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Rangers vs. Panthers 3.17.17: Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS
Friday, Mar. 17, 2017, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
 
Rangers: 44-24-2 (90 pts)
Panthers: 30-28-11 (71 pts)

TONIGHT'S GAME
The Rangers play their 71st game of the 2016-17 season and begin a back-to-back set tonight, Mar. 17, against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Blueshirts have won 13 of their last 20 games (13-6-1), as well as 16 of their last 25 contests (16-8-1). The Rangers have posted a 44-24-2 record this season.
 
RANGERS VS. PANTHERS

  • All-Time: 51-29-6-5 (26-14-4-1 at home; 25-15-2-4 on the road)
  • 2016-17: Tomorrow's game is the third of three meetings between the Rangers and Panthers, and the second of two meetings between the two teams at MSG. The Rangers have posted a 1-0-1 record (0-0-1 at home; 1-0-0 on the road) and defeated the Panthers, 5-2, in the last meeting between the two teams on Mar. 7 at Florida. Chris Kreider, Tanner Glass, Mats Zuccarello, and Oscar Lindberg have all registered two points thus far in the season series, and six different Rangers have tallied a goal in two contests.
  • The Rangers have won nine of their last 11 games against the Panthers, dating back to Nov. 10, 2013 (9-1-1). In addition, the Rangers have won 14 of their last 19 games against Florida, dating back to Mar. 22, 2011 (14-4-1).

RANGERS-PANTHERS CONNECTIONS

  • Jaromir Jagr played parts of four seasons with the Rangers (2003-04 - 2007-08) and established single-season franchise records with 54 goals and 123 points in 2005-06. Jagr also served as the Rangers captain for two seasons (2006-07 and 2007-08).
  • Keith Yandle played parts of two seasons with the Rangers (2014-15 and 2015-16).
  • Tanner Glass was selected by Florida in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and played parts of two seasons with the Panthers (2007-08 and 2008-09).
  • Steven Kampfer skated in 73 games over parts of three seasons with the Panthers (2014-15 - 2016-17). Kampfer was acquired by the Panthers in a trade with the Rangers on Oct. 6, 2014, and he was acquired by the Rangers in a trade with the Panthers on Nov. 8, 2016.
  • Brandon Pirri played parts of three seasons with Florida (2013-14 - 2015-16) and established a career-high with 22 goals while playing with the Panthers in 2014-15.
  • Brendan Smith and Reilly Smith are brothers.
  • Thomas Vanek and Michael Grabner rank first and second, respectively, among Austrian-born players in goals, assists, and points in NHL history.
  • Jonathan Marchessault played one season with the Rangers' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Connecticut Whale (2011-12).
  • Roberto Luongo and Henrik Lundqvist rank first and second, respectively, among active NHL goaltenders in career appearances, wins, and shutouts.
  • J.T. Miller, Jimmy Vesey, and Vincent Trocheck helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Brady Skjei and Nick Bjugstad were teammates at the University of Minnesota for one season (2012-13). 

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. PANTHERS

  • Antti Raanta - 1 GP, 1-0-0, 2.59 GAA, .935 SV% - In his only career appearance against Florida, Raanta stopped 29 of 31 shots he faced and earned a win after entering the game in relief on Dec. 8, 2013.
  • Derek Stepan - 22 GP, 5-13-18 - Stepan has not gone two consecutive games without a point against Florida over the course of his career. He has notched an assist/point in eight of the last 11 games against the Panthers, registering 10 assists over the span.
  • Rick Nash - 22 GP, 10-8-18 - Nash has registered seven points (six goals, one assist) in the last seven games against Florida.
  • Mats Zuccarello - 16 GP, 7-10-17 - Zuccarello has recorded a point in five of the last seven games against the Panthers (three goals, five assists), and he has posted five multi-point games in 16 career contests against Florida.

WINNING WAYS
The Rangers' 44 wins in 2016-17 are tied for the 10th-most in one season in franchise history. In addition, the 44 wins are tied for the third-most the Rangers have earned through the first 70 games of a season in franchise history, and the only seasons in which the Blueshirts earned more wins through the first 70 games were 1971-72 (46) and 2014-15 (45). The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL in wins this season and are also tied for the NHL lead in wins since the start of the 2013-14 season (188). The Rangers' 188 wins since 2013-14 are the most in any four-season span in franchise history.
 
BOUNCE BACK
Since Dec. 22, 2015, the Rangers have posted a 36-9-1 record in the game following a loss (regulation or overtime/shootout). New York has posted a 19-5-1 record in games following a loss in 2016-17.
 
ONE AND WON
Since Jan. 7, 17 of the Rangers' 29 games have been decided by one goal. The Rangers have earned at least one point in 12 of the last 14 games they have played which were decided by one goal, dating back to Jan. 22 (11-2-1). The Blueshirts have posted a 20-9-2 record in one-goal games this season and rank second in the NHL in winning percentage in one-goal games in 2016-17 (.645).
 
TWO GOOD
The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in regulation in 15 of the last 25 games and in 41 games this season. The Blueshirts have posted a 35-4-2 record in those 41 contests in 2016-17.
 
