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Rangers vs. Predators 2.9.17: Pregame Notes

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. NASHVILLE PREDATORS
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
 
Rangers: 34-18-1 (69 pts)
Predators: 26-19-8 (60 pts)
 
TONIGHT'S GAME
The Rangers play their 54th game of the 2016-17 season and continue a season-long, four-game homestand tonight, Feb. 9, against the Nashville Predators at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Blueshirts enter the contest on a three-game winning streak and have won six of the last eight contests (6-2-0). The Rangers have posted a 34-18-1 record this season.

RANGERS VS. PREDATORS

  • All-Time: 12-8-1-2 (5-5-1-1 at home; 7-3-0-1 on the road)
  • 2016-17: Tomorrow's game is the second of two meetings between the Rangers and Predators, and the only meeting 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), as the Blueshirts defeated Nashville, 2-1, in a shootout on Dec. 17 in Nashville. Rick Nash tallied a goal in regulation, while Jimmy Vesey registered the game-deciding goal in the shootout. Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves in regulation and overtime, and he stopped both shooters he faced in the shootout to earn the win.
  • The Rangers have won six of their last nine contests against the Predators (6-3-0), including three of the last four games against Nashville.
  • New York has posted a shutout in three of its last eight games against Nashville.

RANGERS-PREDATORS CONNECTIONS

  • Kevin Klein played parts of nine seasons with the Predators (2005-06 - 2013-14).
  • Jimmy Vesey was selected by Nashville in the third round (66th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Peter Laviolette played 12 games with the Rangers during the 1988-89 season.
  • Oscar Lindberg and Viktor Arvidsson are both natives of Skelleftea, Sweden. Lindberg and Arvidsson helped Skelleftea win the SHL Championship in 2012-13.
  • Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, and Craig Smith were all teammates at the University of Wisconsin for one season (2009-10).
  • Kevin Hayes, Ryan Johansen, and Austin Watson were all selected in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Rick Nash and Ryan Johansen were teammates with the Columbus Blue Jackets for one season (2011-12).
  • Colin Wilson's father, Carey, played parts of two seasons with the Rangers (1988-89 - 1989-90). Colin was born when his father was a member of the Rangers, and he is a native of Greenwich, Connecticut.
  • Scott Arniel and Phil Housley were teammates with the Buffalo Sabres (1986-87 - 1989-90) and with the Winnipeg Jets for one season (1990-91). Arniel and Housley were both part of a trade between Buffalo and Winnipeg on June 16, 1990 that sent Dale Hawerchuk from the Jets to the Sabres and a first round pick that the Jets would use to draft Keith Tkachuk.
  • Predators Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton skated in eight games with the Rangers during the 1986-87 season.

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. PREDATORS

  • Henrik Lundqvist - 10 GP, 6-4-0, 1.81 GAA, .939 SV%, 2 SO - Lundqvist's 1.81 GAA and .939 SV% against Nashville are the best he has posted against one NHL opponent in his career. In his last eight appearances against Nashville (dating back to Mar. 12, 2009), Lundqvist has posted a 5-3-0 record, along with a 1.75 GAA, a .941 SV%, and 2 SO. He has posted a shutout in two of his last five appearances against Nashville.
  • Rick Nash - 58 GP, 26-16-42 - Nash enters the contest with a six-game goal/point streak against the Predators (six goals over the span).
  • Nick Holden - 13 GP, 5-4-9 - Holden has registered four points (one goal, three assists) in his last six games against Nashville.
  • Mats Zuccarello - 7 GP, 0-5-5 - Zuccarello has posted two multi-assist/point games in his career against the Predators.
  • Kevin Hayes - 5 GP, 1-3-4 - Hayes recorded two points (one goal, one assist) while skating in his 100th career NHL game on Nov. 23, 2015 vs. Nashville at MSG.

20/20 VISION
The Rangers are the only NHL team that has 12 players who have recorded at least 20 points this season.
 
GOALS GALORE
New York ranks second in the NHL in goals (181 - includes two team goals awarded for shootout wins) and also ranks second in the NHL in goals per game (3.38) this season. The Rangers have recorded 66 goals over the last 18 games, registering at least four goals in 12 of the 18 contests.
 
WINNING WAYS
The Rangers' 34 wins in 2016-17 are tied for the third-most the team has earned through the first 53 games of one season in franchise history. The Blueshirts have earned at least 34 wins through the first 53 games of a season five times in franchise history (1972-73, 1991-92, 1993-94, 2011-12, 2016-17), and the only seasons in which the team earned more than 34 wins through the first 53 games were 1972-73 (36) and 2011-12 (35). The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL in wins this season.
 
HOW THE WEST WAS WON
New York has posted a 17-5-0 record against teams in the Western Conference this season. The Rangers lead all Eastern Conference teams in wins against Western Conference opponents in 2016-17.
 
MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
New York enters the contest with a plus-41 goal differential this season (181 goals for; 140 goals against) and ranks fourth in the NHL in goal differential in 2016-17.
 
TWO GOOD
The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in regulation in six of the last eight games and in 32 of 53 games this season. The Blueshirts have posted a 27-4-1 record in those 32 contests in 2016-17.
 
THIRD PERIOD TALLIES
The Blueshirts lead the NHL in goals in the third period this season (72). The Rangers are the only NHL team that has tallied at least 70 goals in any period thus far this season.
 
STAYING DISCIPLINED
The Rangers have taken the third-fewest penalties (170) and have recorded the third-fewest penalty minutes (376) in the NHL this season.
 
