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Rangers vs. Islanders 10.13.16: Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY 

Rangers: 46-27-9 (101 pts)*

Islanders: 45-27-10 (100 pts)*

* Records are from the 2015-16 regular season 

TONIGHT'S GAME

The Rangers begin their 90th NHL season tomorrow, Oct. 13, with a Metropolitan Division matchup against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Blueshirts are opening up their regular season schedule at home for the first time since the 2007-08 season and are playing their first game of a season against the Islanders for the second time in franchise history (1997-98; 2-2 tie on Oct. 3, 1997).

RANGERS VS. ISLANDERS

  • All-Time: 124-107-19-8 (70-43-11-5 at home; 54-64-8-3 on the road)
  • 2016-17: Tomorrow's game is the first of four meetings between the Rangers and Islanders this season, and the first of two meetings between the two teams at MSG. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers and Islanders will play against each other on the following dates: Dec. 6 (at Brooklyn), Feb. 16 (at Brooklyn), Mar. 22 (at MSG).
  • 2015-16: The Rangers posted a 0-3-1 record (0-2-0 at home; 0-1-1 on the road). Henrik Lundqvist posted a 2.20 GAA and a .929 SV% in three appearances during the season series.
  • The Rangers have earned at least one point in 15 of their last 23 games against the Islanders, dating back to Nov. 15, 2011 (12-8-3).
  • The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 13 of their last 20 home games against the Islanders, dating back to Dec. 29, 2008 (11-7-2).

RANGERS-ISLANDERS CONNECTIONS

  • Michael Grabner played five seasons with the Islanders (2010-11 - 2014-15).
  • Rick Nash and Jason Chimera were teammates with the Columbus Blue Jackets for parts of five seasons (2005-06 - 2009-10).
  • Islanders Assistant General Manager and Assistant Coach Doug Weight played parts of three seasons with the Rangers (1990-91 - 1992-93).

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. ISLANDERS

  • Henrik Lundqvist - 53 GP, 29-17-6, 2.22 GAA, .921 SV%, 5 SO - Lundqvist has posted an 8-4-0 record, along with a 2.28 GAA, a .913 SV%, and 3 SO in his last 12 appearances at home against the Islanders, dating back to Mar. 24, 2010.
  • Rick Nash - 25 GP, 10-8-18 - Since joining the Rangers prior to the 2012-13 season, Nash has recorded 10 points (six goals, four assists) in 16 games against the Islanders.
  • Derek Stepan - 28 GP, 4-13-17 - Stepan has tallied 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in his last 14 games against the Islanders.
  • Chris Kreider - 15 GP, 3-7-10 - Kreider has recorded six points (one goal, five assists) in eight career home games against the Islanders.
  • Mika Zibanejad - 12 GP, 3-4-7 - Zibanejad has notched a point in five of his last six contests against the Islanders (one goal, four assists).

WINNING WAYS

The Rangers have posted the best record in the National Hockey League since January 1, 2014 (124-61-20; .654 points percentage). The Rangers posted a 99-49-16 record during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. The Blueshirts' 99 wins in 2014-15 and 2015-16 were the most recorded in any two-season span in franchise history. In addition, the Rangers earned 144 wins over the last three seasons (2013-14 - 2015-16), which is tied for the most wins the team has earned in any three-season span in franchise history (the Blueshirts also earned 144 wins from 1970-71 - 1972-73).

SHUTTING THE DOOR

The Rangers lead the NHL in goals against per game since the start of the 2005-06 season (2.44). The Blueshirts have ranked fifth or better in the NHL in goals against per game in seven of the last 11 seasons, including five of the last six seasons. The Rangers are the only NHL team that has ranked fifth or better in goals against per game in seven different seasons since 2005-06, as well as the only NHL team that has ranked fifth or better in goals against per game in five different seasons since 2010-11.

HIGH FIVE

Over the last two seasons (2014-15 and 2015-16), the Rangers led the NHL in both shooting percentage (8.9) and save percentage (.933) at 5-on-5 play. In addition, the Rangers led the NHL in goals (343) and goal differential (plus-77; 343-266) at 5-on-5 over the last two seasons. The Rangers led the NHL in both categories in 2015-16 (9.0 shooting percentage and .934 save percentage).

POINT TAKEN

The Blueshirts posted a 46-27-9 record and earned 101 points during the 2015-16 season. After earning a single-season franchise record 113 points in 2014-15, the Rangers recorded 100 or more points in at least two consecutive seasons for the second time in franchise history (1970-71 - 1972-73; three consecutive seasons). New York registered at least 100 points in a season for the ninth time in franchise history. In addition, New York is one of six NHL teams that earned 100 or more points in both 2014-15 and 2015-16 (along with Anaheim, Chicago, NY Islanders, St. Louis, and Washington). 

HOME COOKING 

The Rangers posted a 27-10-4 record at MSG during the 2015-16 season. New York tied for second in the NHL in points (58) and ranked third in the NHL in wins (27) at home last season. In addition, the Rangers ranked third in the NHL in goals (130) and goals per game (3.17) at home in 2015-16, recording more goals at home in one season since tallying 139 goals at home in 1996-97. The Blueshirts' 58 home points in 2015-16 were tied for the fifth-most in one season in franchise history, and the Rangers registered at least 58 points at home in one season for the first time since 1993-94. 

