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Rangers vs. Islanders 3.22.17: Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Wednesday, Mar. 22, 2017, 8:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
 
Rangers: 45-24-4 (94 pts)
Islanders: 33-26-12 (78 pts)
 
TONIGHT'S GAME
The Rangers play their 74th game of the 2016-17 season and conclude a back-to-back set tonight, Mar. 22, against the New York Islanders in a Metropolitan Division matchup at Madison Square Garden (8:00 p.m. ET - TV: NBCSN; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Rangers have earned at least one point in each of the last three games, four of the last five games, and six of the last eight contests. The Blueshirts have won 14 of their last 23 games (14-6-3), as well as 17 of their last 28 contests (17-8-3). The Rangers have posted a 45-24-4 record this season.

RANGERS VS. ISLANDERS

  • All-Time: 125-109-19-8 (71-43-11-5 at home; 54-66-8-3 on the road)
  • 2016-17: Tomorrow's game is the fourth of four meetings between the Rangers and Islanders, and the second of two meetings between the two teams at MSG. The Rangers have posted a 1-2-0 record (1-0-0 at home; 0-2-0 on the road), and the Islanders defeated the Blueshirts, 4-2, in the last meeting between the two teams on Feb. 16 at Barclays Center. Brady Skjei is tied for first among all skaters with three assists and three points in the season series.
  • The Rangers have earned at least one point in 16 of their last 26 games against the Islanders, dating back to Nov. 15, 2011 (13-10-3 record over the span).

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 Interim Head Coach Doug Weight played parts of three seasons with the Rangers (1990-91 - 1992-93).

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. ISLANDERS

  • Chris Kreider - 18 GP, 4-9-13 - Kreider has notched six points (two goals, four assists) in his last nine games against the Islanders.
  • Rick Nash - 28 GP, 10-10-20 - Since he joined the Rangers prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, Nash has registered 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 19 games against the Islanders.
  • Mika Zibanejad - 14 GP, 3-6-9 - Zibanejad has registered a point in six of his last eight games against the Islanders, recording seven points (one goal, six assists) in the eight contests. 

FINAL COUNTDOWN
The Rangers have nine regular season games remaining in the 2016-17 season. The Blueshirts' final nine regular season games this season include four home games and five road games, as well as five contests against Metropolitan Division opponents. 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).
 
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 second 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.
 
BACK-TO-BACK
The Rangers have posted a 10-3-0 record in the second game of a back-to-back set thus far this season. In their last 95 back-to-back sets (since the start of the 2010-11 season), the Rangers have posted a 63-26-6 record in the second game of the set. The Blueshirts are currently playing an eight-game stretch comprised of four consecutive back-to-back sets. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers are the first NHL team in seven years to play eight straight games that are part of four consecutive back-to-back sets (Carolina - Nov. 28, 2010 - Dec. 16, 2010).
 
GOALS GALORE
New York ranks third in the NHL in goals this season (233 - includes three team goals awarded for shootout wins). The Rangers rank fifth in the NHL in goals per game in 2016-17 (3.15) and have recorded three or more goals in 43 contests this season.
 
ONE AND WON
Each of the Rangers' last four games and 20 of the team's last 32 games have been decided by one goal. The Rangers have earned at least one point in 15 of the last 17 games they have played which were decided by one goal, dating back to Jan. 22 (12-2-3). The Blueshirts have posted a 21-9-4 record in one-goal games this season and are tied for first in the Eastern Conference in winning percentage in one-goal games in 2016-17 (.618).
 
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
Three Rangers rookies (Brady Skjei, Jimmy Vesey, and Pavel 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 (Mike York, Jan Hlavac, and Kim Johnsson).
 
TWO GOOD
The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in regulation in 17 of the last 28 games and in 43 games this season. The Blueshirts have posted a 36-4-3 record in those 43 contests in 2016-17.
 
ON POINT
Rangers defensemen have tallied 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists) over the last 19 games, and a Rangers defenseman has recorded a goal in 10 of the 19 contests. A Blueshirts defenseman has notched a point on 21 of the team's last 33 goals.
 
SHOOTING GALLERY
New York registered 40 shots on goal in tonight's contest against New Jersey. The Blueshirts have recorded at least 30 shots on goal in 12 of the last 16 games, in 18 of the last 25 contests, and in 23 of the last 32 games.
 
