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Rangers at Kings 3.25.17: Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS at LOS ANGELES KINGS
Saturday, Mar. 25, 2017, 10:30 p.m. ET
STAPLES Center - Los Angeles, CA
 
Rangers: 45-25-4 (94 pts)
Kings: 35-31-7 (77 pts)
 
TONIGHT'S GAME
The Rangers play their 75th game of the 2016-17 season and begin a back-to-back set tonight, Mar. 25, against the Los Angeles Kings at STAPLES Center (10:30 p.m. ET - TV: MSG+; Radio: ESPN 1050 AM). The Rangers have earned at least one point in three of the last four games, four of the last six games, and six of the last nine contests. The Blueshirts have won 14 of their last 24 games (14-7-3), as well as 17 of their last 29 contests (17-9-3). The Rangers have posted a 45-25-4 record this season.

RANGERS VS. KINGS

  • All-Time: 68-45-16-3 (38-20-6-1 at home; 30-25-10-2 on the road)
  • 2016-17: Tomorrow's game is the second of two meetings between the Rangers and Kings, and the only meeting between the two teams in Los Angeles. The Rangers have posted a 1-0-0 record (1-0-0 at home; 0-0-0 on the road) and defeated the Kings, 3-2, on Jan. 23 at MSG. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 of 38 shots he faced, and Mats Zuccarello tallied the game-winning goal in the third period.
  • The Rangers have earned at least one point in nine of their last 12 games against the Kings, dating back to Dec. 17, 2008 (6-3-3). 

RANGERS-KINGS CONNECTIONS

  • Marian Gaborik played parts of four seasons with the Rangers (2009-10 - 2012-13).
  • Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille played two seasons with the Rangers (1995-96 and 1996-97).
  • Darryl Williams played part of one season with the Kings (1992-93).
  • Rick Nash and Jeff Carter were teammates with the Blue Jackets for part of one season (2011-12). Nash, Carter, and Jarome Iginla are three of five NHL players who have tallied 20 or more goals in at least 11 different seasons since 2003-04 (along with Ovechkin and Hossa).
  • Mats Zuccarello and Anze Kopitar were teammates with Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Zuccarello and Kopitar tied for the team lead with four points while helping Team Europe advance to the Final Series of the tournament.
  • Nick Holden and Jarome Iginla both grew up in St. Albert, Alberta, a suburb of Edmonton.
  • Adam Clendening, Nick Shore, and Derek Forbort were teammates with the U.S. National Team Development Program for two seasons (2008-09 and 2009-10) and helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World U18 Championship.
  • Dan Girardi and Dustin Brown were teammates with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League for part of one season (2002-03).

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. KINGS

  • Antti Raanta - 3 GP, 2-0-1, 1.97 GAA, .927 SV%, 1 SO - Raanta has allowed one goal or fewer in two of his three appearances against the Kings.
  • Rick Nash - 39 GP, 15-17-32 - Since joining the Rangers, Nash has tallied three assists/points in five games against Los Angeles, and he has recorded 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his last 13 contests against the Kings.
  • Kevin Hayes - 4 GP, 3-2-5 - Hayes has tallied a point in each of his four career games against the Kings, including a goal in each of his last three games against Los Angeles.
  • Mika Zibanejad - 6 GP, 2-4-6 - Zibanejad has registered six points (two goals, four assists) in his last four games against the Kings.
  • Michael Grabner - 10 GP, 3-4-7 - Grabner established single-game NHL career-highs with four points (two goals, two assists) and a plus-four rating on Dec. 19, 2015 against Los Angeles.

FINAL COUNTDOWN
The Rangers have eight regular season games remaining in the 2016-17 season. The Blueshirts' final eight regular season games this season include three home games and five road games, four contests against Metropolitan Division opponents, and two back-to-back sets. The Rangers' "magic number" to clinch a playoff berth is currently seven (seven points either gained by the Rangers or not gained by the Islanders).
 
