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Rangers at Blue Jackets 2.13.17: Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS at COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, OH
 
Rangers: 36-18-1 (73 pts)
Blue Jackets: 35-14-5 (75 pts)
  
TONIGHT'S GAME
The Rangers play their 56th game of the 2016-17 season tonight, Feb. 13, against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a Metropolitan Division matchup at Nationwide Arena (7:30 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Blueshirts enter the contest on a five-game winning streak, which is tied for their longest winning streak this season. In addition, New York has won eight of its last 10 contests (8-2-0). The Rangers have posted a 36-18-1 record this season.

RANGERS VS. BLUE JACKETS

  • All-Time: 15-10-1-1 (7-3-1-1 at home; 8-7-0-0 on the road)
  • 2016-17: Tomorrow's game is the fourth of five meetings between the Rangers and Blue Jackets, and the third of three meetings between the two teams in Columbus. The Rangers have posted a 1-2-0 record (0-1-0 at home; 1-1-0 on the road), and the Blue Jackets defeated the Rangers, 6-4, in the last meeting between the two teams on Jan. 31 at MSG. Michael Grabner leads all skaters with five goals and six points in the season series. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers and Blue Jackets will face each other on the following date: Feb. 26 (at MSG).
  • The Rangers have won eight of their last 10 games against Columbus, dating back to Jan. 16, 2015 (8-2-0). 

RANGERS-BLUE JACKETS CONNECTIONS

  • Rick Nash played with 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).
  • 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).
  • 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). 

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. BLUE JACKETS

  • Henrik Lundqvist - 16 GP, 10-4-1, 2.73 GAA, .911 SV% - In his last nine appearances against Columbus, Lundqvist has posted a 7-1-0 record, along with a 2.49 GAA and a .923 SV%.
  • Derek Stepan - 16 GP, 7-9-16 - Stepan has recorded a point in nine of his last 11 games against Columbus, dating back to Mar. 21, 2014 (six goals, eight assists over the span).
  • Michael Grabner - 12 GP, 7-5-12 - Grabner has tallied a point in five of six career games he has played against the Blue Jackets in Columbus, tallying nine points (five goals, four assists) in those games.
  • Oscar Lindberg - 5 GP, 4-1-5 - Lindberg has recorded three points (two goals, one assist) and a plus-three rating in three career games in Columbus.
  • Nick Holden - 8 GP, 0-5-5 - Holden enters the contest with a three-game assist/point streak against the Blue Jackets (three assists).

WINNING WAYS
The Rangers' 36 wins in 2016-17 are tied for the third-most the team has earned through the first 55 games of one season in franchise history. The Blueshirts have earned at least 36 wins through the first 55 games of a season four times in franchise history (1972-73, 1993-94, 2011-12, 2016-17), and the only seasons in which the team earned more than 36 wins through the first 55 games were 1972-73 (38) and 2011-12 (37). The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL in wins this season and are the only Eastern Conference team that has earned 18 wins both at home and on the road this season.
 
ROAD WARRIORS
The Rangers are tied for the NHL lead in road wins this season (18) and also lead the NHL in road wins since the start of the 2013-14 season (90). The Rangers have earned 18 wins within their first 25 road games of one season for the first time in franchise history. The Rangers have won seven of their last eight road games (7-1-0). The Blueshirts have also earned a win in 17 of their last 22 road contests (17-5-0), including 11 of their last 13 road games (11-2-0).
 
GOALS GALORE
New York ranks third in the NHL in goals (189 - includes two team goals awarded for shootout wins) and goals per game (3.40) this season. The Rangers have recorded 74 goals over the last 20 games, registering at least four goals in 14 of the 20 contests. In addition, the Blueshirts have recorded four goals in each of the last four games and in five of the last six contests.
 
TAKING THE METRO
Including tomorrow's game, each of the Rangers' next three games and six of the team's next eight games are against teams in the Metropolitan Division. 
 
MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
The Rangers enter the contest with a plus-44 goal differential this season (189 goals for; 145 goals against) and rank third in the NHL in goal differential in 2016-17.
 
THIRD PERIOD TALLIES
The Blueshirts recorded three goals in the third period of their 4-2 win against Colorado on Feb. 11. The Rangers lead the NHL in goals in the third period this season (77), and New York's 77 third period goals are the most that a team has recorded in any period thus far in 2016-17.
 
FABULOUS FEBRUARY
The Blueshirts have posted a 25-5-3 record in 33 games in February since the start of the 2014-15 season, including a 5-0-0 record in games in February this season.
 
TWO GOOD
The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in regulation in seven of the last 10 games and in 33 of 55 games this season. The Blueshirts have posted a 28-4-1 record in those 33 contests in 2016-17.
 
AV SQUAD
Alain Vigneault earned his 600th career win as a head coach in the NHL on Feb. 7 vs. Anaheim. Vigneault is the 15th head coach in NHL history who has registered at least 600 career wins, and he is the fifth active NHL head coach who has accomplished the feat. He has earned 180 wins in 301 career games as the Rangers' Head Coach. The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL - and lead the Eastern Conference - in wins since Vigneault became the team's Head Coach prior to the start of the 2013-14 season.
 
