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Game Preview: New York Rangers host Calgary Flames, Feb. 4

Game Preview: New York Rangers host Calgary Flames, Feb. 4

Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, 2:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY

Rangers: 32-18-1 (65 pts)
Flames: 27-24-3 (57 pts)

* See the attached document for additional information on all Rangers players

The Rangers play their 52nd game of the 2016-17 season and begin a season-long four-game homestand tomorrow, Feb. 5, against the Calgary Flames at Madison Square Garden (2:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Rangers have posted a 32-18-1 record this season.

All-Time*: 44-54-15-1 (29-24-5-0 at home; 15-30-10-1 on the road) *Note: record includes games against the Atlanta Flames from 1972-73 – 1979-80
2016-17: Tomorrow’s game is the second of two meetings between the Rangers and Flames, 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) and defeated the Flames, 4-1, on Nov. 12 in Calgary. Four different Rangers tallied a goal and 10 different Blueshirts registered a point in the contest. Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves to earn the win.
The Rangers have earned at least one point in each of their last five games against Calgary, dating back to Dec. 16, 2014 (4-0-1).
New York has earned at least one point in eight of its last nine contests against Calgary, dating back to Nov. 22, 2010 (7-1-1).
Since Dec. 6, 1999, 14 of 19 meetings between the Rangers and Flames have been decided by two or fewer goals, and 11 of those games have been decided by one goal.

· Chad Johnson appeared in six games over parts of two seasons with the Rangers (2009-10 and 2010-11).
· Kevin Hayes and Johnny Gaudreau were teammates at Boston College for three seasons (2011-12 – 2013-14). In addition, Hayes, Gaudreau, and Chris Kreider were all teammates for one season at Boston College (2011-12) and helped the Eagles win the National Championship.
· Kevin Hayes and Matthew Tkachuk are cousins.
· Adam Clendening and Alex Chiasson were teammates with Boston University for two seasons (2010-11 and 2011-12).
· Rick Nash and Dennis Wideman were teammates with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for parts of two seasons (2000-01 and 2001-02).
· Flames Assistant Coach Paul Jerrard was selected by the Rangers in the ninth round (173rd overall) of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft.
· Flames Assistant Coach Dave Cameron coached Mika Zibanejad for the last two seasons in Ottawa (2014-15 and 2015-16). Cameron also coached Kevin Klein for parts of four seasons in junior hockey with the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League (2000-01 – 2003-04).
· Flames Assistant Coach Martin Gelinas was coached by Alain Vigneault for two seasons with the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (1987-88 and 1988-89).

· Henrik Lundqvist – 8 GP, 5-3-0, 2.58 GAA, .902 SV% – Lundqvist has earned a win in four of his last five appearances against Calgary (dating back to Oct. 20, 2011), posting a 2.33 GAA and a .921 SV% over the span.
· Rick Nash – 40 GP, 11-15-26 – Nash has tallied five points (four goals, one assist) in his last 10 games against the Flames.
· Derek Stepan – 8 GP, 3-4-7 – Stepan has notched a point in five of eight career games against Calgary.
· Dan Girardi – 12 GP, 3-5-8 – Girardi has recorded a point in seven of 12 career games against the Flames.
· Mika Zibanejad – 7 GP, 3-3-6 – Zibanejad has tallied four points (three goals, one assist) in his last two games against Calgary.

Eight different Rangers have registered at least 10 goals this season (Grabner, Kreider, Miller, Nash, Hayes, Vesey, Stepan, and Zuccarello). The Blueshirts are one of four NHL teams that have eight players who have tallied 10 or more goals this season (along with Washington, Minnesota, and St. Louis).

New York ranks second in the NHL in goals (173 – includes two team goals awarded for shootout wins) and also ranks second in the NHL in goals per game (3.35) this season. The Rangers have recorded 58 goals over the last 16 games, registering at least four goals in 10 of the 16 contests.

The Rangers’ 32 wins in 2016-17 are tied for the fourth-most the team has earned through the first 51 games of one season in franchise history. The Blueshirts have earned at least 32 wins through the first 51 games of a season six times in franchise history (1971-72, 1972-73, 1991-92, 1993-94, 2011-12, 2016-17), and the only seasons in which the team earned more than 32 wins through the first 51 games were 1972-73 (34), 1993-94 (34), and 2011-12 (33).

Tomorrow’s game is the first of four consecutive games the Rangers will play against Western Conference opponents. New York has posted a 15-5-0 record against teams in the Western Conference this season, including an 8-1-0 record in games against teams in the Pacific Division.

The Blueshirts enter the contest with a plus-37 goal differential this season (173 goals for; 136 goals against) and rank fourth in the NHL in goal differential in 2016-17.

The Rangers registered a season-high 44 shots on goal on Feb. 2 at Buffalo. The Blueshirts have registered at least 40 shots on goal in three of the last seven contests. In addition, New York has recorded at least 30 shots on goal in each of the last three games, eight of the last 10 games, and 11 of the last 16 contests.

The Rangers are playing a game on the same day as the Super Bowl for the third time since the 2005-06 season. The Blueshirts have won each of the previous two games they played on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3, 2008 – Rangers defeated Montreal, 5-3, at Montreal; Feb. 5, 2012 – Rangers defeated Philadelphia, 5-2, at MSG).

