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Rangers at Blue Jackets 1.7.17: Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS at COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, 7:00 p.m. ET
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, OH
 
Rangers: 27-13-1 (55 pts)
Blue Jackets: 27-6-4 (58 pts)

TONIGHT'S GAME
The Rangers play their 42nd game of the 2016-17 season tonight, Jan. 7, against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a Metropolitan Division matchup at Nationwide Arena (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG 2; Radio: ESPN 1050 AM). New York has won 11 of its last 16 contests (11-5-0), including 10 of its last 14 games (10-4-0), seven of its last 10 games (7-3-0), and four of its last five games (4-1-0). The Rangers have posted a 27-13-1 record this season.
 
RANGERS VS. BLUE JACKETS

  • All-Time: 14-9-1-1 (7-2-1-1 at home; 7-7-0-0 on the road)
  • 2016-17: Tomorrow's game is the second of five meetings between the Rangers and Blue Jackets, and the second of three meetings between the two teams in Columbus. The Rangers have posted a 0-1-0 record (0-0-0 at home; 0-1-0 on the road), as the Blueshirts were defeated by Columbus, 4-2, on Nov. 18 in Columbus. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers and Blue Jackets will face each other on the following dates: Jan. 31 (at MSG), Feb. 13 (at Columbus), Feb. 26 (at MSG).
  • The Rangers have won seven of their last eight games against Columbus, dating back to Jan. 16, 2015 (7-1-0).

RANGERS-BLUE JACKETS CONNECTIONS

  • Rick Nash played with the Columbus for nine seasons (2002-03 - 2011-12), and he is the franchise's all-time leader in several categories, including games played (674), goals (289), assists (258), and points (547).
  • Nick Holden made his NHL debut with the Blue Jackets and played parts of two seasons with Columbus (2010-11; 2012-13).
  • J.T. Miller is a native of East Palestine, Ohio.
  • Scott Arniel served as Blue Jackets Head Coach for parts of two seasons (2010-11 - 2011-12).
  • Brandon Dubinsky played parts of six seasons with the Rangers (2006-07 - 2011-12) and won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award during his rookie season in 2007-08.
  • John Tortorella served as Rangers Head Coach for parts of six seasons (1999-00; 2008-09 - 2012-13).
  • Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations/Alternate Governor John Davidson played parts of eight seasons with the Rangers (1975-76 - 1982-83) and served as TV Analyst for 20 years on MSG Network (1986-2006).
  • 90TH SEASON NOTE: Pavel Bure tallied his 20th career NHL hat trick (his only hat trick as a Ranger), which was the final hat trick of his career, in a 5-3 win for the Blueshirts against Columbus on Dec. 3, 2002 at MSG.

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. BLUE JACKETS

  • Henrik Lundqvist - 14 GP, 9-4-1, 2.49 GAA, .917 SV% - In his last seven appearances against Columbus, Lundqvist has posted a 6-1-0 record, along with a 1.99 GAA and a .936 SV%.
  • Antti Raanta - 2 GP, 2-0-0, 2.00 GAA, .926 SV% - Raanta stopped 26 of 27 shots and earned a win in his last appearance against the Blue Jackets on Feb. 29, 2016 at MSG.
  • Derek Stepan - 14 GP, 7-8-15 - Stepan has recorded a point in eight of his last nine games against Columbus, dating back to Mar. 21, 2014 (six goals, seven assists over the span).
  • Michael Grabner - 10 GP, 3-4-7 - Grabner has tallied five points (two goals, three assists) in five career road games in Columbus. 

WINNING WAYS
The Rangers' 27 wins in 2016-17 are tied for the third-most wins the team has earned through the first 41 games of one season in franchise history. The Blueshirts have earned at least 27 wins in their first 41 games of a season five times in franchise history (1970-71, 1971-72, 1993-94, 2011-12, 2016-17), and the only seasons in which the Rangers earned more than 27 wins through the first 41 games were 1970-71 (28) and 1971-72 (28). The Rangers are tied for the NHL lead in wins in 2016-17 (tied with Columbus) and are the only NHL team that has earned at least 13 wins both at home and on the road this season.
 
ROAD WARRIORS
New York leads the NHL in road wins this season (14) and leads the NHL in road wins since the start of the 2013-14 season (86). The Rangers' 86 road wins since the start of the 2013-14 season are one shy of the most road wins the team has earned in any four-season span in franchise history (87 road wins from 2011-12 - 2014-15). New York has won each of its last three road games and has outscored its opponents, 17-7, in the three contests. In addition, the Blueshirts have earned a win in 13 of their last 17 road contests (13-4-0), including seven of their last eight road games (7-1-0).
 
WINNING ON THE WEEKEND
The Rangers have posted a 12-2-1 record in games played on either a Saturday or Sunday this season, including a 6-1-0 record in games played on a Saturday.
 
STARS ON BROADWAY
In three of the last four weeks, a Ranger has been selected as the NHL's Second Star of the Week (Antti Raanta - week ending on Dec. 11; Henrik Lundqvist - week ending on Dec. 18; Chris Kreider - week ending on Jan. 1).
 
