Game Preview: Rangers @ Hurricanes
NEW YORK RANGERS at CAROLINA HURRICANES
Saturday, Mar. 21, 2015, 7:00 p.m. ET
PNC Arena – Raleigh, NC
Rangers: 44-18-7 (95 pts)
Hurricanes: 26-35-9 (61 pts)
The Rangers play their 70th game of the 2014-15 season and begin a back-to-back set tomorrow, Mar. 21, against the Carolina Hurricanes in at PNC Arena (7:00 p.m. ET — TV: MSG+; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). New York has earned at least one point in 17 of its last 19 games (14-2-3), including seven of its last eight games (6-1-1). The Blueshirts have won 14 of their last 18 contests (14-2-2), including 10 of the last 13 games (10-2-1). The Rangers have also recorded at least one point in 20 of their last 23 games (17-3-3). The Blueshirts have won 37 of their last 51 games (37-11-3), including 35 of their last 48 games (35-10-3) and 33 of their last 44 contests (33-8-3). The Rangers have also earned at least one point in 50 of their last 65 games (43-15-7), including 43 of their last 55 games (38-12-5). The Rangers have posted a 44-18-7 record this season (95 pts), following a 1-0 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, Mar. 18 at MSG. The Hurricanes enter the contest with a 26-35-9 record this season (61 pts), following a 4-0 loss against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, Mar. 19 in Montreal.
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 5:00 p.m.
*Schedule and availability subject to change
RANGERS VS. HURRICANES
*All-Time: 69-49-7-2 record (42-17-4-2 at home, 27-32-3-0 on the road) *Note: All-time record includes games against the Hartford Whalers from 1979-80 - 1996-97
2014-15: Tomorrow’s game is the fifth and final meeting between the Rangers and Hurricanes this season, and the second meeting between the two teams in Carolina. The Rangers have posted a 4-0-0 record (3-0-0 at home, 1-0-0 on the road) against Carolina, following a 4-1 win on Jan. 31 at MSG. Three of the four games in the season series have been decided by one goal and two contests were decided in a shootout. The Rangers have allowed one goal or fewer in three of the four games and have allowed four goals over the first four contests. Mats Zuccarello leads all skaters with four assists/points, while Ryan McDonagh has tallied three points (one goal, two assists) in the season series. Cam Talbot posted an 18-save shutout in his only appearance during the season series on Dec. 21 at MSG.
Marc Staal, Eric Staal, and Jordan Staal are brothers. Marc has won four of the five games he has played when facing both Eric and Jordan in the NHL.
J.T. Miller and Justin Faulk were teammates with the U.S. National Team Development Program during the 2009-10 season.
Rangers Assistant Coach Ulf Samuelsson began his playing career with the Hartford Whalers and skated in 463 regular season games and 31 playoff games with Hartford over parts of seven seasons. He ranks fourth among defensemen in career assists (144) and career points (175) with the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise.
INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. HURRICANES
Cam Talbot - 1 GP, 1-0-0, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%, 1 SO - Talbot made 18 saves and posted a shutout in his only career appearance against Carolina.
Derek Stepan - 18 GP, 8-9-17 - Stepan has recorded a point in 10 of his last 13 games against the Hurricanes, tallying 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) over the span. He has also notched 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in his last 10 games against Carolina.
Mats Zuccarello - 14 GP, 1-13-14 - Zuccarello enters the game with an eight-game assist/point streak against the Hurricanes (10 assists/points over the span).
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. 18 vs. Chicago
The Rangers were 2-for-2 (4:00) on the penalty kill on Mar. 18 vs. Chicago
The Blueshirts rank eighth in the NHL on the penalty kill this season (83.7%; 170-for-203)
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 seventh-fewest minutes shorthanded of any NHL team (345:30). The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL in SHG (18) since 2013-14.
The Rangers are 18-for-19 (94.7%) on the penalty kill over the last six games and are 25-for-27 (92.6%) on the penalty kill over the last nine contests. The Blueshirts have not allowed a power play goal in 13 of the last 17 games (44-for-49; 89.8%) and they are 106-for-123 (86.2%) on the penalty kill over the last 45 games.
Marc Staal - 3 assists away from 100 in his NHL career
Dan Girardi - 4 points away from 200 in his NHL career
The Rangers, who have earned 95 points in their first 69 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 are one of two teams 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: point percentage (first - .688), goal differential (first - plus-48), regulation/OT wins (tied for first - 41), goals against per game (third - 2.23), wins (fourth - 44), points (fourth - 95), and goals per game (tied for fourth - 2.96). The Blueshirts also have the fewest regulation losses (18) and fewest overall losses (regulation + overtime/shootout; 25) 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 eight games, which is the first time they have done so in franchise history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers are the first NHL team to allow one goal or fewer in eight consecutive games since the Dallas Stars did so from Mar. 13-28, 2001. New York has allowed one goal or fewer in each of the last six games, in seven of its last eight contests, in eight of its last 11 contests, in nine of its last 13 games, and in 10 of its last 16 contests. The Blueshirts lead the NHL in games with one goal or fewer allowed (58) since the start of the 2013-14 season, and they have posted a 52-4-2 record in those contests.
The Rangers have won each of the last four road games and earned at least one point in each game of their five-game road trip from Mar. 4-14 (4-0-1). The Blueshirts have won nine of their last 11 road games (9-1-1), 11 of their last 15 road contests (11-3-1), 15 of their last 20 road games (15-4-1), and 19 of their last 25 road contests (19-5-1). The Rangers lead the NHL in road points percentage (.676) and regulation/OT wins on the road (21), and they are tied for first in the NHL in road wins (22) and road points (46) this season. The Rangers are the only NHL team who has posted at least 20 wins on the road in each of the last four 82-game seasons.
EYE OF THE STORM
The Rangers have won 15 of their last 16 games against the Hurricanes (15-1-0), dating back to Feb. 22, 2011. New York has also won five consecutive games against Carolina. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers' 15 wins in their last 16 games against Carolina are the most they have posted in a 16-game span against one opponent in franchise history. New York has outscored Carolina, 55-27, in the last 16 meetings between the two teams (51-27 in regulation/OT). The Blueshirts have also won nine consecutive home games against the Hurricanes, dating back to Jan. 5, 2011. The Rangers have outscored Carolina, 29-9, over the last nine games between the two teams at MSG (27-9 in regulation/OT).
TAKING THE METRO
The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 19 of their last 22 games against Metropolitan Division opponents (18-3-1) and have won 15 of their last 18 intra-division games (15-3-0). New York has posted an 18-5-1 record against teams in the Metropolitan Division 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. He has allowed one goal or fewer in regulation in each of his last seven appearances. Talbot has posted a 4-1-0 record, along with a 0.80 GAA, a .975 SV%, and 1 SO in his last five appearances. He has also posted a 5-1-1 record, along with a 1.00 GAA, a .967 SV%, and 1 SO in his last seven games. Talbot has posted an 8-2-1 record, along with a 1.44 GAA, .953 SV%, and 2 SO in his last 11 games. He has earned at least one point in 15 of his last 17 appearances (12-2-3 record), and in 16 of 19 games sinceFeb. 4 (13-3-3 record).
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 - 0.57), games with a goal (second - 32), goals (tied for second - 39), SOG (third - 262), GWG (tied for third - eight), SHP (tied for third - four), takeaways (tied for fifth - 63), and plus/minus rating (tied for eighth - 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 ESG, five PPG, and four SHG in the same season in franchise history.
INJURIES (96 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.