Marc Staal

Opening Night

Overall the Rangers are 38-38-13-1 in opening night games dating back to their NHL debut back in 1926-27.  They currently sit on a three game winning streak, having beaten the Islanders 5-3 last season, Chicago 3-2 the previous year, and the Blues by a similar 3-2 margin back in 2014-15.

The three game streak is the third longest in franchise history behind a seven year mark set way back when the team first joined the NHL in 1926 through to 1932 when they defeated the Montreal Maroons 4-2.  Following the 2004-05 lockout season, the Rangers won four straight season openers, beating the Flyers, Capitals, Panthers and Lightning in consecutive seasons.

This is the first time that the Rangers will face the Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques franchise in a season opener.  Quebec joined the NHL from the WHA in 1979, and was relocated to Colorado in 1995.

A season opener on home ice has also been relatively rare in recent years, with eight straight openers on the road prior to last season when they faced the Islanders at Madison Square Garden.  The stretch of eight games included two trips to Europe where they had a designated home game in Prague against the Lightning back in 2008, and a 2011 trip to Stockholm against the Kings.  Part of this lengthy stretch can be attributed to the remodelling work that was done at MSG to update the stadium.

The Rangers have not been shutout in a season opener since 1998, when the Flyers shut them out 1-0 at the Garden.  Interestingly enough, the goal scorer Alexandre Daigle and the primary assist getter Mike Maneluk both would go on to play for New York.

You have to go back significantly further to 1956 to find the last time the Rangers shutout their opponent in a season opener, when they beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0.  Chicago was also the victim of the most goals scored by a Rangers team on opening night, when they scored 7 goals in a 7-4 win over the Blackhawks in the 1955-56 season opener.

New York has given up 7 goals on opening night on two occasions, losing by identical 7-2 scorelines to the Maple Leafs in 1942 and Boston in 1980.  They’ve given up more than three goals only once since Henrik Lundqvist joined the team in 2005-06, that being a 4-1 loss to the Coyotes in 2013.

Individually, the Rangers have been lead by Henrik Lundqvist, who has appeared in 11 straight season openers for the team, dating back to 2006-07.  He also served as backup for the 2005-06 opener, but did not see any ice behind Kevin Weekes.  During the 11 game stretch, he has a 7-3-1 record, with a 2.54 GAA and .914 Sv%.

Other current Blueshirts to have played in multiple season openers for the Rangers include Marc Staal – 9, Ryan McDonagh – 6, Rick Nash – 5, Mats Zuccarello – 5, Jesper Fast – 4, Chris Kreider – 4, J.T. Miller – 4 and Kevin Hayes 2.

Kreider – 2 goals and 3 assists ini four appearances and Nash – 2 goals and 3 assists in five appearances, have been the best performers.  McDonagh is yet to register a point in an opener in six appearances, while Hayes has an assist in each of his two games, but is yet to record a shot on goal.

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