GAME PREVIEW: BLACKHAWKS @ RANGERS
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
Wednesday, Mar. 18, 2015, 8:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Blackhawks: 41-21-6 (88 pts)*
Rangers: 44-17-7 (95 pts)
* The Blackhawks play against the New York Islanders tonight in Chicago.
The Rangers play their 69th game of the 2014-15 season tomorrow, Mar. 18, against the Chicago Blackhawks in an Original Six matchup at Madison Square Garden (8:00 p.m. ET — TV: NBCSN; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Rangers enter the contest with the top record in the NHL thus far this season. New York enters the contest with a five-game winning streak and has earned at least one point in each of the last seven games (6-0-1). The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 17 of their last 18 games (14-1-3) and have won 14 of their last 17 contests (14-1-2), including 10 of the last 12 games (10-1-1). The Rangers have recorded at least one point in 20 of their last 22 games (17-2-3). The Blueshirts have won 37 of their last 50 games (37-10-3), including 35 of their last 47 games (35-9-3) and 33 of their last 43 contests (33-7-3). The Rangers have also earned at least one point in 50 of their last 64 games (43-14-7), including 43 of their last 54 games (38-11-5). The Rangers have posted a 44-17-7 record this season (95 pts), following a 2-1 win against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, Mar. 15 at MSG. The Blackhawks have posted a 41-21-6 record this season (88 pts), and play against the New York Islanders tonight in Chicago prior to facing off against the Rangers tomorrow.
RANGERS PRACTICE SCHEDULE
The Rangers will not have a morning skate prior to tomorrow’s contest. Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault will be available to the media at 6:00 p.m. in the fifth floor press conference room at Madison Square Garden.
*Schedule and availability subject to change
RANGERS VS. BLACKHAWKS
All-Time: 239-243-98-2 record (122-113-55-0 at home, 117-130-43-2 on the road)
2014-15: Tomorrow’s game is the second and final meeting between the Rangers and Blackhawks this season, 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) against Chicago, following a 1-0 overtime win on Mar. 8 in Chicago. The Rangers posted a shutout against the Blackhawks for the first time since Jan. 25, 1969 and shut out the Blackhawks in Chicago for the first time since Dec. 25, 1966. Derick Brassard tallied the game-winning goal in overtime and Cam Talbot stopped all 29 shots he faced to record the shutout.
New York has earned at least one point in 10 of its last 12 contests against Chicago, dating back to Nov. 16, 2003 (7-2-1-2).
Brad Richards played three seasons with the Rangers (2011-12 - 2013-14) and helped the Blueshirts advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013-14.
Daniel Carcillo skated in 31 regular season games and eight playoff games with the Rangers in 2013-14, helping the team advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
Michal Rozsival played in parts of six seasons with the Rangers (2005-06 - 2010-11).
Kevin Hayes was originally selected by the Blackhawks in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Dan Boyle and Richards were teammates with the Tampa Bay Lightning for parts of six seasons (2001-02 - 2007-08), and helped Tampa Bay capture the Stanley Cup in 2003-04.
INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. BLACKHAWKS
Cam Talbot - 2 GP, 2-0-0, 0.50 GAA, .984 SV%, 1 SO - Talbot has allowed one goal or fewer in each of his two career appearances against Chicago, and he has made at least 29 saves in both appearances. Talbot has stopped 60 of 61 shots he has faced in his career against the Blackhawks.
Rick Nash - 58 GP, 25-27-52 - Nash has recorded more assists and points against the Blackhawks than against any other opponent in his NHL career.
New York has posted a 13-1-1 record when outscoring its opponent on special teams in 2014-15
The Rangers were 0-for-2 (4:00) on the power play on Mar. 15 vs. Florida
The Rangers were 3-for-3 (6:00) on the penalty kill on Mar. 15 vs. Florida
The Blueshirts rank eighth in the NHL on the penalty kill this season (83.6%; 168-for-201)
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 (341:30). The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL in SHG (18) since 2013-14.
The Rangers are 16-for-17 (94.1%) on the penalty kill over the last five games and are 23-for-25 (92.0%) on the penalty kill over the last eight contests. The Blueshirts have not allowed a power play goal in 12 of the last 16 games (42-for-47; 89.4%) and they are 104-for-121 (86.0%) on the penalty kill over the last 44 games.