ROAD WARRIORS
The Rangers lead the NHL in road wins this season (26) and since the start of the 2013-14 season (98). The Blueshirts have won seven of their last nine road games (7-1-1), 11 of their last 14 road contests (11-2-1), and 19 of their last 24 road games (19-4-1). The Rangers' 26 road wins in 2016-17 are the second-most in one season in franchise history, and the only season in which the Blueshirts earned more than 26 road wins was 2014-15 (28). The Rangers' 26 road wins this season are also tied for the 11th-most any NHL team has earned in one season in league history.
 
WINNING WAYS
The Rangers' 45 wins in 2016-17 are tied for the ninth-most in one season in franchise history. The Blueshirts rank fifth in the NHL in wins this season and are tied for third in the NHL in wins since the start of the 2013-14 season (189). The Rangers' 189 wins since 2013-14 are the most in any four-season span in franchise history.
 
HOW THE WEST WAS WON
New York has posted a 20-5-0 record in games against Western Conference opponents this season, including a 10-1-0 record against teams in the Pacific Division. The Rangers lead all Eastern Conference teams in wins against teams in the Western Conference in 2016-17 and have earned at least one win against all 14 Western Conference teams this season.
 
BOUNCE BACK
Since Dec. 22, 2015, the Rangers have posted a 37-10-2 record in the game following a loss (regulation or overtime/shootout). New York has posted a 20-6-2 record in games following a loss in 2016-17.
 
GOALS GALORE
New York ranks third in the NHL in goals this season (235 - includes three team goals awarded for shootout wins). The Rangers are tied for fourth in the NHL in goals per game in 2016-17 (3.14).
  
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
Three Rangers rookies (Skjei, Vesey, and Buchnevich) have tallied at least 20 points this season. Prior to this season, the last time the Rangers had three rookies who registered 20 or more points in the same season was 1999-00 (York, Hlavac, and Johnsson).
 
ON POINT
Rangers defensemen have tallied 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) over the last 20 games, and a Rangers defenseman has recorded a goal in 10 of the 20 contests. A Blueshirts defenseman has notched a point on 22 of the team's last 35 goals.
 
RAISE THE ANTTI
Antti Raanta has posted a 15-6-2 record, along with a 2.22 GAA, a .924 SV%, and 3 SO in 25 starts this season, and he has allowed two goals or fewer in 15 of the 25 starts. In his last 23 road appearances (since Feb. 18, 2016), Raanta has posted a 16-2-1 record, along with a 1.99 GAA, a .935 SV%, and 2 SO.
 
KING HENRIK
Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 12-5-1 record, along with a 2.26 GAA, a .930 SV%, and 1 SO in his last 19 appearances. Lundqvist earned his 30th win of the 2016-17 season and his 404th career NHL win on Mar. 7 at Florida. He is the first goaltender in NHL history who has earned at least 30 wins in 11 of his first 12 seasons, and he is only the third goaltender in NHL history who has registered 30 or more wins in at least 11 different seasons (Brodeur - 14; Roy - 13). Lundqvist is three wins away from tying Glenn Hall for ninth place on the NHL's all-time wins list. By earning his 404th career NHL win, Lundqvist passed Martin Brodeur for the most wins by a goaltender in his first 12 seasons in NHL history.
 
DAN'S THE MAN
Dan Girardi was selected as the Rangers' nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2016-17 by the New York Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA). The Bill Masterton Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey." Since he made his NHL debut on Jan. 27, 2007, Girardi leads the NHL in blocked shots (1,674) and ranks 16th in the league in games played (781). Girardi has skated in at least 80 games in seven seasons in his career, and he has played all 82 games of a season five times. Since the NHL implemented an 82-game schedule in 1995-96, Girardi and Brian Leetch are the only Rangers who have played 82 games in five different seasons. He is tied for second in the NHL (min. 10 games played) in blocked shots per game this season (2.7).
 
RICK ROLLING
Rick Nash is one of two NHL players who have registered at least 20 goals in 12 different seasons since 2003-04 (along with Alex Ovechkin). He ranks third on the Rangers in goals per game this season (0.33).
 
KREID-ING HIGH
Chris Kreider has established career-highs in goals (26) and points (49) this season. He is one of six NHL players who have recorded at least 26 goals and 100 hits in 2016-17.
 