FABULOUS FEBRUARY
The Blueshirts have posted a 23-5-3 record in 31 games in February since the start of the 2014-15 season, including a 3-0-0 record in games in February this season.
 
AV SQUAD
Alain Vigneault earned his 600th career win as a head coach in the NHL on Feb. 7 vs. Anaheim. Vigneault is the 15th head coach in NHL history who has registered at least 600 career wins, and he is the fifth active NHL head coach who has accomplished the feat (Quenneville, Ruff, Trotz, and Sutter). Of the 15 head coaches who have earned at least 600 career wins in the NHL, Vigneault is the only one who reached the milestone while coaching the Rangers. He has earned 178 wins in 299 career games as the Rangers' Head Coach (178-98-23 record). In addition, the Rangers rank third in the NHL - and lead the Eastern Conference - in wins since Vigneault became the team's Head Coach prior to the start of the 2013-14 season.
 
KING HENRIK
Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 6-1-0 record, along with a 1.88 GAA, a .941 SV%, and 1 SO in his last eight appearances. He made 43 saves and earned a win on Feb. 7 vs. Anaheim, and the 43 saves were the most he has recorded in a win at MSG in his career. Lundqvist is the only goaltender in NHL history who has registered at least 20 wins in each of his first 12 seasons, and his 12 consecutive 20-win seasons are tied for the most in NHL history. Lundqvist enters the contest with 398 career NHL wins.
 
IT'S MILLER TIME
J.T. Miller enters the contest with a four-game assist streak (seven assists), which is a career-high, and he has posted a multi-assist/point game in each of the last three contests (six assists). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Miller is the first Ranger who has registered a multi-assist game in three consecutive contests since Artem Anisimov from Nov. 5 - Nov. 9, 2011. Miller has registered a point in 14 of the last 16 games, tallying 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) over the span. He leads the Rangers in points (42) and games with a point (31) in 2016-17, and he has established a career-high in assists this season (26).
 
KREID-ING HIGH
Chris Kreider enters the contest with a four-game point streak, which is tied for his career-high (three goals, one assist). He has recorded 21 goals this season, which is tied for his career-high (he also tallied 21 goals in 2014-15 and 2015-16). Kreider is the only Ranger who has recorded at least 20 goals in each of the last three seasons (2014-15 - 2016-17). He is tied for third in the NHL in goals since Dec. 1, 2016 (17). Kreider has tallied 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 25 games at MSG in 2016-17, and he leads the team in goals and points at home this season.
 
UP FOR GRABS
Michael Grabner leads the NHL in even strength goals (24), is tied for fifth in goals (25), and is tied for ninth in plus/minus rating (plus-24) this season. He is the only NHL player who has registered at least 24 goals and a plus-24 rating in 2016-17. Grabner has recorded 14 points (11 goals, three assists) in the last 13 games.
 
WELCOME MATS
Mats Zuccarello has registered 20 points (three goals, 17 assists) in the last 20 games, including three goals in the last six contests. He is tied for third in the NHL in even strength assists this season (24), and he leads the Rangers in assists (29) and even strength assists this season.
 
STEP-AN UP
Derek Stepan has recorded 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in the last 35 games, including 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in the last 29 contests and 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in the last 20 games. Entering this season, Stepan was one of two players in Rangers history who notched at least 40 points in each of their first six NHL seasons (Steve Vickers).
 
CAPTAIN MAC
Ryan McDonagh tallied his 200th career NHL point, and his 30th point of the 2016-17 season, on Feb. 5 vs. Calgary. McDonagh has recorded 30 or more points in four consecutive seasons (2013-14 - 2016-17), and he is the ninth defenseman in franchise history who has tallied 30 or more points in at least five different seasons. With 28 assists in 2016-17, McDonagh is one assist away from tying his career-high (29; 2013-14).
 
SKJEI HEY KID
Brady Skjei is one of four Rangers defensemen who have tallied at least 20 assists in their rookie season since 1988-89 (Brian Leetch - 1988-89; Sergei Zubov - 1992-93; Michael Del Zotto - 2009-10). Skjei is tied for second among NHL rookie defensemen in assists (22) and points (24) this season, and he also leads NHL rookie defensemen in even strength assists (19) and even strength points (21).
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
 
Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 0-for-1 (2:00) on Feb. 7 vs. Anaheim.
  • New York has tallied a PPG in two of the last three games and in eight of the last 17 games (12-for-51; 23.5%).
  • The Blueshirts are tied for ninth in the NHL in power play efficiency this season (21.2%; 33-for-156). 

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 4-for-4 (8:00) on Feb. 7 vs. Anaheim.
  • New York has not allowed a PPG in six of the last eight games (88.9%; 16-for-18).
  • The Blueshirts rank second in the NHL in SHG in 2016-17 (seven).

 
UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Henrik Lundqvist - 2 wins away from 400 in his NHL career/as a Ranger
  • Jesper Fast - 3 games away from 200 in his NHL career/as a Ranger

INJURIES (133 Man-Games Lost to Injury)
None
 
RECENT TRANSACTIONS
Feb. 3 - Assigned Magnus Hellberg to Hartford (AHL)
 
THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Feb. 8, 1997 - Mark Messier tallied the final hat trick of his NHL career, registering three goals as the Rangers defeated the New York Islanders, 5-2, at Nassau Coliseum.
  • Feb. 9, 2001 - Adam Graves registered his 500th point as a member of the Rangers, becoming the 11th player to tally 500 points with the Rangers in franchise history. The Rangers defeated the Florida Panthers, 4-2.
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