NEW YORK RANGERS vs. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, 5:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
Rangers: 40-19-2 (82 pts)
Blue Jackets: 38-16-5 (81 pts)
The Rangers play their 62nd game of the 2016-17 season and conclude a back-to-back set tonight, Feb. 26, against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a Metropolitan Division matchup at Madison Square Garden (5:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Blueshirts have won nine of their last 11 games (9-1-1), as well as 12 of their last 16 contests (12-3-1), and enter the contest with a four-game point streak (3-0-1). The Rangers have posted a 40-19-2 record this season.
RANGERS VS. BLUE JACKETS
- All-Time: 16-10-1-1 (7-3-1-1 at home; 9-7-0-0 on the road)
- 2016-17: Tomorrow's game is the fifth of five meetings between the Rangers and Blue Jackets, and the second of two meetings between the two teams at MSG. The Rangers have posted a 2-2-0 record (0-1-0 at home; 2-1-0 on the road), and the Rangers defeated the Blue Jackets, 3-2, in the last meeting between the two teams on Feb. 13 in Columbus. Michael Grabner leads all skaters with five goals and six points in the season series, while Nick Holden has tallied an assist/point in all four games of the season series and leads all skaters with four assists. The Blueshirts have outscored Columbus, 10-4, in the third period during the first four contests.
- The Rangers have won nine of their last 11 games against Columbus, dating back to Jan. 16, 2015 (9-2-0).
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) 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).
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 - 17 GP, 7-10-17 - Stepan has recorded a point in 10 of his last 12 games against Columbus, dating back to Mar. 21, 2014 (six goals, nine assists over the span).
- Michael Grabner - 13 GP, 7-5-12 - Grabner has registered a goal/point in three of his last four games against the Blue Jackets (five goals, one assist).
- Oscar Lindberg - 6 GP, 4-1-5 - Lindberg has recorded more goals against Columbus than any other opponent in his NHL career.
- Nick Holden - 9 GP, 0-6-6 - Holden enters the contest with a four-game assist/point streak against the Blue Jackets (four assists).
The Rangers' 40 wins in 2016-17 are tied for the most the team has earned through the first 61 games of one season in franchise history. The Blueshirts have earned 40 wins through the first 61 games of a season four times in franchise history (1971-72, 1972-73, 2011-12, 2016-17). The Rangers rank second in the NHL in wins this season.
The Rangers earned their 40th win of the 2016-17 season on Feb. 25 at New Jersey. The Blueshirts have registered at least 40 wins in each of the last four seasons (since 2013-14) and in six of the last seven seasons (since 2010-11; Note: the only season when the Blueshirts did not record at least 40 wins during this stretch was the 2012-13 season, which was 48 games in length). In addition, the Rangers have earned 40 or more wins in 10 of the last 12 seasons (since 2005-06). Entering 2016-17, the Rangers were one of five NHL teams that recorded at least 40 wins in nine or more seasons during an 11-season stretch from 2005-06 - 2015-16. The Blueshirts are the second team to reach the 40-win plateau in 2016-17.
In their last 91 back-to-back sets (since the start of the 2010-11 season), the Rangers have posted a 61-24-6 record in the second game of the set. New York has posted an 8-1-0 record in the second game of a back-to-back set in 2016-17.
The Rangers enter the contest with a six-game point streak at home, dating back to Feb. 5 vs. Calgary (5-0-1 record over the span).
ONE AND WON
Since Jan. 7, 13 of the Rangers' 20 games have been decided by one goal. The Rangers have earned at least one point in each of the last 10 games they have played which were decided by one goal, dating back to Jan. 22 (9-0-1). The Blueshirts have posted an 18-7-2 record in one-goal games this season and are tied for the NHL lead in winning percentage in one-goal games in 2016-17 (.667).
Each of the Blueshirts' last three games were decided in either overtime or a shootout. The Rangers have played three consecutive games which were decided in either overtime or a shootout for the first time since Nov. 1, 2014 vs. Winnipeg - Nov. 5, 2014 vs. Detroit. The Blueshirts have posted a 7-2 record in games decided in overtime this season, including a 4-0 record in games decided in the five-minute overtime period in 2016-17.
New York ranks second in the NHL in goals (204 - includes three team goals awarded for shootout wins) and ranks fourth in the NHL in goals per game (3.30) this season. New York has tallied four or more goals in 29 games this season. The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL in games with four or more goals in 2016-17.
The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in regulation in 11 of the last 16 games and in 37 of 61 games this season. The Blueshirts have posted a 31-4-2 record in those 37 contests in 2016-17.
Blueshirts defensemen have tallied 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) over the last seven games and a Rangers defenseman has recorded a goal in five of the seven contests (Klein - Feb. 11 vs. Colorado; Girardi - Feb. 13 at Columbus; Holden - Feb. 16 at NY Islanders; McDonagh - Feb. 19 vs. Washington; Clendening - Feb. 25 at New Jersey).
