GAME PREVIEW: NEW YORK RANGERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS

March 15, 2015

 

Below are the team issued Pregame notes.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS

Sunday, Mar. 15, 2015, 5:00 p.m. ET

Madison Square Garden – New York, NY

Panthers: 31-23-14 (76 pts)

Rangers: 43-17-7 (93 pts)

 

*See attached document for more information on all Rangers players (Note: all stats/rankings in the attached document are through games completed on Mar. 13)

 

TONIGHT'S GAME

The Rangers conclude a back-to-back set tonight, Mar. 15, against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden (5:00 p.m. ET — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Rangers enter the contest with the top record in the NHL thus far this season. The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 16 of their last 17 games (13-1-3), and have won 13 of their last 16 contests (13-1-2). The Rangers have recorded at least one point in 19 of their last 21 games (16-2-3). The Blueshirts have won 36 of their last 49 games (36-10-3), including 34 of their last 46 games (34-9-3) and 32 of their last 42 contests (32-7-3). The Rangers have also earned at least one point in 49 of their last 63 games (42-14-7), including 42 of their last 53 games (37-11-5). The Rangers have posted a 43-17-7 record this season (93 pts), following a 2-0 win last night against the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo. The Panthers enter the contest with a 31-23-14 record this season (76 pts), following a 2-0 win last night against the Carolina Hurricanes in Carolina.

 

RANGERS PRACTICE SCHEDULE

The Rangers will not have a morning skate prior to tonight’s contest. Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault will be available to the media at 3:00 p.m. in the fifth floor press conference room at Madison Square Garden.

*Schedule and availability subject to change

 

RANGERS VS. PANTHERS

  • All-Time: 47-28-6-4 record (24-14-4-0 at home, 23-14-2-4 on the road) 
  • 2014-15: Tonight's game is the third and final meeting between the Rangers and Panthers this season, and the second meeting between the two teams at MSG. The Rangers have posted a 2-0-0 record (1-0-0 at home, 1-0-0 on the road) against Florida, following a 6-3 win on Feb. 2 at MSG. New York has outscored Florida, 11-5, in the first two games of the season series, and the Rangers have tallied at least five goals in each of the two contests. Derek Stepan leads all skaters with four assists/points, while Rick Nash leads all skaters with two goals. Ten different Blueshirts have tallied a goal in the season series. Chris Kreider and Ryan McDonagh have each recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in the two games.
  • The Rangers have won five consecutive games against the Panthers, dating back to Nov. 10, 2013. New York has registered four or more goals in four of the five contests, and has outscored Florida, 22-11, over the span.
  • The Blueshirts have won 14 of their last 19 games against the Panthers (14-5-0), including 10 of their last 13 contests (10-3-0), nine of their last 11 games (9-2-0), and six of their last seven games (6-1-0).

 

RANGERS-PANTHERS CONNECTIONS

  • Dan Boyle began his NHL career with the Panthers and skated in 129 games with Florida over parts of four seasons (1998-99 - 2001-02).
  • Jaromir Jagr played parts of four seasons with the Rangers (2003-04 - 2007-08), and was the Blueshirts' captain for two seasons (2006-07 - 2007-08). During his tenure with the Rangers, Jagr established franchise records for most goals (54) and most points (123) in one season (both established during the 2005-06 season).
  • Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Hayes are expected to play against each other for the third time in their NHL careers. The brothers were teammates at Boston College for one season (2010-11) and with Team USA at the 2014 IIHF World Championship.

 

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. PANTHERS

  • Martin St. Louis - 75 GP, 32-41-73 - St. Louis has recorded a point in 17 of his last 20 games against the Panthers, registering 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in those contests. He has tallied a goal/point in five of his last six games against Florida, and has posted a multi-point game in four of those six contests (five goals, five assists).
  • Derek Stepan - 16 GP, 5-10-15 - Stepan has notched an assist/point in five consecutive games against Florida (seven assists). He has recorded a point in 11 of 16 career games against the Panthers.
  • Rick Nash - 16 GP, 6-7-13 - Nash has tallied eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games against Florida since joining the Rangers prior to the 2012-13 season.
  • Dan Boyle - 41 GP, 6-20-26 - Boyle has notched a point in 20 of 41 career games against the Panthers. He has tallied 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in his last 18 games against Florida.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • New York has posted a 13-1-1 record when outscoring its opponent on special teams in 2014-15

 

Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 0-for-3 (5:34) on the power play last night at Buffalo
  • New York has recorded a PPG in 16 of the last 39 games (21-for-105; 20%)

 

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 3-for-3 (6:00) on the penalty kill last night at Buffalo
  • The Blueshirts rank tied for eighth in the NHL on the penalty kill this season (83.3%; 165-for-198)
  • New York is tied for third in the NHL - and is tied for first in the Eastern Conference - in SHG (eight) this season despite playing the eighth-fewest minutes shorthanded of any NHL team (335:30). The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL - and lead the Eastern Conference - in SHG (18) since 2013-14.
  • The Rangers are 13-for-14 (92.9%) on the penalty kill over the last four games and are 20-for-22 (90.9%) on the penalty kill over the last seven contests. The Blueshirts have not allowed a power play goal in 11 of the last 15 games (39-for-44; 88.6%) and they are 101-for-118 (85.6%) on the penalty kill over the last 43 games.