Marc Staal - 3 assists away from 100 in his NHL career
Dan Girardi - 4 points away from 200 in his NHL career
Derick Brassard - 5 goals away from 100 in his NHL career
The Blueshirts, who have earned 95 points in their first 68 games this season, are five points away from reaching the 100-point plateau for the eighth time in franchise history.
FEWEST GAMES IT HAS TAKEN TO EARN 100 POINTS IN ONE SEASON IN FRANCHISE HISTORY
# OF GAMES
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 - .699), goal differential (first - plus-49), wins (tied for first - 44), regulation/OT wins (tied for first - 41), points (tied for first - 95), goals against per game (second - 2.25), and goals per game (fourth - 3.00). The Blueshirts also have the fewest regulation losses (17) and overall losses (regulation + overtime/shootout; 24) in the NHL this season.
This season, the Rangers have won at least 22 games both at home and on the road for the fifth time in franchise history (they also accomplished the feat in 1971-72, 1991-92, 1993-94, and 2011-12).
ONE AND WON
The Rangers have allowed one goal or fewer in regulation in each of their last seven games, which is the first time they have done so in franchise history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers have also tied a franchise record by recording five consecutive wins while allowing one goal or fewer in each contest (the record was established during the team's inaugural season in 1926-27 and was matched during the 2006-07 season). New York has allowed one goal or fewer in each of the last five games, in six of its last seven contests, in seven of its last 10 contests, in eight of its last 12 games, and in nine of its last 15 contests. The Blueshirts lead the NHL in games with one goal or fewer allowed (57) since the start of the 2013-14 season, and they have posted a 52-3-2 record in those contests.
New York has won five consecutive home games and has earned at least one point in each of its last 10 home games (8-0-2 record). The Rangers have earned a point in at least 10 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 14 of their last 18 home contests (14-2-2) and 17 of their last 22 home games (17-3-2). The Rangers have also earned at least one point in 27 of their last 32 home games, dating back to Oct. 16. (22-5-5).
MAKING NOISE ON THE WESTERN FRONT
The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in eight consecutive games against Western Conference opponents (6-0-2) and have posted a 12-2-2 record in their last 16 games against teams in the Western Conference. New York's eight-game point streak against the Western Conference is its longest since a 10-game stretch from Nov. 26, 1996 – Jan. 21, 1997 (8-0-2). The Rangers have posted a 15-3-5 record against Western Conference opponents this season.
A STAR ON BROADWAY
Cam Talbot is the first Ranger who has been named one of the NHL's Three Stars of the Week in back-to-back weeks since the NHL began awarding three stars for every week in the 2006-07 season. Talbot has posted a personal four-game winning streak (0.75 GAA, .976 SV%, 1 SO over the span). Talbot has posted a 5-0-1 record, along with a 1.00 GAA, a .967 SV% (178 saves on 184 shots), and 1 SO in his last six appearances. Talbot has posted an 8-1-1 record, along with a 1.49 GAA, .951 SV%, and 2 SO in his last 10 games. He has earned at least one point in 15 of his last 16 appearances (12-1-3), and in 16 of 18 appearances since Feb. 4 (13-2-3).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Talbot has posted the fifth-best GAA in the first 50 games of his NHL career among all goalies who made their NHL debut in the NHL's modern era (since 1943-44).
GAA LEADERS OVER FIRST 50 GAMES OF NHL CAREER (SINCE 1943-44)
1. Jacques Plante
2. Al Rollins
3. Glenn Hall
4. Niklas Backstrom
5. Cam Talbot
* Note: When not rounding to two decimal places, Backstrom's GAA is 1.94879 and Talbot's GAA is 1.95496
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 per game (second - 0.58), games with a goal (second - 32), goals (tied for second - 39), SOG (third - 260), GWG (tied for third - eight), SHP (tied for third - four), takeaways (seventh - 62), 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.
INJURIES (93 Man-Games Lost to Injury):
Kevin Klein - upper-body - 3-4 weeks
Henrik Lundqvist - neck - injured reserve
Martin St. Louis - lower-body - 10-14 days
Above are the team issued Pregame notes.