The Rangers recorded 40 shots on goal in their last game on Feb. 25 at New Jersey. In addition, all of the Rangers' 18 skaters registered at least one shot on goal on Feb. 23 at Toronto. The Blueshirts have registered at least 30 shots on goal in each of the last four games, in 10 of the last 13 contests, and in 15 of the last 20 games.
THIRD PERIOD TALLIES
The Blueshirts lead the NHL in third period goals in 2016-17 (83) and are the only NHL team that has recorded at least 80 goals in any period thus far this season.
New York has recorded the second-fewest penalty minutes in the NHL this season (420). The Rangers have been shorthanded three times or fewer in each of the last five games and in 16 of the last 18 contests.
The Rangers have posted a 29-6-4 record in 39 games in February since the start of the 2014-15 season, including a 9-1-1 record in games in February this season.
WINNING ON THE WEEKEND
New York has posted an 18-3-1 record in weekend games this season, including a 9-1-1 record in games played on a Sunday.
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. Lundqvist, who earned his 400th career NHL 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 has posted a 10-2-1 record, along with a 1.91 GAA, a .939 SV%, and 1 SO in his last 14 appearances.
Lundqvist enters the contest with 28 wins this season and 402 wins in his NHL career. He is two wins away from...
- passing Grant Fuhr for sole possession of 10th place on the NHL's all-time wins list
- passing Martin Brodeur for the most wins by a goaltender in his first 12 seasons in NHL history
- becoming the first goaltender in NHL history to earn 30 or more wins in 11 of his first 12 seasons, and the third goaltender in NHL history to earn at least 30 wins in 11 or more seasons (along with Brodeur and Patrick Roy).
IT'S MILLER TIME
J.T. Miller has registered a point in 18 of the last 24 games, tallying 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) over the span, and he has posted two, seven-game point streaks during the stretch. Miller has established career-highs in assists (28), points (47), and game-winning goals (six) in 2016-17.
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei has registered 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) and a plus-13 rating in the last 16 games (since Jan. 19), and he is the only NHL player who has recorded at least 12 points and a plus-12 rating over the span. He has also notched nine assists/points in the last 12 games, including eight assists/points in the last 10 games. Skjei has tallied 23 even strength assists this season, becoming the first Rangers defenseman to tally at least 20 even strength assists in his rookie season since Brian Leetch in 1988-89.
UP FOR GRABS
Michael Grabner leads the NHL in even strength goals (25), is tied for eighth in plus/minus rating (plus-28), and is tied for 10th in goals (26) this season. Grabner has skated in 102:10 of ice time while shorthanded this season, and the Rangers have only allowed five power play goals against while Grabner has been on the ice in 2016-17.
HEY HEY HAYES
Kevin Hayes has recorded eight points (two goals, six assists) in nine games since returning from injury. He leads the NHL in shorthanded assists (five) and shorthanded points (six) this season, and he is the first Ranger who has tallied at least five shorthanded assists in one season since Mark Messier in 1996-97. Hayes has tied his career-high in assists this season (28).
Mats Zuccarello has recorded 24 points (four goals, 20 assists) in the last 28 games, and he has tallied a point in 19 of the 28 contests. Zuccarello, who has tallied a shootout goal in each of the Rangers' last two games, is the Rangers' all-time leader in shootout goals (19) and is tied for second in the NHL in shootout goals this season (four).
Mika Zibanejad registered the game-winning goal in overtime on Feb. 25 at New Jersey, and he also tallied the game-deciding goal in the shootout on Feb. 23 at Toronto. He has recorded an assist/point in six of the last 12 games (one goal, six assists over the span), and the Rangers have posted a 25-9-2 record in games which Zibanejad has played this season.
- The Rangers were 0-for-1 (2:00) tonight at New Jersey.
- The Blueshirts are tied for 15th in the NHL in power play efficiency this season (19.1%; 34-for-178).
- The Rangers were 1-for-2 (2:04) tonight at New Jersey.
- New York has not allowed a PPG against in 10 of the last 16 games.
- The Blueshirts are tied for the NHL lead in SHG in 2016-17 (eight).
- Brandon Pirri - 3 points away from 100 in his NHL career
- Derek Stepan - 5 games away from 500 in his NHL career/as a Ranger
INJURIES (139 Man-Games Lost to Injury)
- Kevin Klein (back spasms) - has missed two games
THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY
- Feb. 26, 1929 - John Ross Roach earned his 12th shutout of the 1928-29 season, establishing a single-season Rangers record for shutouts (Roach still holds the Rangers' single-season record for shutouts with 13). The Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators, 2-0, at MSG.
- Feb. 26, 1931 - Bill Cook registered a hat trick and tallied an assist as the Rangers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1, at MSG.