Game Preview: New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals,
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Sunday, Mar. 29, 2015, 3:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Capitals: 40-25-10 (90 pts)
Rangers: 47-20-7 (101 pts)
The Rangers play their 75th game of the 2014-15 season and conclude a back-to-back set tomorrow, Mar. 29, with a Metropolitan Division matchup against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden (3:00 p.m. ET — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). New York has earned at least one point in 20 of its last 24 games (17-4-3), including 10 of its last 13 games (9-3-1). The Blueshirts have won 17 of their last 23 contests (17-4-2), including 13 of the last 18 games (13-4-1) and eight of the last 11 games (8-3-0). The Rangers have also recorded at least one point in 23 of their last 28 games (20-5-3). The Blueshirts have won 40 of their last 56 games (40-13-3), including 38 of their last 53 games (38-12-3) and 36 of their last 49 contests (36-10-3). The Rangers have earned at least one point in 53 of their last 70 games (46-17-7), including 46 of their last 60 games (41-14-5). The Rangers have posted a 47-20-7 record this season (101 pts), following a 4-2 loss today against the Boston Bruins in Boston. The Capitals enter the contest with a 40-25-10 record this season (90 pts), following a 4-3 loss today against the Nashville Predators in Washington.
RANGERS PRACTICE SCHEDULE
The Rangers will not have a morning skate prior to tomorrow’s game. Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault will be available to the media at1:00 p.m. in the fifth floor press conference room at Madison Square Garden.
*Schedule and availability subject to change
RANGERS VS. CAPITALS
All-Time: 91-88-18-6 record (50-39-9-3 at home, 41-49-9-3 on the road)
2014-15: Tomorrow’s game is the third of four meetings between the Rangers and Capitals this season, and the second/final 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 the Capitals, following a 3-1 win on Mar. 11 in Washington. The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in each of the first two contests, outscoring Washington, 7-3, over the span. Rick Nash leads all skaters with three goals and Derick Brassard leads all skaters with three assists in the season series, and the two are tied for first among all skaters in points over the two games. Four Rangers - Dan Boyle, Kevin Hayes, Martin St. Louis, and Mats Zuccarello - have each notched two points in the season series. Rangers goaltenders have combined to post a .951 SV% (58 saves on 61 shots) through the first two games. Following tomorrow’s game, the Rangers and Capitals will face off again on the following date: Apr. 11 (at Washington).
New York has won three straight games against the Capitals and has posted an 11-4-1 record in its last 16 regular season games against Washington, dating back to Dec. 12, 2010.
Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, and John Carlson were teammates on Team USA's gold medal-winning team at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Rangers Assistant General Manager Jim Schoenfeld was the Capitals' head coach for parts of four seasons (1993-94 - 1996-97). He ranks fifth among Capitals Head Coaches in wins (113) and games coached (249) in franchise history.
J.T. Miller and Tom Wilson were teammates in juniors with the Plymouth Whalers (OHL) for one season (2011-12).
Derick Brassard and Jason Chimera were teammates with the Blue Jackets for parts of three seasons (2007-08 - 2009-10).
INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. CAPITALS
Dan Boyle - 56 GP, 8-31-39 - Boyle has notched an assist/point in each of the Rangers' two games against the Capitals this season and he has recorded seven points (one goal, six assists) in his last eight games against Washington.
Rick Nash - 17 GP, 12-8-20 - Nash has registered five goals/points in his last three games against Washington and he has tallied 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) in his last 13 regular season games against the Capitals.
Keith Yandle - 9 GP, 0-7-7 - Yandle has tallied five assists/points in his last five games against the Capitals.
New York has posted a 14-1-1 record when outscoring its opponent on special teams in 2014-15
The Rangers did not have a power play opportunity today at Boston
The Blueshirts have not had a power play opportunity in each of the last two games; it is the first time they have not had a power play opportunity in two consecutive games since at least 1987-88
The Rangers were 1-for-1 (2:00) on the penalty kill today at Boston
The Blueshirts rank seventh in the NHL on the penalty kill this season (84.2%; 181-for-215)
The Rangers have not allowed a power play goal in four consecutive games (10-for-10) and they have not allowed a PPG in seven of the last eight games (19-for-20; 95%). The Blueshirts are 29-for-31 (93.5%) on the penalty kill over the last 11 games and are 36-for-39 (92.3%) on the penalty kill over the last 14 contests. The Blueshirts have not allowed a PPG in 17 of the last 22 games (55-for-61; 90.2%) and they are 117-for-135 (86.7%) on the penalty kill over the last 50 games.
New York is tied for fourth in the NHL - and is tied for first in the Eastern Conference - in SHG (eight) this season is tied for second in the NHL in SHG (18) since 2013-14.
Marc Staal - 3 assists away from 100 in his NHL career
Dan Girardi - 4 points away from 200 in his NHL career
CLINCHING A SPOT
By clinching a playoff berth this season, the Rangers have now reached the playoffs in five straight seasons and in nine of the last 10 seasons. It is the first time the Rangers have made the playoffs in at least five consecutive seasons and nine times in a 10-season span since they reached the playoffs in 10 straight seasons from 1977-78 - 1986-87. Entering 2014-15, the Rangers were one of four teams to reach the playoffs in at least eight of the previous nine seasons (along with Pittsburgh, Detroit, and San Jose).