THREE'S COMPANY
The Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello line has tallied 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) over the last six games. The three players have registered 49 points - including 18 goals - in the Rangers' 17 games since Dec. 1. Zuccarello has registered an assist on 10 of Kreider's last 11 goals, dating back to Dec. 3 vs. Carolina.
 
TEAM EFFORT
The Rangers are the only NHL team that has nine players who have recorded 20 or more points this season, as well as the only NHL team that has six players who have tallied at least 10 goals in 2016-17.
 
30-FOR-30
Four Rangers have tallied 30 or more points this season (Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, and Kevin Hayes). Prior to 2016-17, the last season in which the Blueshirts had four players who recorded at least 30 points at the midway point of the season was 2006-07 (Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Michael Nylander, and Martin Straka).
 
GOALS GALORE
New York leads the NHL in goals (141 - includes two team goals awarded for shootout wins) and ranks second in the NHL in goals per game (3.39) this season. The Rangers have recorded 26 goals over the last six games, registering at least four goals in five of the six contests, and the Blueshirts have tallied five or more goals in three of the last four games.
 
TWO GOOD
The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in regulation in 26 of 41 games this season and have posted a 22-3-1 record in those 26 contests.
 
AV SQUAD
Alain Vigneault enters the contest with 171 career wins as the Rangers' Head Coach, and he is one win away from passing John Tortorella for sole possession of fourth place on the franchise's all-time wins list among head coaches.
 
KING HENRIK
Henrik Lundqvist earned his 390th career NHL win on Dec. 31 at Colorado, passing Dominik Hasek to become the all-time leader in wins by a European-born goaltender in NHL history. With the win, Lundqvist also passed Hasek for sole possession of 12th place on the NHL's all-time wins list. Lundqvist has posted a .920 SV% or better in 16 of his 27 starts this season. Lundqvist has started 164 games in his NHL career against a goaltender who has also won the Vezina Trophy. In those 164 starts, Lundqvist has posted a 98-51-15 record, along with a 2.22 GAA, a .921 SV%, and 15 SO. In addition, in 12 career games in which he and Sergei Bobrovsky both started for their respective teams, Lundqvist has posted a 9-2-1 record, along with a 2.05 GAA, a .934 SV%, and 1 SO.
 
KREID-ING HIGH
Chris Kreider was selected as the NHL's Second Star of the Week for the week ending on Jan. 1. He ranks second in the NHL in goals since Dec. 1 (12). Kreider has recorded nine points (seven goals, two assists) in the last six games, and he is tied for the team lead in goals this season (16).
 
CAPTAIN MAC
Ryan McDonagh leads the Rangers in assists this season (23), and he also leads team defensemen in points (25) in 2016-17. McDonagh ranks third among NHL defensemen in games with an assist (19) and is tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in games with a point (20) this season. Among defensemen in the Metropolitan Division, McDonagh ranks first in assists, is tied for first in points, and ranks second in average ice time (24:10) this season. The Rangers captain has tallied an assist/point in four of the last six games (one goal, six assists over the span).
 
McDonagh made his NHL/Rangers debut six years ago tomorrow (Jan. 7, 2011 at Dallas). Since McDonagh made his NHL debut, he leads the Rangers in average ice time (23:25) and plus/minus rating (plus-124), ranks third in games played (430) and assists (150), and ranks fourth in points (195). In addition, McDonagh leads Rangers defensemen in goals (45), assists, points, plus/minus rating, average ice time, game-winning goals (nine), power play goals (eight), power play assists (38), power play points (46), shorthanded goals (three), shorthanded assists (eight), and shorthanded points (11) over the span.
 
STEP-AN UP
Derek Stepan leads the Rangers in points this season (31; nine goals, 22 assists). He has recorded 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in the last 23 games, including 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in the last 17 contests and 10 points (four goals, six assists) in the last eight games. Stepan is the fourth Ranger in franchise history to tally 20 or more assists in each of his first seven NHL seasons (playing all seven seasons with the Rangers), along with Ron Greschner, Brad Park, and Steve Vickers.
 
WELCOME MATS
Mats Zuccarello has tallied 10 assists/points in the last eight games and 15 points (one goal, 14 assists) in the last 16 games. Since Dec. 1, Zuccarello is tied for the NHL lead in even strength assists (11 - tied with Malkin and Kuznetsov) and is tied for third in the NHL in assists (14). He leads the Rangers in even strength assists (18) and even strength points (24) this season.
 
IT'S MILLER TIME
J.T. Miller enters the contest with a four-game point streak, which is a career-high (three goals, four assists), and he has posted three multi-point games in the last four contests. He is tied for the team lead in games with a point this season (21), and the Rangers have posted a 19-2-0 record in games which he has recorded a point in 2016-17.
 