The Blueshirts have posted a 14-3-1 record in weekend games this season, including a 7-1-1 record in games played on a Sunday. In addition, the Rangers have posted a 3-0-0 record in afternoon games thus far in 2016-17,

Alain Vigneault coached his 1,100th career game as a head coach in the NHL on Jan. 23 vs. Los Angeles. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only NHL head coach who earned more wins than Vigneault through his first 1,100 games coached in the league was Scotty Bowman. Vigneault enters the contest with 598 career wins as a head coach in the NHL.

Henrik Lundqvist has allowed two goals or fewer in five of his last six appearances, posting a 4-1-0 record, along with a 1.84 GAA, a .939 SV%, and 1 SO over the span. He earned his 20th win of the 2016-17 season on Jan. 22 at Detroit, becoming the first goaltender in NHL history to register at least 20 wins in each of his first 12 seasons in the league. In addition, Lundqvist is the 10th goaltender in NHL history who has earned at least 20 wins in 12 or more seasons, and his 12 consecutive 20-win seasons are tied for the most in NHL history (Brodeur and Esposito).

Michael Grabner leads the NHL in even strength goals (21), is tied for ninth in plus/minus rating (plus-21), and is tied for 11th in goals (22) this season. He is the only NHL player who has registered at least 20 goals and a plus-20 rating in 2016-17. Thus far this season, 29 of Grabner’s 30 points have either been a goal or the primary assist on a goal.

Chris Kreider tallied his 20th goal of the season, which was the game-winning goal in overtime, on Feb. 2 at Buffalo. Kreider is the only Ranger who has recorded at least 20 goals in each of the last three seasons (2014-15 – 2016-17), and he is tied for third in the NHL in goals since Dec. 1, 2016 (16). He is one goal away from tying his career-high. Kreider has tallied 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) in 23 games at Madison Square Garden in 2016-17.

J.T. Miller has established a career-high in assists this season (22). He has recorded a point in 12 of the last 14 games (seven goals, nine assists), and he leads the Rangers in games with a point in 2016-17 (29).

Mats Zuccarello has registered 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) over the last 18 games (since Dec. 18), and he is tied for third in the NHL in assists over the span. Zuccarello has also tallied a goal in two of the last four contests. He is tied for second in the NHL in even strength assists this season (24); he only trails Connor McDavid (27) and is tied with Patrick Kane. Zuccarello leads the Rangers in assists (29), points (39), even strength assists, and even strength points (31) this season.

Derek Stepan has recorded 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in the last 33 games, including 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) in the last 27 contests and 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in the last 18 games. Entering this season, Stepan was one of two players in Rangers history who registered at least 40 points in each of their first six NHL seasons (along with Steve Vickers). He leads the Rangers in primary assists (18) and is tied for second on the team in points (38) in 2016-17.

Ryan McDonagh participated in the 2017 NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 29. He became the first Ranger to play in at least two consecutive NHL All-Star Games since Henrik Lundqvist (2009 – 2012) and the first Rangers defenseman to accomplish the feat since Brian Leetch (2001 and 2002). McDonagh is tied for second among NHL defensemen in primary assists (17) and is tied for sixth in assists (27) in 2016-17. McDonagh enters the contest with 199 career NHL points.

Dan Girardi enters the contest with 772 career games played as a Ranger, and he is one game away from passing Adam Graves for sole possession of ninth place on the franchise’s all-time games played list. He leads the NHL in blocked shots since the start of his first full NHL season in 2007-08 (1,612).

The Rangers outscored Buffalo, 1-0, on special teams on Feb. 2. New York has outscored its opponent on special teams in 20 games this season and has posted a 16-4-0 record in those 20 contests.

Power Play:
The Rangers were 1-for-3 (4:34) on Feb. 2 at Buffalo.
New York has tallied a PPG in seven of the last 15 games (11-for-49; 22.4%).
The Blueshirts are tied for 12th in the NHL in power play efficiency this season (20.8%; 32-for-154).

Penalty Kill:
The Rangers were 3-for-3 (6:00) on Feb. 2 at Buffalo.
New York has not allowed a power play goal in five of the last six games (92.3%; 12-for-13).
The Blueshirts rank second in the NHL in SHG in 2016-17 (seven).

Ryan McDonagh – 1 point away from 200 in his NHL career/as a Ranger
Mika Zibanejad – 1 assist away from 100 in his NHL career
Alain Vigneault – 2 wins away from 600 as a head coach in the NHL
Henrik Lundqvist – 4 wins away from 400 in his NHL career/as a Ranger
Brandon Pirri – 4 points away from 100 in his NHL career
Jesper Fast – 5 games away from 200 in his NHL career/as a Ranger

INJURIES (132 Man-Games Lost to Injury)
Kevin Hayes (lower-body injury) – has missed four games

Feb. 3 – Assigned Magnus Hellberg to Hartford (AHL)
Feb. 2 – Recalled Magnus Hellberg from Hartford (AHL)

· Feb. 4, 1999 – Wayne Gretzky tallied his 1,071st career goal in professional hockey (NHL and WHA, regular season and playoffs), tying Gordie Howe for the most all-time.
· Feb. 4, 2004 – The Rangers retired Mike Richter’s No. 35 in a pregame ceremony at Madison Square Garden. Richter became the third player to have his number retired by the organization.
· Feb. 5, 1931 – Cecil Dillon tallied two goals and John Ross Roach earned a shutout as the Rangers defeated the New York Americans, 2-0, at MSG.
· Feb. 5, 1965 – Bob Nevin was named Rangers captain, becoming the 13th captain in franchise history.
· Feb. 5, 1997 – Wayne Gretzky registered four assists and Adam Graves tallied two goals, including the game-winning goal, as the Rangers defeated the Hartford Whalers, 5-2, at MSG.

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