CAPTAIN MAC
Ryan McDonagh is one of four NHL defensemen who have recorded at least 39 points and a plus-19 rating in 2016-17. The Rangers captain leads team defensemen in assists (34) and points (39) in 2016-17, and he is one point away from posting the second 40-point season of his NHL career (2013-14; 43).
 
WELCOME MATS
Mats Zuccarello leads the Rangers in assists (37) and even strength assists (31), and is tied for the team lead in points (52) this season. He is the first Ranger who has recorded at least 30 even strength assists in one season since Marian Gaborik in 2009-10. Zuccarello has registered six points (three goals, three assists) in the last six games.
 
STEP-AN UP
Derek Stepan has recorded 49 points this season, and he has tallied at least 50 points in four different seasons in his NHL career (2011-12; 2013-14 - 2015-16). Over the last 25 seasons (since 1991-92), the only Rangers who have posted more 50-point seasons than Stepan are Brian Leetch (eight), Mark Messier (seven), and Adam Graves (six). Stepan has recorded five points (one goal, four assists) and 25 shots on goal over the last seven games, and he has tallied all five points over the span on the power play.
 
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei is one of four defensemen who have recorded at least 30 assists in his rookie season in franchise history (along with Brian Leetch, Reijo Ruotsalainen, and Ron Greschner). Skjei is also the first Ranger (forward or defenseman) who has tallied at least 30 assists in his rookie season since Tony Amonte in 1991-92. He has registered 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) and a plus-13 rating in the last 29 games (since Jan. 19), and he is one of two NHL defensemen who have recorded at least 17 points and a plus-13 rating over the span.
 
IT'S MILLER TIME
J.T. Miller has tallied a point in 23 of the last 37 games, recording 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) over the span. Miller is one of five NHL players (and the only Eastern Conference player) who have registered at least 52 points and a plus-21 rating this season.
 
OSCAR-WORTHY PERFORMANCE
Oscar Lindberg enters the contest with a three-game point streak, which is tied for his career-high (two goals, two assists over the span).
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
 
Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 1-for-4 (6:38) on Mar. 22 vs. NY Islanders.
  • The Blueshirts are 7-for-21 (33.3%) on the power play over the last seven games (since Mar. 9) and are tied for third in the NHL in power play efficiency over the span.
  • New York ranks fourth in the NHL in power play efficiency on the road this season (22.4%; 24-for-107).

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 2-for-4 (5:11) on Mar. 22 vs. NY Islanders.
  • The Blueshirts rank fourth in the NHL in SHG in 2016-17 (nine).

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Brandon Pirri - 2 points away from 100 in his NHL career
  • Nick Holden - 5 games away from 300 in his NHL career

INJURIES (186 Man-Games Lost to Injury)

  • Kevin Klein - has missed 15 games

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

  • Mar. 23 - Assigned Magnus Hellberg to Hartford (AHL); Agreed to terms with free agent goaltender Chris Nell 

THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Mar. 24, 1963 - Andy Hebenton skated in his final game as a Ranger, ending his streak of 560 consecutive games played, which remains a franchise record. Hebenton played in every game during his eight seasons with the Blueshirts.
  • Mar. 24, 1963 - Gump Worsley appeared in his final game as a Ranger and posted a win and a shutout as the Blueshirts defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 5-0, at MSG.
  • Mar. 24, 1974 - Rod Gilbert became the first player to tally 300 career goals as a member of the Rangers, and the Blueshirts defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 5-3, at MSG.
  • Mar. 24, 1978 - Phil Esposito and Ron Duguay each tallied a hat trick as the Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals, 11-4.
  • Mar. 24, 1988 - Brian Leetch recorded his first career NHL goal and tallied two assists as the Rangers defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 6-1, at MSG.
  • Mar. 25, 1937 - Babe Pratt recorded the game-winning goal at 13:05 of the first overtime period to help the Rangers defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-1, in Game 2 of the Quarterfinals and win the series.
  • Mar. 25, 1972 - Vic Hadfield registered three points (one goal, two assists), including his 100th point of the 1971-72 season, as the Rangers and Montreal Canadiens played to a 3-3 tie. Hadfield became the third left wing in NHL history (at the time), as well as the second Rangers' player (at the time), to register at least 100 points in a season.
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