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Rangers vs. Blue Jackets 1.31.17: Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
 
Rangers: 31-17-1 (63 pts)
Blue Jackets: 32-12-4 (68 pts)

TONIGHT'S GAME
The Rangers play their 50th game of the 2016-17 season tonight, Jan. 31, against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a Metropolitan Division matchup at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG 2; Radio: ESPN 1050 AM). The Blueshirts have won three of their last four games (3-1-0). The Rangers have posted a 31-17-1 record this season.
 
RANGERS VS. BLUE JACKETS

  • All-Time: 15-9-1-1 (7-2-1-1 at home; 8-7-0-0 on the road)
  • 2016-17: Tomorrow's game is the third of five meetings between the Rangers and Blue Jackets, and the first of two meetings between the two teams at MSG. The Rangers have posted a 1-1-0 record (0-0-0 at home; 1-1-0 on the road), and the Blueshirts won the last game between the two teams, 5-4, on Jan. 7 in Columbus. The Rangers rallied from a three-goal deficit to win the contest, and Michael Grabner tallied four points (three goals, one assist), including the game-winning goal with 16.5 seconds remaining in regulation. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers and Blue Jackets will face each other on the following dates: Feb. 13 (at Columbus), Feb. 26 (at MSG).
  • The Rangers have won eight of their last nine games against Columbus, dating back to Jan. 16, 2015 (8-1-0).

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).
  • 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).
  • Chris Kreider and Cam Atkinson were teammates at Boston College for two seasons (2009-10 and 2010-11) and helped the Eagles win the National Championship in 2009-10.
  • J.T. Miller, Jimmy Vesey, and Seth Jones helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Mika Zibanejad and William Karlsson helped Sweden win a gold medal at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Mika Zibanejad and Nick Foligno were teammates with the Ottawa Senators for part of one season (2011-12).
  • Antti Raanta and Brandon Saad were teammates with the Chicago Blackhawks for parts of two seasons (2013-14 and 2014-15). 

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. BLUE JACKETS

  • Henrik Lundqvist - 15 GP, 10-4-1, 2.59 GAA, .915 SV% - In his last eight appearances against Columbus, Lundqvist has posted a 7-1-0 record, along with a 2.24 GAA and a .929 SV%.
  • Derek Stepan - 15 GP, 7-8-15 - Stepan has recorded a point in eight of his last 10 games against Columbus, dating back to Mar. 21, 2014 (six goals, seven assists over the span).
  • Michael Grabner - 11 GP, 6-5-11 - Grabner has registered five points (four goals, one assist) in two games against the Blue Jackets this season. 

GOALS GALORE
New York ranks second in the NHL in goals (167 - includes two team goals awarded for shootout wins) and also ranks second in the NHL in goals per game (3.37) this season. The Rangers have recorded 52 goals over the last 14 games, registering at least four goals in nine of the 14 contests. The Blueshirts have also tallied five or more goals in six of the last 12 games.
 
THREE'S COMPANY
The Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello line has tallied 43 points (16 goals, 27 assists) over the last 14 games (since Dec. 23). In addition, the three players have registered 67 points - including 24 goals - in the Rangers' 25 games since Dec. 1.
 
WINNING WAYS
The Rangers' 31 wins in 2016-17 are tied for the fourth-most the team has earned through the first 49 games of one season in franchise history. The Blueshirts have earned at least 31 wins through the first 49 games of a season five times in franchise history (1971-72, 1972-73, 1993-94, 2011-12, 2016-17), and the only seasons in which the Rangers earned more than 31 wins through the first 49 contests were 1993-94 (33), 1972-73 (32), and 2011-12 (32).
 
BOUNCE BACK
Since Dec. 22, 2015, the Rangers have posted a 30-7-1 record in the game following a loss (regulation or overtime/shootout). New York has posted a 13-3-1 record in games following a loss in 2016-17.
 
MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
The Blueshirts enter the contest with a plus-38 goal differential this season (167 goals for; 129 goals against) and rank fourth in the NHL in goal differential in 2016-17.
 
HOME COOKING
In their last 100 games at Madison Square Garden (since Nov. 5, 2014), the Rangers have posted a 63-29-8 record (.670 points percentage).
 
TAKING THE METRO
The Rangers have posted a 10-6-0 record against Metropolitan Division opponents this season, including a 5-2-0 record at MSG against teams in the Metropolitan Division. Including tonight's game, 14 of the Rangers' final 33 regular season games are against teams in the Metropolitan Division.
 
TWO GOOD
The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in regulation in each of the last four games and in 30 of 49 games this season. The Blueshirts have posted a 25-4-1 record in those 30 contests in 2016-17.
 
AV SQUAD
Alain Vigneault coached his 1,100th career game as a National Hockey League head coach on Jan. 23 vs. Los Angeles. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only NHL head coach who earned more wins than Vigneault through his first 1,100 games coached in the league was Scotty Bowman. Vigneault will coach his 1,102nd career game in the NHL in tomorrow's contest, tying Billy Reay for 17th place on the league's all-time games coached list.
 