HOT AT THE DOT
New York tied a single-game season-high with 43 faceoff wins in tonight's game against the Devils (43-for-70; 61.4%). The Rangers have won at least 50.0% of faceoffs taken in each of the last four games (60.2%; 151-for-251 over the span) and have won at least 60.0% of faceoffs taken in three of those four contests.
 
AV SQUAD
Alain Vigneault enters tomorrow's contest with 319 career games coached as the Rangers' Head Coach, and he is tied with John Tortorella for fifth place on the franchise's all-time games coached list. Vigneault leads all NHL head coaches in wins since the start of the 2006-07 season (502).
 
KREID-ING HIGH
Chris Kreider has established career-highs in goals (26) and points (49) this season. He has tallied a point in five of the last seven games (two goals, four assists). Kreider is one of six NHL players who have recorded at least 26 goals and 100 hits this season. He leads the Rangers in goals (15) and points (30) at home this season.
 
CAPTAIN MAC
Ryan McDonagh is one of five 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).
 
RAISE THE ANTTI
Antti Raanta has posted a 15-5-2 record, along with a 2.19 GAA, a .926 SV%, and 3 SO in 24 starts this season. He has established career-highs in appearances (28), wins (15), and shutouts (three) in 2016-17.
 
WELCOME MATS
Mats Zuccarello leads the Rangers in assists (37) and even strength assists (31) this season, and he is the first Ranger who has recorded at least 30 even strength assists in one season since Marian Gaborik in 2009-10.
 
STEP-AN UP
Derek Stepan has recorded 48 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 four points (one goal, three assists) and 25 shots on goal over the last six games.
 
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei registered his 30th assist of the 2016-17 season tonight at New Jersey. He is the fourth defenseman who has recorded at least 30 assists in his rookie season in franchise history, joining Brian Leetch (48 - 1988-89), Reijo Ruotsalainen (38 - 1981-82), and Ron Greschner (37 - 1974-75) as the only defensemen to accomplish the feat. In addition, Skjei is 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-14 rating in the last 28 games (since Jan. 19), and he is the only NHL defenseman who has recorded at least 17 points and a plus-14 rating over the span.
 
IT'S MILLER TIME
J.T. Miller has tallied a point in 23 of the last 36 games, recording 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) over the span. Miller is one of six NHL players (and the only Eastern Conference player) who have registered at least 52 points and a plus-21 rating this season, and he leads the Rangers in points in 2016-17 (52).
 
VESEY DOES IT
Jimmy Vesey tallied his fifth game-winning goal of the 2016-17 season on Mar. 18 at Minnesota, becoming the first Ranger to tally at least five game-winning goals in his rookie season since Mike Ridley in 1985-86 (six).
 
HOLDEN STEADY
Nick Holden is one of two NHL defensemen who have registered at least 10 goals and 140 hits this season (along with Dustin Byfuglien). Holden leads the Rangers in hits (147) and leads team defensemen in goals (10) in 2016-17.
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
 
Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 1-for-2 (4:00) tonight at New Jersey.
  • The Blueshirts are 6-for-17 (35.3%) on the power play over the last six games (since Mar. 9) and are tied for second in the NHL in power play efficiency over the span. 

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 2-for-3 (4:30) tonight at New Jersey.
  • The Blueshirts are tied for third in the NHL in SHG in 2016-17 (nine).

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Brandon Pirri - 2 points away from 100 in his NHL career 

INJURIES (183 Man-Games Lost to Injury)

  • Kevin Klein (indefinite) - has missed 14 games
  • Dan Girardi (indefinite) - has missed 11 games
  • Henrik Lundqvist - has missed six games 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

  • Mar. 16 - Recalled Magnus Hellberg from Hartford (AHL) on an emergency basis; Agreed to terms with Tim Gettinger on an entry-level contract 

THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Mar. 22, 1992 - Mark Messier registered four goals and became the fourth Ranger in franchise history (at the time) to record at least 100 points in a season as the Blueshirts defeated the New Jersey Devils, 6-3, at MSG.
  • Mar. 22, 2014 - Henrik Lundqvist earned his 50th career shutout, passing Ed Giacomin to become the Rangers' all-time leader in shutouts. Lundqvist stopped all 21 shots he faced as the Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils, 2-0.
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