Monday, December 5, 2011
W2W4: Rangers vs. Maple Leafs
By Katie Strang
At a glance: Facing the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second time this season, the Rangers aim to record their sixth straight win and avenge their only home regulation loss of the season – a 4-2 defeat to Toronto back in October.
Lights, camera, action: Monday will mark the first day of the full-time HBO presence leading up to the NHL’s Winter Classic game between the Rangers and Flyers in Philadelphia January 2. Camera crews will document the daily activities of each team as part of its four-part series 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic, which is set to debut December 14.
Last time around: The Leafs handed the Rangers their only regulation loss at Madison Square Garden during the team’s home opener October 27. Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, who made 28 of 30 saves in that 4-2 win for Toronto, will start in net for the Leafs Monday.
Gold stars: The Rangers’ best players – Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan – are playing like it right now. Richards enters Monday’s contest on a five-game point streak with four goals and five assists during that span. Gaborik has six points (three goals, three assists) in the last six games and Callahan has seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last five.
Great goaltending: The Rangers have also been beneficiaries of tremendous goaltending of late. Monday’s starter Henrik Lundqvist has won nine of his last ten starts (1.89 GAA, 0.936 save percentage), including one shutout.
On a roll: The Rangers’ five-game winning streak isn’t the only one to preserve. The Rangers have also won seven straight at home, dating back to October 31 against San Jose. The 7-1-1 start is the Rangers' best start through nine games at Madison Square Garden since the 1992-93 season.
Bottom line: With the cameras rolling, the Rangers eye the opportunity to rattle of their sixth consecutive win, eighth straight at home. But this Toronto team gave them a hard last time around, tallying three third-period goals to snap a 1-1 tie and sink the Rangers in their home opener.