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Game Preview: New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Apr. 9

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Sunday, Apr. 9, 2017, 7:00 p.m. ET

Madison Square Garden – New York, NY

 

Rangers: 47-28-6 (100 pts)

Penguins: 50-19-11 (111 pts)*

 

* The Penguins face the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to facing the Rangers

 

TOMORROW’S GAME

The Rangers play their 82nd and final game of the 2016-17 season and conclude a back-to-back set tomorrow, Apr. 9, against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Metropolitan Division matchup at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). New York has earned at least one point in seven of the last 11 games, eight of the last 13 games, and 10 of the last 16 games. The Rangers have posted a 47-28-6 record this season.

 

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. PENGUINS

  • All-Time: 125-109-23-13 (69-52-9-6 at home; 56-57-14-7 on the road)
  • 2016-17: Tomorrow’s game is the fifth of five meetings between the Rangers and Penguins, and the third of three meetings between the two teams at MSG. The Rangers have posted a 1-2-1 record (0-1-1 at home; 1-1-0 on the road) thus far in the season series. Rick Nash has tallied a goal/point in each of the three games he has played thus far in the season series, and he leads the Rangers in goals (three) and points (four).
  • The Rangers have earned at least one point in 13 of their last 18 games against the Penguins, dating back to Apr. 3, 2013 (8-5-5).

RANGERS-PENGUINS CONNECTIONS

  • Glen Sather played parts of two seasons with the Penguins (1969-70 – 1970-71).
  • Mike Sullivan served as an Assistant Coach with the Rangers for four seasons (2009-10 – 2012-13). Sullivan was selected by the Rangers in the fourth round (69th overall) of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Tanner Glass played two seasons with the Penguins (2012-13 and 2013-14).
  • Adam Clendening played nine games with Pittsburgh during the 2015-16 season.
  • The Penguins list two former Rangers on their roster: Carl Hagelin (2011-12 – 2014-15) and Matt Cullen (2006-07).
  • Marc Staal and Matt Murray are both natives of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. PENGUINS

  • Rick Nash – 27 GP, 14-9-23 – Nash has tallied 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in his last nine regular season games against Pittsburgh. Including playoff games, Nash has recorded 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in his last 19 games against Pittsburgh.
  • Mats Zuccarello – 22 GP, 3-12-15 – Zuccarello has notched an assist/point in two of the last three games against the Penguins and has registered 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in his last 16 contests against Pittsburgh.
  • Kevin Hayes – 12 GP, 3-4-7 – Hayes has posted a multi-point game in two of his last five contests against Pittsburgh (one goal, three assists over the span).

 

STEVEN McDONALD EXTRA EFFORT AWARD

Prior to the start of tomorrow’s game, the Rangers will announce this year’s winner of the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award. The Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award is presented annually to the Ranger who, as chosen by the fans, “goes above and beyond the call of duty.” The award, which has been given annually since the 1987-88 season, bears the name of New York City Police Detective Steven McDonald, who was shot and injured in the line of duty on July 12, 1986 and passed away on January 10, 2017.

 

GOING WILD

The Rangers are locked into the first wild card spot and will face the Montreal Canadiens in the First Round of the 2017 NHL Playoffs. New York will face Montreal in a playoff series for the 16th time, and the Rangers have played more playoff series against the Canadiens than against any other opponent in franchise history.

 

CLINCHING A BERTH

The Rangers clinched a berth in the 2017 NHL Playoffs by earning a point on Mar. 28 at San Jose. The Blueshirts have earned a playoff berth in seven consecutive seasons (since 2010-11) and in 11 of 12 seasons since 2005-06. The Rangers are one of three NHL teams that have made the playoffs in every season since 2010-11 (along with Chicago and Pittsburgh). The Rangers are one of four NHL teams that have made the playoffs 11 times in 12 seasons since 2005-06, along with Detroit, Pittsburgh, and San Jose.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

The Blueshirts are the only NHL team that has not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs prior to the start of a regular season game at any point over the last 12 seasons (since 2005-06).

 

POINT TAKEN

New York earned its 100th point of the season on Apr. 2 vs. Philadelphia. The Rangers have earned at least 100 points for the third consecutive season (2014-15 – 2016-17) and for the 10th time in franchise history. The Blueshirts have registered 100 or more points in three consecutive seasons for the second time in franchise history (1970-71 – 1972-73). The Rangers are one of four NHL teams that have registered at least 100 points in every season since 2014-15 (along with Anaheim, Chicago, and Washington).

 

WINNING WAYS

The Rangers’ 47 wins in 2016-17 are tied for the seventh-most in one season in franchise history (New York also earned 47 wins in 1972-73). The Blueshirts rank sixth in the NHL in wins this season and are tied for fifth in the NHL in wins since the start of the 2013-14 season (191). The Rangers’ 191 wins since 2013-14 are the most in any four-season span in franchise history.

 

GOALS GALORE

The Blueshirts have tallied three or more goals in five of the last seven games and in 10 of the last 15 contests. The Rangers rank fourth in the NHL in goals per game in 2016-17 (3.09). The Rangers have tallied 253 goals this season, and the Blueshirts have recorded at least 253 goals in one season for the first time since 2005-06 (257).