KING HENRIK
Henrik Lundqvist has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his last four appearances, posting a 3-1-0 record, along with a 1.50 GAA, a .945 SV% (104 saves on 110 shots), and 1 SO over the span. He earned his 20th win of the 2016-17 season on Jan. 22 at Detroit, becoming the first goaltender in NHL history to register at least 20 wins in each of his first 12 seasons in the league. In addition, Lundqvist is the 10th goaltender in NHL history who has earned at least 20 wins in 12 or more seasons, and his 12 consecutive 20-win seasons are tied for the most in NHL history (Brodeur and Esposito). Lundqvist has started 164 regular season 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 12 career games which he and Sergei Bobrovsky have 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.
 
WELCOME MATS
Mats Zuccarello has registered 18 points (one goal, 17 assists) over the last 16 games (since Dec. 18), and he is tied for the NHL lead in assists over the span. He ranks second in the NHL in even strength assists this season (24), only trailing Connor McDavid (27). Zuccarello leads the Rangers in assists (29), points (38), even strength assists, and even strength points (31) this season.
 
IT'S MILLER TIME
J.T. Miller tallied a point on the game-winning goal in each contest during the Rangers' three-game winning streak from Jan. 19 - Jan. 23, and he has registered the game-winning goal in two of the three contests. He has recorded a point in 10 of the last 12 games (seven goals, six assists), including a goal in four of the last seven contests (four goals). Miller is tied for the team lead in games with a goal (14) and games with a point (27) this season.
 
PAVEL'S PARTY
Pavel Buchnevich has notched a point in 10 of his 17 career NHL games (six goals, eight assists). Among NHL players who have skated in at least 10 games this season, Buchnevich is tied for seventh in points per 60 minutes of ice time (3.27).
 
UP FOR GRABS
Michael Grabner is tied for the NHL lead in even strength goals (20), ranks eighth in plus/minus rating (plus-22), and is tied for ninth in goals (21) this season. He is the only NHL player who has registered at least 20 goals and a plus-20 rating in 2016-17. Thus far this season, 28 of Grabner's 29 points have either been a goal or a primary assist.
 
STEP-AN UP
Derek Stepan has recorded 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in the last 31 games, including 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in the last 25 contests and 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in the last 16 games.
 
CAPTAIN MAC
Ryan McDonagh participated in the 2017 NHL All-Star Game last weekend. The Rangers captain is tied for second among NHL defensemen in primary assists (16), is tied for fourth in even strength assists (17), ranks seventh in assists (26), and is tied for 13th in points (28) in 2016-17.
 
DAN'S THE MAN
Dan Girardi enters the contest with 770 career games played as a Ranger, and he is two games away from tying Adam Graves for ninth place on the franchise's all-time games played list. Girardi ranks fourth in the NHL in blocked shots this season (123).
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
 
Power Play:
The Rangers were 0-for-3 (6:00) on Jan. 25 vs. Philadelphia.
New York has tallied a PPG in six of the last 13 games (10-for-45; 22.2%).
The Blueshirts are tied for 12th in the NHL in power play efficiency this season (20.7%; 31-for-150).
 
Penalty Kill:
The Rangers were 2-for-3 (3:13) on Jan. 25 vs. Philadelphia.
New York has not allowed a power play goal in three of the last four games (90.0%; 9-for-10).
New York ranks second in the NHL in SHG in 2016-17 (seven).
 
UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Ryan McDonagh - 2 points away from 200 in his NHL career/as a Ranger
  • Alain Vigneault - 3 wins away from 600 as a head coach in the NHL
  • Mika Zibanejad - 3 assists away from 100 in his NHL career
  • Brandon Pirri - 4 points away from 100 in his NHL career
  • Henrik Lundqvist - 5 wins away from 400 in his NHL career/as a Ranger

INJURIES (130 Man-Games Lost to Injury)
Kevin Hayes (lower-body injury) - has missed two games
 
RECENT TRANSACTIONS
Jan. 25 - Assigned Magnus Hellberg to Hartford (AHL)
 
THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Jan. 30, 1964 - Camille Henry registered two goals, Rod Gilbert tallied three assists, and Jacques Plante made 33 saves as the Rangers defeated the Boston Bruins, 3-1, in Boston.
  • Jan. 30, 1989 - Guy Lafleur skated in his 1,000th career NHL game and recorded an assist on a goal by Brian Leetch as the Rangers defeated the New York Islanders, 7-3, at MSG.
  • Jan. 31, 1939 - Dave Kerr became the first goaltender to earn 100 career wins with the Rangers in franchise history, as the Rangers defeated the Chicago Black Hawks, 3-2, at MSG.
  • Jan. 31, 1991 - Mike Richter established a single-game franchise record with 59 saves as the Rangers tied the Vancouver Canucks, 3-3.
  • Jan. 31, 1994 - Mike Gartner registered a hat trick, tallying three power play goals as the Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-3, at MSG.
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