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Rangers vs. Penguins 11.23.16: Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
 
Rangers: 14-5-1 (29 pts)
Penguins: 11-5-3 (25 pts)

TONIGHT'S GAME
The Rangers play their 21st game of the 2016-17 season and conclude a home-and-home set tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). All of the Blueshirts' next seven games (including tonight's game) are against Eastern Conference opponents, and five of the seven games are against Metropolitan Division opponents. The Rangers have won 13 of their last 18 games (13-4-1), including 12 of their last 16 games (12-3-1) and nine of their last 12 games (9-2-1). The Blueshirts have posted a 14-5-1 record this season.

RANGERS VS. PENGUINS

  • All-Time: 125-107-23-12 (69-51-9-5 at home; 56-56-14-7 on the road)
  • 2016-17: Tomorrow's game is the second of five meetings between the Rangers and Penguins, and the first of three meetings between the two teams at MSG. The Rangers have posted a 1-0-0 record (0-0-0 at home; 1-0-0 on the road) against Pittsburgh and defeated the Penguins, 5-2, on Nov. 21 in Pittsburgh. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers and Penguins will play against each other on the following dates: Dec. 20 (at Pittsburgh), Mar. 31 (at MSG), Apr. 9 (at MSG).
  • The Rangers have earned at least one point in 12 of their last 15 games against the Penguins, dating back to Apr. 3, 2013 (8-3-4).
  • New York has earned at least one point in six of its last seven games against Pittsburgh at MSG (4-1-2). 

RANGERS-PENGUINS CONNECTIONS

  • Glen Sather played parts of two seasons with the Penguins (1969-70 - 1970-71).
  • Mike Sullivan served as an Assistant Coach with the Rangers for four seasons (2009-10 - 2012-13). Sullivan was selected by the Rangers in the fourth round (69th overall) of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Adam Clendening played nine games with Pittsburgh during the 2015-16 season.
  • The Rangers list two former Penguins on their roster: Carl Hagelin (2011-12 - 2014-15) and Matt Cullen (2006-07).
  • 90TH SEASON NOTE - Wayne Gretzky played his final NHL game on Apr. 18, 1999 against Pittsburgh at MSG.

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. PENGUINS

  • Henrik Lundqvist - 59 GP, 29-21-9, 2.42 GAA, .916 SV%, 4 SO - Lundqvist's 59 career regular season appearances against the Penguins are the most he has made against one opponent in his career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Rangers goaltender who faced one opponent in 60 regular season games was Ed Giacomin, who appeared in 67 career games against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
  • Antti Raanta - 2 GP, 1-0-0, 1.51 GAA, .941 SV% - Raanta earned a win in his first career start against Pittsburgh on Nov. 21, 2016, stopping 29 of 31 shots he faced.
  • Rick Nash - 25 GP, 12-9-21 - Nash has tallied nine points (five goals, four assists) in his last seven regular season games against Pittsburgh. Including playoff games, Nash has recorded 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in his last 17 contests against the Penguins.
  • Ryan McDonagh - 24 GP, 4-7-11 - McDonagh has tallied a point in seven of his last 12 games against Pittsburgh (four goals, four assists).
  • Kevin Hayes - 9 GP, 3-4-7 - Hayes has posted a multi-point game in each of his last two contests against the Penguins (one goal, three assists). 

WINNING WAYS
This season, the Rangers have earned at least 14 wins in their first 20 games of a season for the fourth time in franchise history (1971-72, 1972-73, 2015-16, 2016-17). New York is tied for the NHL lead in wins thus far this season (14 - tied with Montreal).
 
GOALS GALORE
The Rangers have registered 81 goals through the first 20 games of the 2016-17 season. New York has recorded at least 81 goals in the first 20 contests of a season for the first time since 1990-91. The Rangers lead the NHL in goals per game this season (4.05).
 
HIGH FIVE
The Rangers have tallied five or more goals in 10 of the first 20 games in one season for the second time in franchise history (also in 1971-72). New York is the first NHL team to tally five or more goals in 10 of its first 20 games of a season since Ottawa and Philadelphia accomplished the feat in 2005-06.
 
MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
The Rangers lead the NHL in goal differential this season (plus-34; 81 goals for, 47 goals against). The Rangers' plus-34 goal differential through 20 games this season is the second-best goal differential the team has posted through the first 20 games of any season in franchise history (1971-72 - plus-52).
 
HOME COOKING
New York has posted an 8-2-1 record at home this season and has registered 47 goals in its 11 contests at MSG in 2016-17. The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 70 of their last 91 home games, dating back to Oct. 16, 2014 (60-21-10 record).
 
GREAT EIGHT
Four Rangers have tallied eight or more goals thus far this season (Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller, and Rick Nash). The Blueshirts have four players who have tallied eight or more goals through the first 20 games of a season for the first time since 1995-96 (Mark Messier, Adam Graves, Pat Verbeek, and Ray Ferraro). The Rangers are the only NHL team that has four players who have tallied eight or more goals thus far in 2016-17.
 
ON POINT
Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei have tallied 11 or more assists through the first 20 games of the season (McDonagh - 13; Skjei - 11). Two Rangers defensemen have recorded 11 or more assists within the first 20 games of a season for the first time since 1993-94 (Brian Leetch and Sergei Zubov). In addition, three Rangers defensemen (McDonagh, Skjei, and Nick Holden) have recorded eight or more assists within the first 20 games of a season for the first time since 1996-97 (Leetch, Bruce Driver, and Alexander Karpovtsev).
 