YOUTH SERVED

The Rangers have 13 forwards younger than 30 years old on their roster (including Oscar Lindberg), as well as seven forwards younger than 25 years old. The last time the Rangers had 11 or more forwards younger than 30 years old in the same lineup in one game was on Mar. 1, 2014 at Philadelphia.

AV SQUAD

Alain Vigneault leads all NHL head coaches in regular season wins since the start of the 2006-07 season (457). In addition, Vigneault is tied for second among NHL head coaches in playoff series coached (20) and playoff games coached (117) over the span. Vigneault leads all Rangers head coaches (min. 100 regular season games coached) in points percentage in franchise history (.630). Since he was named Rangers Head Coach prior to the start of the 2013-14 season, the Blueshirts rank third in the NHL - and lead the Eastern Conference - in wins (144).

KING HENRIK

Henrik Lundqvist is expected to make his 11th consecutive start in a season-opening game for the Rangers (dating back to 2006-07). By starting the regular season opener, Lundqvist would become the second goaltender in franchise history to start in at least 11 season-opening games, as well as 11 consecutive season-opening games (Ed Giacomin - 11 from 1965-66 - 1975-76). In addition, Lundqvist, who is entering his 12th season with the Rangers, would become the second goaltender to appear in at least one regular season game in 12 different seasons with the Rangers (Mike Richter - 14).

Lundqvist is one of three goaltenders in NHL history who have earned at least 30 wins in 10 different seasons (along with Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy). He is the Rangers' all-time leader in several categories, including wins (374), appearances (685), shutouts (59), and save percentage (.921).

CAPTAIN MAC

Ryan McDonagh was one of three NHL defensemen who registered at least 30 points and a plus-25 rating during the 2015-16 season (along with Brian Campbell and Colton Parayko). McDonagh is one of two Rangers in franchise history who posted a plus-11 rating or better in each of his first six NHL seasons (along with Brad Park). 

STEP-AN UP

Since he joined the team at the start of the 2010-11 season, Derek Stepan leads the Rangers in goals (111), assists (194), and points (305), and he ranks second in games played (434) and plus/minus rating (plus-90). Stepan has registered at least 50 points in each of the last three seasons (2013-14 - 2015-16). He became the first Rangers center to tally at least 50 points in three consecutive seasons since Wayne Gretzky did so from 1996-97 - 1998-99.

VENI, VIDI, VESEY

Jimmy Vesey won the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in collegiate hockey in 2015-16. The 23-year-old, who was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on Aug. 19, 2016, tallied 56 goals in his final two seasons of collegiate hockey (2014-15 and 2015-16), leading the NCAA in goals over the span. 

MIKA MAGIC

Last season, Mika Zibanejad was one of 11 NHL centers who logged at least 1,000 even strength minutes of ice time, 200 power play minutes of ice time, and 100 shorthanded minutes of ice time. Zibanejad's goals, assists, and points totals have increased in every season throughout his NHL career (2011-12 - 2015-16), and he has recorded at least 20 goals in each of the last two seasons.

RICK ROLLING

Rick Nash is one of three NHL players who have registered 20 or more goals in 11 different seasons since 2003-04 (along with Alex Ovechkin and Jarome Iginla). Since he joined the Rangers prior to the 2012-13 season, Nash is tied for 10th in the NHL in goals per game (0.42), and he ranks seventh in the NHL (min. 50 games played) in goals per 60 minutes of ice time (1.42). Nash was named an alternate captain on Oct. 11.

HOW THE RANGERS WERE BUILT

  • Draft (9): Buchnevich, Fast, Kreider, Lundqvist, McIlrath, Miller, Skjei, Staal, Stepan
  • Free Agency (8): Clendening, Girardi*, Grabner, Hayes*, Jooris, Pirri, Vesey*, Zuccarello*
  • Trade (7): Holden, Klein, Lindberg*, McDonagh*, Nash, Raanta, Zibanejad

*Although they were not drafted by the Rangers, Girardi, Hayes, Lindberg, McDonagh, Vesey, and Zuccarello have not played in the NHL with another team.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Over the last two seasons (2014-15 and 2015-16), the Rangers have posted a 32-2-3 record in games which they have outscored their opponent on special teams.

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Michael Grabner - 3 games away from 400 in his NHL career
  • J.T. Miller - 4 games away from 200 in his NHL career
  • Rick Nash - 7 goals away from 400 in his NHL career

INJURIES

  • Oscar Lindberg (hip surgery) - placed on IR
  • Kevin Klein (injured) - day-to-day

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

  • None

THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Oct. 12, 1976 - Don Murdoch became the first Ranger in franchise history to tally five goals in one game as the Rangers defeated the Minnesota North Stars, 10-4.
  •  Oct. 13, 1993 - The Rangers established a single-game franchise record by tallying six power play goals in a 6-4 win against the Quebec Nordiques.
  • Oct. 13, 2005 - In his first career appearance at MSG, Henrik Lundqvist earned his first career NHL win as the Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils, 4-1.
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