Game Preview: New York Rangers at Minnesota Wild

April 1, 2015

 

NEW YORK RANGERS at MINNESOTA WILD

Thursday, Apr. 2, 2015, 8:00 p.m. ET

Xcel Energy Center – St. Paul, MN

Rangers: 48-21-7 (103 pts)

Wild: 44-25-7 (95 pts)

 

 

TOMORROW’S GAME

The Rangers play their 77th game of the 2014-15 season tomorrow, Apr. 2, against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center (8:00 p.m. ET— TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). New York has earned at least one point in 21 of its last 26 games (18-5-3), including 11 of its last 15 games (10-4-1). The Blueshirts have won 18 of their last 25 contests (18-5-2), including 14 of the last 20 games (14-5-1). The Rangers have also recorded at least one point in 24 of their last 30 games (21-6-3). The Blueshirts have won 41 of their last 58 games (41-14-3), including 39 of their last 55 games (39-13-3) and 37 of their last 51 contests (37-11-3). The Rangers have earned at least one point in 54 of their last 72 games (47-18-7), including 47 of their last 62 games (42-15-5). The Rangers have posted a 48-21-7 record this season (103 pts), following a 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, Mar. 31 in Winnipeg. The Wild enter the contest with a 44-25-7 record this season (95 pts), following a 4-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, Mar. 28 in Minnesota.

 

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. local time (6:00 p.m. ET).

*Schedule and availability subject to change

 

RANGERS VS. WILD

  • All-Time: 11-6-0-0 record (6-2-0-0 at home, 5-4-0-0 on the road) 
  • 2014-15: Tomorrow’s game is the second and final meeting between the Rangers and Wild this season, and the only meeting between the two teams in Minnesota. The Rangers have posted a 1-0-0 record (1-0-0 at home, 0-0-0 on the road) against the Wild, following a 5-4 win on Oct. 27 at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers rallied from a 3-0 deficit at the start of the third period and tallied five goals in the third period, which is a season-high for goals in one period. Mats Zuccarello tied a single-game career-high with three points (one goal, two assists) and tallied the game-winning goal with 3:11 remaining in regulation.
  • Six different Rangers goaltenders have earned a win against the Wild since the teams began playing against each other in 2000-01: Henrik Lundqvist (4), Mike Richter (3), Martin Biron (1), Dan Blackburn (1), Mike Dunham (1), Cam Talbot (1).

 

RANGERS-WILD CONNECTIONS

  • Dominic Moore (2006-07 - 2007-08) and James Sheppard (2007-08 - 2009-10) both played for the Wild.
  • Derek Stepan, Zach Parise, and Erik Haula all attended Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota. Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Parise, and Ryan Suter all represented the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
  • Stepan, McDonagh, and Suter all played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin.

 

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. WILD

  • Rick Nash - 35 GP, 14-16-30 - Nash enters the contest with a five-game assist/point streak against the Wild (one goal, six assists). He has recorded 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in his last 17 games against Minnesota.
  • Derick Brassard - 18 GP, 3-9-12 - Brassard has tallied five points (one goal, four assists) in his last three games against Minnesota and has notched 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his last 11 contests against the Wild.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

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

 

Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 1-for-3 (3:21) on the power play on Mar. 31 at Winnipeg

 

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 2-for-2 (4:00) on the penalty kill on Mar. 31 at Winnipeg
  • The Blueshirts rank seventh in the NHL on the penalty kill this season (84.2%; 186-for-221)
  • The Rangers have not allowed a PPG in five of their last six games (15-for-16; 93.8%) and in eight of their last 10 games (24-for-26; 92.3%). The Blueshirts are 34-for-37 (91.9%) on the penalty kill over the last 13 games and are 41-for-45 (91.1%) on the penalty kill over the last 16 contests. The Blueshirts have not allowed a PPG in 18 of the last 24 games (60-for-67; 89.6%) and they are 122-for-141 (86.5%) on the penalty kill over the last 52 games.
  • New York is tied for fifth in the NHL in SHG (eight) this season and is tied for second in the NHL in SHG (18) since 2013-14.

 

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Derick Brassard - 2 goals away from 100 in his NHL career
  • Ryan McDonagh - 3 assists 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
  • Mats Zuccarello - 4 assists away from 100 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).

 

ROAD WARRIORS

The Rangers enter the contest with 25 road wins this season, which is tied for the team's single-season franchise record (established in 2013-14). New York is the first NHL team to earn 25 road wins in two consecutive seasons since Philadelphia in 2010-11 and 2011-12. The Blueshirts have won seven of their last eight road games (7-1-0) and have earned at least one point in eight of their last nine road contests (7-1-1). The Rangers have won 12 of their last 15 road games (12-2-1), 14 of their last 19 road contests (14-4-1), 18 of their last 24 road games (18-5-1), and 22 of their last 29 road contests (22-6-1). The Rangers lead the NHL in road wins (25) and road point percentage (.684) and are tied for first in road points (52). New York is one point away from tying its single-season franchise record for road points of 53, which was established in 2011-12.