SECOND HELPING
The Rangers have outscored their opponents, 35-11, in the second period this season. The Rangers' 35 goals in the second period this season are the most in the NHL (Philadelphia and Nashville are tied for second with 25), and their 11 goals against in the second period are the second-fewest allowed in the NHL this season (Minnesota has only allowed nine goals in the second period).
 
UP FOR GRABS
Michael Grabner leads the NHL in even strength goals (12) and plus/minus rating (plus-19), and he is tied for the NHL lead in goals (12) in 2016-17. He became the first Ranger to tally 11 or more even strength goals in the team's first 18 games of one season since Rod Gilbert in 1971-72.
 
CAPTAIN MAC
Ryan McDonagh tallied two assists and established a single-game career-high with a plus-five rating on Nov. 21 at Pittsburgh. He became the first Rangers defenseman to post a plus-five rating in one game since Darius Kasparaitis on Dec. 26, 2003 vs. Toronto. McDonagh ranks second among NHL defensemen in assists this season (13), and he leads the Rangers in assists in 2016-17. The Rangers captain has led the team in ice time in each of the first 20 games this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, McDonagh is the only player who has led his team in ice time in every game his team has played in 2016-17.
 
KING HENRIK
Henrik Lundqvist is one of 10 goaltenders in NHL history who have earned at least 350 career wins and 60 career shutouts. Lundqvist appeared in his 700th career NHL game on Nov. 20 vs. Florida, becoming the fifth goaltender in NHL history to appear in at least 700 games with one franchise (Brodeur - NJD; Esposito - CHI; Sawchuk - DET; Kolzig - WSH). In his last 11 starts, Lundqvist has posted an 8-2-1 record, along with a 1.99 GAA, a .931 SV%, and 1 SO.
 
RAISE THE ANTTI
Antti Raanta has earned a win in each of his first five decisions to start this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Raanta is the first Rangers goaltender who has earned a win in each of his first five decisions to start a season since Steve Weeks in 1983-84. He has posted a 4-0-0 record, along with a 1.64 GAA and a .950 SV% in his last five appearances.
 
IT'S MILLER TIME
J.T. Miller has recorded a point in 13 of the Rangers' 14 wins in 2016-17, and the Blueshirts have posted a 13-0-0 record in games which he has tallied a point this season. He has registered 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in the last 16 games, and he is tied for the team lead in points this season (18).
 
HEY HEY HAYES
Kevin Hayes enters the contest with 99 career NHL points. Thus far in Hayes' NHL career, 84 of his 99 points have been primary points (a goal or the primary assist on a goal). Hayes is tied for the team lead in points this season (18), and he also ranks second in the NHL in plus/minus rating (plus-17).
 
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei leads NHL rookies in assists this season (11), and he has tallied 10 assists/points in the last 15 games. He is tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in assists this season.
 
ON THE MARC
Marc Staal enters tomorrow's contest with 637 career games played as a Ranger. He is currently tied with Camille Henry for 19th place on the franchise's all-time games played list.
  
SPECIAL TEAMS
 
Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 0-for-1 (2:00) on Nov. 21 at Pittsburgh.
  • The Blueshirts rank eighth in the NHL in power play efficiency this season (21.7%; 13-for-60).
  • New York has recorded a power play goal in 10 of 20 games in 2016-17.

 
Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 2-for-2 (4:00) and tallied a shorthanded goal on Nov. 21 at Pittsburgh.
  • The Blueshirts rank seventh in the NHL in penalty kill efficiency this season (85.5%; 47-for-55).
  • The Rangers have not allowed a power play goal against in seven of the last nine games. The Blueshirts have killed off 24 of their opponents' last 26 power play opportunities (over a 10-game stretch), dating back to Nov. 3 (92.3%).
  • New York is tied for the NHL lead in shorthanded goals this season (three). 

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Kevin Hayes - 1 point away from 100 in his NHL career/as a Ranger 

INJURIES (39 Man-Games Lost to Injury)

  • Pavel Buchnevich (back spasms) - has missed five games
  • Mika Zibanejad (broken fibula) - has missed one game

RECENT TRANSACTIONS
Nov. 17 - Assigned Cristoval Nieves to Hartford (AHL)
Nov. 21 - Claimed Matt Puempel off waivers
 
THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Nov. 22, 1961 - Doug Harvey tallied three assists and Gump Worsley stopped all 29 shots he faced to earn a win and a shutout as the Rangers defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 4-0, at MSG.
  • Nov. 22, 1962 - Andy Bathgate registered his 228th career goal as a Ranger, tying Bill Cook for first on the franchise's all-time goals list, as the Blueshirts defeated the Boston Bruins, 7-1.
  • Nov. 23, 1960 - Andy Bathgate recorded a hat trick and Camille Henry tallied four points (one goal, three assists) as the Rangers defeated the Boston Bruins, 6-3, at MSG.
  • Nov. 23, 1977 - Rod Gilbert skated in his final NHL game as the Rangers defeated the Colorado Rockies, 6-3, at MSG.
  • Nov. 23, 1991 - Mike Richter earned his first career NHL shutout, stopping all 24 shots he faced as the Rangers defeated the St. Louis Blues, 3-0. Brian Leetch registered an assist to begin a franchise-record 17-game point streak.
  • Nov. 23, 2003 - Mark Messier skated in his 1,700th career NHL game, becoming the second player in NHL history to appear in at least 1,700 career games (along with Gordie Howe).
  • · Nov. 23, 2014 - All of the Rangers' 12 forwards tallied at least one point as the Blueshirts defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 5-0, at MSG.
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