 

THIRD PERIOD TALLIES

The Rangers have registered 100 goals in the third period this season. New York has recorded at least 100 goals in any period for the first time since the 1996-97 season (108 goals in the second period), as well as 100 or more goals in the third period for the first time since 1995-96 (101).

 

BOUNCE BACK

Since Dec. 22, 2015, the Rangers have posted a 39-11-4 record in the game following a loss (regulation or overtime/shootout). New York has posted a 22-7-4 record in games following a loss in 2016-17.

 

BACK-TO-BACK

The Rangers have posted a 10-5-0 record in the second game of a back-to-back set thus far this season. In their last 97 back-to-back sets (since the start of the 2010-11 season), the Rangers have posted a 63-28-6 record in the second game of the set.

 

HOME COOKING

The Blueshirts earned their 20th home win of the season on Apr. 2 vs. Philadelphia. New York has earned 20 or more wins at home in four consecutive seasons, in six of the last seven seasons, and in 10 of the last 12 seasons.

 

ON POINT

Rangers defensemen have recorded 52 points (15 goals, 37 assists) in 27 games since Feb. 11, and a Rangers defenseman has tallied a goal in 13 of the 27 contests over the span.

 

AV SQUAD

Alain Vigneault enters the contest with 613 career wins as an NHL head coach, and he is one win away from passing Jacques Martin for sole possession of 14th place on the league’s all-time wins list among head coaches. Vigneault is one of three head coaches in Rangers history who have guided the team to the playoffs in at least four consecutive seasons (Lester Patrick and Emile Francis).

 

KREID-ING HIGH

Chris Kreider has established career-highs in goals (28) and points (53) this season, and he has also tied his career-high in assists (25). He leads the Rangers in goals and games with a goal (24) in 2016-17. Kreider is one of five NHL players who have registered at least 28 goals and 130 hits this season (Alex Ovechkin, Wayne Simmonds, Joe Pavelski, and Anders Lee). In addition, he leads the Rangers in goals (17) and is tied for the team lead in points (32) at home this season.

 

RAISE THE ANTTI

Antti Raanta has established career-highs in appearances (30), wins (16), and shutouts (four) in 2016-17. He has posted a 16-6-2 record, along with a 2.13 GAA, a .927 SV%, and 4 SO in 26 starts this season, and he stopped all 30 shots he faced to earn a win/shutout in his last start on Mar. 25 at Los Angeles.

 

HEY HEY HAYES

Kevin Hayes has established career-highs in assists (32), points (49), shorthanded assists (six), shorthanded points (seven), shots on goal (143), and game-winning goals (four), and he has tied his career-high in goals (17) this season. He leads the NHL in shorthanded assists, and he is also tied for the NHL lead in shorthanded points in 2016-17.

 

SKJEI HEY KID

Brady Skjei has recorded 39 points this season, and his 39 points are the most a Rangers rookie defenseman has tallied since Brian Leetch in 1988-89. Skjei leads NHL rookies in even strength assists in 2016-17 (27). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Skjei is the first NHL defenseman who has recorded at least 27 even strength assists in his rookie season since Larry Murphy in 1980-81. He is also one of three NHL defensemen who have recorded at least 30 even strength points in their rookie season since 1993-94, along with John Carlson and Tyler Myers.

 

IT’S MILLER TIME

J.T. Miller is the only Ranger who has skated in all of the team’s 81 games thus far this season. He has established career-highs in several categories in 2016-17, including  assists (34), points (56), and game-winning goals (six). In addition, Miller has tied his career-high in goals this season (22).

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

 

Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 0-for-2 (4:00) this afternoon at Ottawa.
  • The Blueshirts have tallied a power play goal in three of the last five games and in nine of the last 14 games. The Rangers are 12-for-37 (32.4%) on the power play over the last 14 games (since Mar. 9) and are tied for second in the NHL in power play efficiency over the span.

 

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 3-for-3 (5:31) this afternoon at Ottawa.
  • New York has not allowed a power play goal in three of the last four games (11-for-12; 91.7%).
  • The Blueshirts are tied for fourth in the NHL in SHG in 2016-17 (nine).

 

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Brandon Pirri – 2 points away from 100 in his NHL career

 

INJURIES (202 Man-Games Lost to Injury)

  • Ryan McDonagh (maintenance) – has missed four games
  • Jesper Fast (maintenance) – has missed two games
  • Rick Nash (maintenance) – has missed two games
  • Mats Zuccarello (maintenance) – has missed two games
  • Nick Holden (maintenance) – has missed two games
  • Marc Staal (maintenance) – has missed one game
  • Derek Stepan (maintenance) – has missed one game

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

  • Apr. 7 – Recalled Taylor Beck from Hartford (AHL)

 

THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Apr. 9, 1983 – The Rangers completed a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers in the Patrick Division Semifinals, defeating the Flyers, 9-3, in Game 3 of the series at MSG.
  • Apr. 9, 1989 – Mike Richter made his NHL debut in Game 4 of the Patrick Division Semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins at MSG.
  • Apr. 9, 2011 – Ryan McDonagh tallied his first career NHL goal as the Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils, 5-2, at MSG in the final game of the regular season.

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