Markus Naslund

Opening Night Statistics

The Rangers are set for their 2009-10 season opener tonight in Pittsburgh (7:30pm – MSG) and they’ll be looking to extend their unbeaten streak in the first game of the season to five games. In fact the Rangers haven’t lost a season opener since the lockout, and are 6-3-1-0 in their last ten seasons on opening night.

If you’re not a statistics fan, you may just want to brush over the rest of this article, but for the rest of you I present a myriad of stats and facts from the first game of the season.

Overall: 34-35-13-0
Road: 22-25-8-0
Home: 12-10-5-0

Home vs. Road
Traditionally the Rangers have tended to open their season on the road more often than at home. This was particular true before the league expanded in the 1967-68 season, with the Blueshirts playing only six games on home ice to open the season. Since then it’s been more balanced with the split being 22-22 between road and home. Unfortunately one of those season openers at home was in the 2004-05 season that was cancelled.

Earliest and Latest season opener
1999-00 – October 1st, 1999 vs. Edmonton Oilers
1926-27 – November 16th, 1926 vs. Montreal Maroons*

*Note: Actual latest season start was 1994-95 – January 20th, 1994 vs. Buffalo Sabres – because of the lockout

First Rangers goals of the season
Here are the Rangers first goal scorers over the past 14 seasons:
1994-95 Steve Larmer
1995-96 None – Shutout
1996-97 Ulf Samuelsson
1997-98 Adam Graves
1998-99 None – Shutout
1999-00 Tim Taylor
2000-01 Valeri Kamensky
2001-02 Mark Messier
2002-03 Mark Messier
2003-04 Jan Hlavac
2005-06 Jason Strudwick
2006-07 Jaromir Jagr
2007-08 Michal Rozsival
2008-09 Markus Naslund

Winning Streaks
The Rangers are currently on their second longest winning streak in season openers. The franchise won their first seven season openers, extending from the 1926-27 season through to 1932-33. Since then they’ve only one two or more consecutive home openers on seven occasions, and the current streak of four games is the second best in franchise history.

Losing Streaks
Between 1949-50 and 1954-55 the Rangers lost six consecutive home openers, four of those to the Detroit Red Wings. They’ve lost two or more consecutive home openers on nine occasions, with the last time back in 1993-94 through 1995-96 when they lost three consecutive home openers.

Unbeaten and Winless Streaks
Factor in ties, and the Rangers went unbeaten from 1973-74 through to 1979-80 when they went 5-0-2 to equal the mark they made at the begining of the franchise’s history. They also had a tie the season before they set their worst losing streak back in 1948-49, to make that a seven game winless streak. They then tied that mark in the 90s, with a 0-4-3 run from 1993-94 to 1999-00.

Biggest wins on opening night
6-2 October 11th, 1961 at Boston Bruins
6-2 October 12th, 1964 at Boston Bruins
6-2 October 5th, 1983 vs New Jersey Devils

Biggest losses on opening night
2-7 October 31st, 1942 at Toronto Maple Leafs
2-7 October 9th, 1980 at Boston Bruins

Highest scoring games on opening night
7-4 October 7th, 1955 at Chicago Blackhawks
6-5 October 6th, 1976 v Minnesota North Stars

Lowest scoring games on opening night
1-0 November 10th, 1935 vs Detroit Red Wings
0-1 October 10th, 1998 vs Philadelphia Flyers

Shutouts on opening night
1-0 November 16th, 1926 vs Montreal Maroons
2-0 November 15th, 1928 at Detroit Cougars
3-0 November 11th, 1930 at Philadelphia Quakers
3-0 November 7th, 1937 at Detroit Red Wings
3-0 October 12th, 1956 at Chicago Blackhawks

0-4 October 9th, 1954 vs Detroit Red Wings
0-2 October 7th, 1995 vs Hartford Whalers
0-1 October 9th, 1998 vs Philadelphia Flyers

Most common score
1-1 5 times – Most recent vs Edmonton Oilers 1999
2-1 5 times – Most recent vs Tampa Bay Lightning 2008
2-5 5 times – Most recent vs Detroit Red Wings 1981
3-5 5 times – Most recent vs Minnesota Wild 2003
4-1 5 times – Most recent vs Carolina Hurricanes 2002

Most frequent opponent
16 – Detroit Cougars/Detroit Red Wings

Teams never played in season opener
Anaheim Ducks
Colorado Avalanche
Calgary Flames
Columbus Blue Jackets
Dallas Stars
Los Angeles Kings
Nashville Predators
Ottawa Senators
San Jose Sharks

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