 

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • J.T. Miller - 1 game away from 100 in his NHL career
  • Marc Staal - 3 assists away from 100 in his NHL career
  • Dan Girardi - 4 points away from 200 in his NHL career

 

TOP OF THE HEAP

The Rangers enter the contest with the top record in the NHL thus far this season. The Blueshirts are the only NHL team to rank in the top five in both goals per game and goals against per game in 2014-15. The Blueshirts rank in the top five in the NHL in the following categories: points percentage (first - .694), goal differential (first - plus-48), wins (tied for first - 43), regulation/OT wins (tied for first - 40), points (tied for first - 93), goals per game (third - 3.02), and goals against per game (third - 2.27). The Blueshirts also have the fewest regulation losses (17) and overall losses (regulation + overtime/shootout; 24) in the NHL this season.

 

ONE AND WON

New York has allowed one goal or fewer in each of the last four games, in five of its last six contests, in six of its last nine contests, in seven of its last 11 games, and in eight of its last 14 contests. The Blueshirts lead the NHL in games with one goal or fewer allowed (56) since the start of the 2013-14 season, and they have posted a 51-3-2 record in those contests. The Rangers have allowed one goal or fewer in regulation in each of their last six games, which is the first time they have done so since Mar. 16-25, 2007.

 

HOME COOKING

New York has won each of its last four home games and has earned at least one point in each of its last nine home games (7-0-2 record). The Rangers have earned a point in at least nine straight home games during one season for the first time since Feb. 16 – Apr. 4, 2008 (11 games; 8-0-3). The Blueshirts have won 13 of their last 17 home contests (13-2-2) and 16 of their last 21 home games (16-3-2). The Rangers have also earned at least one point in 26 of their last 31 home games, dating back to Oct. 16 vs. Carolina (21-5-5 over the span).

 

RIGHT BACK AT IT

The Rangers have posted a 7-2-1 record in the second half of back-to-back games this season, including a 7-0-1 record in the second half of their last eight back-to-back sets.

 

A STAR ON BROADWAY

Cam Talbot became the first goalie in Rangers history to allow one goal or fewer in regulation in four consecutive team games which were all played on the road. He has earned a win in each of his last three starts, posting a 0.66 GAA, a .977 SV%, and 1 SO over the span. Talbot has posted a 4-0-1 record, along with a 0.99 GAA, a .966 SV% (140 saves on 145 shots), and 1 SO in his last five appearances. Talbot, who was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week for the week ending on Mar. 8, has posted a 7-1-1 record, along with a 1.54 GAA, .948 SV%, and 2 SO in his last nine games. He has earned at least one point in 14 of his last 15 appearances (11-1-3 record), and in 15 of 17 appearances since Feb. 4 (12-2-3 record over the span).

 

RICK ROLLING

Rick Nash enters the game ranked among the top 10 in the NHL in all of the following categories: even strength goals (first - 30), SHG (tied for first - four), goals (second - 39), goals per game (second - 0.59), games with a goal (second - 32), shots on goal (third - 253), GWG (tied for third - eight), SHP (tied for third - four), takeaways (tied for seventh - 61), and plus/minus rating (tied for seventh - plus-24). He is the only NHL player who ranks among the top 10 in all of those categories, and he is the only NHL player who ranks tied for third or higher in goals, even strength goals, SHG, and GWG this season. Nash is the first Ranger who has tallied at least 30 even strength goals, five PPG, and four SHG in the same season in franchise history.

 

THE KID IS ALRIGHT

Mackenzie Skapski stopped all 20 shots he faced to record his second career NHL win and his first career NHL shutout last night against Buffalo. He became the first Rangers goalie to record his first career NHL shutout in one of his first two NHL starts since Marcel Paille did so during the 1957-58 season. Skapski also became the youngest Rangers goaltender (20 years, 272 days old) to post a shutout since Dan Blackburn did so on Nov. 7, 2002.Skapski, who earned a win against the Sabres in his NHL debut, is the fourth goaltender in NHL history to win his first two career NHL starts against the same opponent, joining Howie Lockhart, Bill Ranford, and Patrick Lalime as the only goaltenders to do so. Skapski has posted a personal shutout streak of 119:46, and he has stopped each of the last 44 shots he has faced over the span.

 

BRASS BONANZA

Derick Brassard has notched a point in 13 of the last 20 games, recording 17 points (two goals, 15 assists) over the span. He ranks fourth in the NHL in assists (15) since Feb. 2, and he has established career-highs in assists (38) and points (52) this season.

 

TOO HOT TO YANDLE

Keith Yandle tallied the game-winning goal in the Rangers' win last night against Buffalo. The goal was also Yandle's first goal/point with the Blueshirts. Prior to Yandle, the last Ranger whose first goal with the team was a game-winning goal was Mike Rupp (Oct. 18, 2011 at Vancouver).

 

INJURIES (90 Man-Games Lost to Injury):

  • Kevin Klein - upper-body - 3-4 weeks
  • Henrik Lundqvist - neck - injured reserve

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

  • Mar. 10 - Agreed to terms with Adam Tambellini on an entry-level contract

 

THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

·         Mar. 15, 1989 – The Rangers retired Ed Giacomin’s No. 1 jersey in a pre-game ceremony at Madison Square Garden. Giacomin was the second Ranger who received the honor in franchise history.

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