HEY HEY HAYES
Kevin Hayes tied a single-game career-high with two goals in the Rangers' last game on Jan. 4 at Philadelphia. He has registered a point in four of the last five games, tallying seven points (two goals, five assists) over the span. In addition, Hayes has notched 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in the last 14 contests. Hayes is tied for the team lead in games with a point this season (21), and the Rangers have posted a 20-1-0 record in games which Hayes has recorded a point this season, including an 11-0-0 record in games which he has recorded a goal. Hayes enters tomorrow's contest with 199 games played in his NHL career (44 goals and 67 assists for 111 points thus far in his career).
 
UP FOR GRABS
Michael Grabner tallied three points (two goals, one assist) and tied a single-game career-high with a plus-four rating in the Rangers' last game on Jan. 4 at Philadelphia. Grabner ranks third in the NHL in even strength goals (16), is tied for 10th in the NHL in plus/minus rating (plus-18), and is tied for 13th in the NHL in goals (16) this season. In addition, he leads the Rangers in even strength goals, and is tied for the team lead in goals and plus/minus rating in 2016-17. Thus far in 2016-17, 22 of Grabner's 23 points have either been a goal or the primary assist on a goal, and he has registered 14 of his last 15 points in games on the road.
 
HOLDEN STEADY
Nick Holden leads the NHL in games with a plus/minus rating of even or better this season (35). He is tied for 10th in the NHL - and ranks sixth among NHL defensemen - in plus/minus rating in 2016-17. Holden is one of three NHL defensemen who have registered at least 20 points and a plus-18 rating this season (along with Ryan Suter and Justin Schultz). In addition, Holden is tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in goals (eight) and even strength points (18) this season, and he is one of six defensemen who have tallied 18 or more even strength points this season (along with Brent Burns, Duncan Keith, Erik Karlsson, Dustin Byfuglien, and Victor Hedman).
 
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei is the first Rangers rookie who has tallied 16 or more assists in the team's first 41 games of a season since Brian Leetch did so during his Calder Trophy-winning season in 1988-89. Skjei is one of five Rangers rookie defensemen since 1988-89 who have registered at least 16 assists during their rookie season (along with Brian Leetch - 1988-89; Sergei Zubov - 1992-93; Fedor Tyutin - 2005-06; Michael Del Zotto - 2009-10).
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
The Rangers are the only NHL team that has a 22.0% power play efficiency and an 83.0% penalty kill efficiency or better in 2016-17. New York has outscored its opponent on special teams in 18 games this season, and the Rangers have posted a 15-3-0 record in those contests.
 
Power Play:
The Rangers were 0-for-1 (1:32) on Jan. 4 at Philadelphia.
New York has tallied a power play goal in three of the last five games (7-for-18; 38.9%) and has recorded six power play goals over the last four games (6-for-14; 42.9%).
The Blueshirts rank fourth in the NHL in power play efficiency this season (22.8%; 28-for-123).
 
Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 2-for-3 (4:19) on Jan. 4 at Philadelphia.
  • The Blueshirts rank 10th in the NHL in penalty kill efficiency this season (83.5%; 96-for-115).
  • The Rangers have not allowed a power play goal against in eight of the last 14 games and in 19 of the last 30 games.
  • New York is tied for second in the NHL in shorthanded goals in 2016-17 (five).

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Kevin Hayes - 1 game away from 200 in his NHL career
  • Michael Grabner - 4 points away from 200 in his NHL career
  • Ryan McDonagh - 5 points away from 200 in his NHL career
  • Oscar Lindberg - 5 games away from 100 in his NHL career 

INJURIES (102 Man-Games Lost to Injury)

  • Mika Zibanejad (broken fibula) - has missed 22 games
  • Rick Nash (groin) - has missed seven games
  • Matt Puempel (concussion symptoms) - has missed two games
  • Marc Staal (upper-body injury) - has missed one game 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

  • Jan. 6 - Assigned Pavel Buchnevich to Hartford (AHL)
  • Jan. 2 - Recalled Nicklas Jensen from Hartford (AHL)

THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Jan. 6, 1929 - The Rangers tied the New York Americans, 0-0, at MSG. Rangers goaltender John Ross Roach made 52 saves, while Americans goaltender Roy Worters stopped all 54 shots he faced.
  • Jan. 6, 1931 - The Rangers defeated the Montreal Maroons, 5-1, at MSG. Bill Cook registered two goals in a span of 10 seconds in the third period.
  • Jan. 7, 1940 - The Rangers extended their winning streak to eight games and their point streak to 17 games with a 3-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings at MSG. Dave Kerr stopped all 25 shots he faced in the contest.
  • Jan. 7, 1968 - Jean Ratelle recorded a natural hat trick, tallying three goals in a span of 4:45 during the second period as the Rangers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-2, at MSG. The hat trick was Ratelle's first in the NHL.
  • Jan. 7, 1973 - Ed Giacomin posted his third shutout in a span of five appearances as the Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-0, at MSG. The contest marked the start of a 16-game unbeaten streak for the Blueshirts.
  • Jan. 7, 1976 - John Ferguson was named the 15th Head Coach and fifth General Manager in Rangers history.
  • Jan. 7, 2011 - Ryan McDonagh made his NHL debut as the Rangers defeated the Dallas Stars, 3-2, in a shootout. Mats Zuccarello registered the only goal in the shootout.
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