KING HENRIK
Henrik Lundqvist earned his 400th career NHL win on Feb. 11 vs. Colorado, becoming the 12th goaltender in NHL history to earn 400 career wins, as well as the first goaltender to earn 400 wins with the Rangers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Lundqvist, who earned his 400th career win in his 727th career NHL appearance, became the fastest goaltender in NHL history to accomplish the feat. He also became the second goaltender in NHL history to earn all of his first 400 career wins with one franchise (Brodeur - NJD). Lundqvist is one win away from tying Chris Osgood for 11th place on the NHL's all-time wins list. Lundqvist has posted an 8-1-0 record, along with a 2.01 GAA, a .939 SV%, and 1 SO in his last 10 appearances, as well as a 1.98 GAA and a .946 SV% during his current five-game winning streak. Lundqvist is the only goaltender in NHL history who has registered at least 20 wins in each of his first 12 seasons, and his 12 consecutive 20-win seasons are tied for the most in NHL history.
 
IT'S MILLER TIME
J.T. Miller enters the contest with a six-game point streak (two goals, eight assists), and he has posted a multi-point game in four of the last five contests. Miller has registered a point in 16 of the last 18 games, tallying 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists). Miller has established career-highs in assists (27), points (45), and game-winning goals (six) in 2016-17.
 
KREID-ING HIGH
Chris Kreider has recorded 22 goals this season, which is his career-high, and he is the only Ranger who has recorded at least 20 goals in each of the last three seasons (2014-15 - 2016-17). He is tied for fourth in the NHL in goals since Dec. 1, 2016 (18).
 
UP FOR GRABS
Michael Grabner leads the NHL in even strength goals (25), is tied for fifth in goals (26), and is tied for seventh in plus/minus rating (plus-28) this season. Grabner leads the NHL (min. 10 games played) in goals per 60 minutes of ice time this season (2.07). He is also the only NHL player who has registered at least 25 goals and a plus-25 rating in 2016-17. Grabner has recorded 16 points (12 goals, four assists) in the last 15 games. Over the last 20 seasons, Grabner is one of four Rangers who have tallied at least 25 even strength goals in a season (Jagr - 2005-06; Gaborik - 2009-10 and 2011-12; Nash - 2014-15).
 
WELCOME MATS
Mats Zuccarello tallied his 30th assist of the 2016-17 season on Feb. 9 vs. Nashville. He is the first Ranger who has registered 30 or more assists in at least four consecutive seasons since Brian Leetch. Zuccarello has registered 21 points (three goals, 18 assists) in the last 22 games.
 
CAPTAIN MAC
Ryan McDonagh tallied his 30th assist of the 2016-17 season on Feb. 11 vs. Colorado, establishing a career-high. He is tied for third among NHL defensemen in games with an assist this season (26).
 
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei recorded his 20th even strength assist of the season on Feb. 11 vs. Colorado, becoming the first Rangers defenseman to tally 20 even strength assists in his rookie season since Brian Leetch in 1988-89. Skjei is one of five NHL defensemen who have recorded at least 20 even strength assists this season (Burns, Keith, Karlsson, and Hedman). He is tied for first among NHL rookie defensemen in assists (23) this season, and he leads NHL rookie defensemen in even strength assists (20) and even strength points (22) in 2016-17.
 
STEP-AN UP
Derek Stepan tallied his 40th point of the season on Feb. 11 vs. Colorado. He is the second Ranger in franchise history who has tallied at least 40 points in each of his first seven NHL seasons (along with Steve Vickers). In addition, Stepan is one of six Rangers who have tallied 40 or more points in at least seven consecutive seasons (at any point in his career), in franchise history (Rod Gilbert, Andy Bathgate, Jean Ratelle, Steve Vickers, and James Patrick).
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
 
Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 0-for-3 (4:44) on Feb. 11 vs. Colorado.
  • New York has tallied a PPG in eight of the last 19 games (12-for-55; 21.8%).
  • The Blueshirts are tied for 11th in the NHL in power play efficiency this season (20.6%; 33-for-160).

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 1-for-1 (0:44) on Feb. 11 vs. Colorado.
  • New York has not allowed a PPG against in seven of the last 10 games.
  • The Blueshirts are tied for second in the NHL in SHG in 2016-17 (seven). 

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Jesper Fast - 1 game away from 200 in his NHL career/as a Ranger
  • Chris Kreider - 3 games away from 300 in his NHL career/as a Ranger

INJURIES (136 Man-Games Lost to Injury)

  • Dan Girardi (ankle) - has missed two games
  • Matt Puempel (flu) - has missed one game

RECENT TRANSACTIONS
None
 
THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Feb. 12, 1972 - Walt Tkaczuk established a single-game franchise record by tallying five assists as the Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 8-3.
  • Feb. 13, 1995 - At the 1995 ESPY Awards, the Rangers received the "Best Team ESPY Award" for being the best professional, collegiate, or national team in any sport during the 1994 calendar year. The Rangers are the only NHL team that has ever won the award.
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