or more points this season (Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich, Panarin, and Fox), and the Blueshirts are one of three NHL teams that have four players who have registered at least 30 points in 2020-21 (Tampa Bay and Winnipeg). The Rangers have four players who have recorded 30 or more points in the team's first 35 games of a season for the first time since 2006-07 (Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka, Michael Nylander, and Brendan Shanahan). In addition, the 2020-21 season is the first time the Rangers have had at least three forwards and one defenseman record 30 or more points through the team's first 35 games of a season since 1995-96 (Mark Messier, Pat Verbeek, Luc Robitaille, Ray Ferraro, Adam Graves, and Brian Leetch).
OUT FOR THE KILL
Among the 100 NHL players who have logged at least 70:00 of shorthanded ice time this season, Ryan Lindgren, Pavel Buchnevich, and Adam Fox rank first, second, and third, respectively in power play goals against per 60 minutes of shorthanded ice time (Lindgren - 1.98; Buchnevich - 2.84; Fox - 3.48).
Over the Rangers' last 31 games (dating back to Jan. 24), Lindgren, Buchnevich, and Fox have each been on the ice for more shorthanded goals the Rangers have scored than power play goals the Rangers have allowed.
- Lindgren - 2 shorthanded goals for, 1 power play goal against
- Fox - 4 shorthanded goals for, 2 power play goals against
- Buchnevich - 4 shorthanded goals for, 3 power play goals against
Lindgren has not been on the ice for a power play goal against in 30 of the last 31 games, and he has logged a team-high 79:40 of shorthanded ice time over the span.
SHUTTING THE DOOR
New York has held its opponent to 30 shots on goal or fewer in 11 of the last 14 games and in 23 of 35 games this season. The Rangers have allowed 28.7 shots on goal against per game this season (10th-fewest in the NHL).
DRAW IT UP
The Rangers lead the NHL in penalties drawn (159) and rank second in net penalties (plus-21) this season.
WHAT THE FOX SAYS
Adam Fox was selected as the NHL's First Star of the Week for the week ending on Mar. 28. Since the NHL began awarding Three Stars of the Week at the start of the 2006-07 season, he is only the eighth defenseman (and first Rangers defenseman) who has been named the NHL's First Star of the Week (along with Victor Hedman, John Carlson, Mark Giordano (twice), Alex Pietrangelo, Dustin Byfuglien, Erik Karlsson, and Tomas Kaberle), and it is the ninth such instance that an NHL defenseman has been named the league's First Star of the Week. Fox recorded 20 points (three goals, 17 assists) in March this season; he became the first Ranger to record at least 17 assists in one calendar month since Jaromir Jagr (18 in Dec. of 2005) and the first Rangers defenseman to do so since Brian Leetch (18 in Dec. of 1995). According to NHL Stats and Information, he also became the third Rangers defenseman to tally at least 20 points in one calendar month in franchise history (Leetch (five times) and Brad Park). Fox has tallied 23 points (three goals, 20 assists) over his last 18 games (since Feb. 24); his 20 assists and 23 points are each the most among NHL defensemen over the span, and his 20 assists over the span are also the most among all NHL players. He enters the contest with a career-high eight-game point streak (two goals, 13 assists). Fox ranks third among NHL defensemen in points (30) and is tied for third among NHL defensemen in assists (26) this season. His 26 assists in 2020-21 are the most by any player in the MassMutual NHL East Division.
Ryan Strome enters the contest with a 10-game point streak (two goals, 13 assists) and a nine-game assist streak; each streak is the longest a Ranger has posted this season, as well as a personal career-high. Strome's nine-game assist streak is the longest an NHL player has posted this season, and it is also tied for the third-longest assist streak in franchise history; the only Rangers who have posted a longer assist streak are Brian Leetch (15 games in 1991-92) and Rod Gilbert (10 games in 1968-69). He leads the Rangers in points this season (33); Strome's 33 points are tied for the 10th-most among NHL centers in 2020-21, and he is one of only seven NHL centers who have registered at least 11 goals and at least 22 assists thus far this season (along with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Mark Scheifele, Sidney Crosby, Aleksander Barkov, and Nicklas Backstrom). In addition, Strome is one of only four NHL centers who have registered 90 or more points and a plus-25 rating or better since the start of last season (along with Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews, and Brayden Point).
Artemi Panarin ranks third in the NHL (min. 10 games played) in assists per game (0.96) and also ranks third in the NHL in points per game (1.33) this season. Panarin has skated in 93 career games with the Rangers, and he has tallied 127 points (41 goals, 86 assists); according to NHL Stats and Information, the only players who have currently recorded as many assists as Panarin has within their first 100 games with the Rangers are Mark Messier (92) and Wayne Gretzky (86), and the only players who have currently tallied more points than Panarin has within their first 100 games with the Rangers are Messier (137), Jaromir Jagr (133), and Mike Rogers (129). He has registered a point in 45 of the Rangers' 53 wins since he joined the team prior to the start of the 2019-20 season. In 10 games since returning to the Rangers' lineup on Mar. 13, Panarin has recorded 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) and a plus-10 rating, and he has been on the ice for 22 of the Rangers' 44 goals over the span.
FROM RUSSIA WITH GLOVE
Igor Shesterkin has posted a 2-1-0 record, along with a 2.36 GAA and a .938 SV% (106 saves on 113 shots) in his last three appearances, and he has stopped 86 of 89 shots at even strength over the span (.966 SV% at even strength). He has earned a win in 114 of his 150 appearances in the NHL, AHL, and KHL since the start of the 2016-17 season, including 18 of his first 30 career NHL appearances. According to NHL Stats and Information, Shesterkin's 18 wins in his first 30 career NHL appearances are the second-most by a Rangers goaltender in franchise history; Jim Henry earned 20 wins in his first 30 career appearances during the 1941-42 season. Since expansion (1967-68), the only three Rangers goaltenders who have earned 17 or more wins in their first 30 career NHL appearances are Shesterkin (18 in 2019-20 and 2020-21), Mike Richter (17 in 1989-90 and 1990-91), and Henrik Lundqvist (17 in 2005-06).
The Rangers have outscored their opponent on special teams in 14 games in 2020-21 and have posted a 10-3-1 record in those 14 contests.
- The Rangers were 0-for-2 (4:00) on Mar. 30 vs. Washington.
- The Blueshirts have tallied at least one power play goal in four of the last five games (7-for-18; 38.9%) and in six of the last eight games (9-for-28; 32.1%).
- The Rangers have recorded 17 power play goals in the last 21 games (17-for-75; 22.7%).
- Since Mar. 17, the Rangers' 32.1% power play efficiency is the best in the NHL.
- New York leads the NHL in power play opportunities per game (3.63) and is tied for the NHL lead in power play opportunities (127) in 2020-21.
- Adam Fox has tallied an assist on each of the Rangers' eight power play goals in the last seven games.
- The Rangers were 2-for-3 (3:16) on Mar. 30 vs. Washington.
- The Blueshirts have not allowed a power play goal in 21 of their last 28 games (77-for-87; 88.5%), including 15 of the last 21 games (55-for-64; 85.9%).
- The Rangers have killed off 80 of their opponents' 91 power play opportunities over the last 29 games (87.9%) and have held their opponents to only 116 shots on goal during their opponents' 91 power play opportunities over the span.
- New York ranks sixth in the NHL in penalty kill efficiency this season (84.7%).
- The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL in shorthanded goals in 2020-21 (five).
- Since Jan. 30, the Rangers' 88.5% penalty kill efficiency is the best in the NHL; the Blueshirts have tallied five shorthanded goals and have only allowed 10 power play goals over the span.