With their win on Mar. 26 at Ottawa, the Blueshirts reached the 100-point plateau for the eighth time in franchise history. The Rangers earned their 100th point of the season in their 73rd game, which is tied for the second-fewest games it has taken a Rangers team to reach the 100-point plateau in franchise history (they also earned 100 points in their first 73 games in 1970-71 and 1972-73). The Rangers have posted two 100-point seasons in the last four seasons (two in the last three seasons which were 82 games in length), which is the first time they have done so since they earned 100 points twice in a three season span from 1991-92 to 1993-94.
TOP OF THE HEAP
The Rangers are the only team to rank in the top five in the NHL in both goals per game and goals against per game in 2014-15. The Blueshirts are also the only team to rank in the top three in the NHL in all of the following categories: point percentage (first - .682), goal differential (first - plus-54), ROW (second - 43), goals against per game (second - 2.26), wins (tied for second - 47), points (third - 101), and goals per game (third - 3.00). The Blueshirts also have the fewest regulation losses (20) and fewest overall losses (regulation + OT/shootout; 27) in the NHL.
TAKING THE METRO
The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 20 of their last 23 games against Metropolitan Division opponents (19-3-1) and have won 16 of their last 19 intra-division games (16-3-0). New York has posted a 19-5-1 record against teams in the Metropolitan Division this season.
RIGHT BACK AT IT
The Rangers have posted a 9-2-1 record in the second half of back-to-back games this season, including a 9-0-1 record in the second half of their last 10 back-to-back sets.
New York has won six of its last eight home games (6-2-0) and has earned at least one point in 11 of its last 13 home games (9-2-2 record). The Blueshirts have won 15 of their last 21 home contests (15-4-2) and 18 of their last 25 home games (18-5-2). The Rangers have also earned at least one point in 28 of their last 35 home games, dating back to Oct. 16 (23-7-5).
Alain Vigneault enters the contest with 962 career regular season games coached. Vigneault is two games shy of tying Jack Adams and Sid Abel for 23rd place on the NHL's all-time games coached list.
Rick Nash tallied his 40th goal of the season today at Boston. Nash reached the 40-goal plateau for the third time in his career and he is the 19th player who has recorded 40 or more goals with the Rangers in franchise history. He enters the game ranked among the top 10 in the NHL in all of the following categories: even strength goals (first - 31), goals per game (second - 0.55), goals (tied for second - 40), games with a goal (second - 33), SHG (tied for second - four), SOG (third - 280), GWG (tied for third - eight), SHP (tied for third - four), takeaways (tied for sixth - 66), and plus/minus rating (tied for sixth - plus-27). He is the only NHL player who ranks among the top 10 in all of those categories this season.
Cam Talbot has posted a 7-2-0 record, along with a 1.44 GAA, a .954 SV%, and 1 SO in his last nine appearances. He has also posted an 8-2-1 record, along with a 1.45 GAA, a .953 SV%, and 1 SO in his last 11 games. Talbot has posted an 11-3-1 record, along with a 1.65 GAA, .946 SV%, and 2 SO in his last 15 games. He has earned at least one point in 18 of his last 21 appearances, posting a 15-3-3 record, along with a 2.08 GAA, a .934 SV%, and 2 SO over the span. Talbot has also earned at least one point in 19 of his last 23 appearances, posting a 16-4-3 record, along with a 2.16 GAA, a .929 SV%, and 2 SO during the stretch.
Chris Kreider has tallied four points (two goals, two assists) in the last two games and has tallied five points (three goals, two assists) in the last four contests. Kreider has established career-highs in goals (20), assists (21), and points (41) this season.
Derek Stepan has tallied three assists/points in the last two games and he has registered six points (two goals, four assists) in the last four contests. Stepan leads all Rangers in assists (160) and points (246) since he made his NHL debut with the Blueshirts on Oct. 9, 2010.
TOO HOT TO YANDLE
Keith Yandle has notched an assist/point in each of the last two games (two assists) and he has tallied an assist/point in three of the last four contests (five assists over the span). Yandle ranks second among NHL defensemen in assists (42) and is tied for eighth among NHL defensemen in points (47) this season.
DAN'S THE MAN
Dan Girardi enters the contest with 643 career NHL games played. The Rangers alternate captain is one game shy of tying Rod Seiling for seventh place on the Rangers’ all-time games played list by defensemen. Girardi is also four games away from tying Ott Heller for sixth place on the Blueshirts’ all-time games played list for defensemen. He leads all NHL players in games played since he made his NHL debut on Jan. 27, 2007.
INJURIES (109 Man-Games Lost to Injury):
Kevin Klein - upper-body - 3-4 weeks
Martin St. Louis - lower-body - 10-14 days
Mar. 25 - Reassigned goaltender Mackenzie Skapski to Hartford (AHL)
THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY
· Mar. 29, 1999 – Wayne Gretzky tallied the final goal of his NHL career, scoring the game-winner with 2:07 remaining in regulation to lead the Rangers to a 3-1 win over the Islanders at MSG. In addition to being the final goal of Gretzky’s career, it was his 1,072nd career goal in professional hockey (total goals in the regular season and playoffs in both the NHL and WHA), which surpassed Gordie Howe’s record of 1,071.
Above are the team issued pregame notes.