 

MAKING HISTORY

The Rangers’ 48 wins are tied for the fifth-highest single-season total in franchise history and their 103 points are the sixth-highest single season total in franchise history.

 

MOST WINS IN ONE SEASON IN FRANCHISE HISTORY

MOST POINTS IN ONE SEASON IN FRANCHISE HISTORY

1. 52 (1993-94)

1. 112 (1993-94)

2. 51 (2011-12)

T-2. 109 (2011-12)

3. 50 (1991-92)

T-2. 109 (1970-71)

4. 49 (1970-71)

T-2. 109 (1971-72)

T-5. 48 (1971-72)

5. 105 (1991-92)

T-5. 48 (2014-15)

6. 103 (2014-15)

 

MARCH-ING ON

The Blueshirts earned 10 wins in March, finishing the month with a 10-4-1 record. The Rangers, who also recorded 10 wins in February, posted at least 10 wins in two consecutive calendar months for the first time in franchise history. New York’s 10 wins in March are also tied for the most wins the team has earned in the month in franchise history (the Rangers also registered 10 wins in March in 2006-07 and 2011-12).

 

100-POINT CLUB

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 - .678), goal differential (first - plus-52), wins (second - 48), ROW (second - 44), points (tied for second - 103), goals against per game (third - 2.29), and goals per game (third - 2.99). The Blueshirts have the fewest regulation losses (21) and fewest overall losses (regulation + OT/shootout; 28) in the NHL this season.

 

MAKING NOISE ON THE WESTERN FRONT

The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 10 of their last 12 games against Western Conference opponents (8-2-2) and have posted a 14-4-2 record in their last 20 games against teams in the Western Conference. The Rangers have posted a 17-5-5 record against Western Conference opponents this season.

 

AV SQUAD

Alain Vigneault enters the contest with 964 career regular season games coached. By coaching tomorrow’s game, Vigneault will pass Jack Adams and Sid Abel for 23rd place on the NHL's all-time games coached list. He leads all Rangers head coaches (min. 100 games coached) in point percentage (.630) in franchise history and he leads all NHL head coaches in wins (406) since 2006-07.

 

RICK ROLLING

Rick Nash tallied his 40th goal of the season on Mar. 28 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 - 0.53), games with a goal (second - 33), goals (tied for second - 40), SHG (tied for second - four), SOG (third - 287), GWG (tied for third - eight), SHP (tied for fifth - four), plus/minus rating (tied for fifth - plus-28), and takeaways (sixth - 70). He is the only NHL player who ranks among the top 10 in all of those categories this season. Nash is also the first NHL player to register at least 40 goals and 70 takeaways in the same season since 2008-09, when he and Jeff Carter both accomplished the feat.

 

KING HENRIK

Henrik Lundqvist is the only goalie in NHL history who has recorded at least 20 wins in each of his first 10 seasons in the league. He is also the only NHL goalie who has won at least 20 games in each of the last 10 seasons (2005-06 - 2014-15). Since entering the NHL in 2005-06, Lundqvist leads all goalies (min. 300 appearances) in appearances (615), wins (335), shutouts (55), and GAA (2.27), and is tied for first in SV% (.921). Lundqvist has posted a 17-5-0 record, along with a 1.93 GAA, a .935 SV%, and 1 SO in his last 22 appearances. He has also stopped 47 of 50 shots he has faced in the last five periods he has played, dating back to the start of the second period on Mar. 28 at Boston (.940 SV% during the stretch).

 

DAN'S THE MAN

Dan Girardi was credited with 10 blocked shots on Mar. 31 at Winnipeg. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first Ranger who has registered at least 10 blocked shots in one game since the NHL started recording blocked shots on a continuous basis in 2005-06. Girardi enters the contest two games shy of tying Ott Heller for 16th place on the Rangers’ all-time games played list and for sixth place on the Rangers’ all-time games played list among defensemen.

 

KREID-ING HIGH

Chris Kreider has tallied five points (three goals, two assists) in the last four games and six points (four goals, two assists) in the last six contests. He has established career-highs in goals (21), assists (21), points (42), game-winning goals (five), and power play goals (seven) this season.

 

INJURIES (114 Man-Games Lost to Injury):

  • Kevin Klein - upper-body - 3-4 weeks

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

  • Mar. 29 - Recalled Chris Summers from Hartford (AHL)
  • Mar. 30 - Reassigned Chris Summers to Hartford (AHL)
  • Apr. 1 – Agreed to terms with Brady Skjei on an entry-level contract

Above are the team issued pregame notes.

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