ON POINT
Blueshirts defensemen have tallied 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) over the last 16 games and a Rangers defenseman has recorded a goal in nine of the 16 contests. Seven different defensemen have recorded a goal over the span (Klein, Girardi, Holden, McDonagh, Clendening, Skjei, and Kampfer). A Blueshirts defenseman has notched a point on 16 of the team's last 25 goals.
 
GOALS GALORE
The Rangers have tallied four or more goals in 31 games this season. The Blueshirts are one of four NHL teams that have registered at least four goals in 30 or more contests in 2016-17 (along with Pittsburgh, Washington, and Chicago). New York also ranks second in the NHL in games with five or more goals this season (18). Ten Rangers have registered 10 or more goals in 2016-17.
 
AV SQUAD
Since Alain Vigneault was named the Rangers' Head Coach prior to the start of the 2013-14 season, the Blueshirts are tied for the NHL lead in wins (188). Vigneault leads all NHL head coaches in wins since the start of the 2006-07 season (501).
 
KREID-ING HIGH
Chris Kreider has established career-highs in goals (26) and points (48) this season. He leads the Rangers in games with a goal (22) and ranks second on the team in goals in 2016-17. Kreider is one of five NHL players who have recorded at least 26 goals and 100 hits this season (along with Alex Ovechkin, Wayne Simmonds, Joe Pavelski, and Nazem Kadri). Kreider leads the Rangers in goals (15) and points (29) at home in 2016-17.
 
CAPTAIN MAC
Ryan McDonagh is one of five NHL defensemen who have registered at least 20 primary assists this season. In addition, McDonagh is one of four NHL defensemen who have recorded at least 38 points and a plus-19 rating in 2016-17. The Rangers captain is tied for first among NHL defensemen in games with a plus/minus rating of even or better this season (58).
 
RAISE THE ANTTI
Antti Raanta has posted a 14-5-0 record, along with a 2.13 GAA, a .927 SV%, and 3 SO in 21 starts in 2016-17. He is tied for eighth in the NHL in SV% (.921) and ranks 11th in the NHL in GAA (2.29) this season. Raanta has established career-highs in wins (14) and shutouts (three) in 2016-17. In 42 career appearances at home, Raanta has posted a 23-9-4 record, along with a 1.99 GAA, a .926 SV%, and 5 SO.
 
HEY HEY HAYES
Kevin Hayes has established career-highs in assists (29), points (46), shorthanded assists (six), shorthanded points (seven), and game-winning goals (four) this season, and he has also tied his career-high in goals (17). Hayes leads the NHL in shorthanded assists and shorthanded points this season, and he is the first Ranger who has registered six shorthanded assists in one season since Mark Messier in 1996-97.
 
WELCOME MATS
Mats Zuccarello leads the Rangers in assists (36) and even strength assists (30) 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.
 
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei has registered 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) and a plus-13 rating in the last 25 games (since Jan. 19), and he is the only NHL defenseman who has recorded at least 15 points and a plus-13 rating over the span. He ranks fourth among NHL defensemen in even strength assists this season (25), trailing only Duncan Keith, Erik Karlsson, and Brent Burns. Skjei has recorded 29 assists this season, which is tied for the fourth-most by a Ranger defenseman in his rookie season in franchise history. The only Rangers defensemen who have tallied 30 or more assists in their rookie season are Brian Leetch (48 - 1988-89), Reijo Ruotsalainen (38 - 1981-82), and Ron Greschner (37 - 1974-75).
 
IT'S MILLER TIME
J.T. Miller has established career-highs in assists (31), points (50), and game-winning goals (six) this season. He has registered a point in 21 of the last 33 games, recording 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) over the span. Miller is one of four NHL players who have registered at least 50 points and a plus-20 rating this season.
 
UP FOR GRABS
Michael Grabner leads the NHL (min. 10 games played) in goals per 60 minutes of ice time this season (1.80). He is tied for the NHL lead in even strength goals in 2016-17 (26), and he also leads the Rangers in goals this season (27).
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
 
Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 0-for-1 (2:00) on Mar. 13 vs. Tampa Bay.
  • The Blueshirts are 4-for-9 (44.4%) on the power play over the last three games.

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 1-for-2 (2:48) on Mar. 13 vs. Tampa Bay.
  • The Blueshirts rank second in the NHL in SHG in 2016-17 (nine).

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Brendan Smith - 2 games away from 300 in his NHL career
  • Brandon Pirri - 2 points away from 100 in his NHL career 

INJURIES (174 Man-Games Lost to Injury)

  • Kevin Klein (back spasms) - has missed 11 games
  • Dan Girardi (ankle) - has missed eight games
  • Henrik Lundqvist (hip strain) - has missed three 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
  • Mar. 14 - Assigned Magnus Hellberg to Hartford (AHL)
  • Mar. 11 - Recalled Magnus Hellberg from Hartford (AHL) on an emergency basis

THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Mar. 16, 1998 - Mike Richter earned his 200th career NHL win as the Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators, 5-4, at MSG. Wayne Gretzky (four assists), Alexei Kovalev (two goals, two assists), and Niklas Sundstrom (one goal, three assists) each recorded four points in the contest.
  • Mar. 17, 1982 - Reijo Ruotsalainen registered a hat trick as the Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-2, at MSG. Ruotsalainen is the last Rangers defenseman who has tallied a hat trick in a regular season game.
  • Mar. 17, 1993 - The Rangers acquired Esa Tikkanen from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Doug Weight.
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