The names Graves, Ratelle, Henry and Bower are well-known in New York Rangers history. They may soon be replaced in the record book by Jagr and Lundqvist.
Several long-standing club records could fall when the Rangers meet the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
With his next goal, league scoring leader Jaromir Jagr will break the Rangers’ single-season mark, set in 1993-94 when Adam Graves scored 52.
Jagr’s next point also will set a new team record. Jagr’s 109 points tie him with Jean Ratelle, who had 46 goals and 63 assists in the 1971-72 season.
Jagr, one of several keys to Rangers’ bid for their first playoff berth since 1996-97, had an assist before scoring the tying goal in the third period of Monday’s 5-4 shootout win over Buffalo.
“It’s a big satisfaction,” said Jagr, who has nine goals and eight assists in a nine-game point streak. “Look at all the great players here in the past 80 years.”
Henrik Lundqvist played the final 25 minutes in place of the ineffective Kevin Weekes and finished with just eight saves. Lundqvist then denied Daniel Briere, Maxim Afinogenov and Derek Roy in the shootout for his 29th win—tying the Rangers rookie goaltender record shared by Jim Henry in 1941-42 and Hall of Famer Johnny Bower in 1953-54.
“Absolutely unbelievable,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “This is a big, big game and Henrik goes in and nails it.”
Jagr and Lundqvist have enjoyed tremendous success this season at the expense of the Islanders. Jagr has six goals and six assists in five meetings, including a four-point night on Dec. 28 in the Rangers’ 6-2 win on Long Island.
Lundqvist has yet to lose to the Isles in regulation, going 2-0-1 with a 1.62 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.
The Rangers, though, have dropped a season-high six straight on the road.
New York holds a two-point lead over second-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division, and will meet the Flyers twice more in the regular season.
The Islanders return home after dropping a 2-0 decision to Montreal on Tuesday, tying a season-high with their fourth straight road loss.
The loss dropped the Isles into 12th place in the Eastern Conference. New York is 10 points behind Montreal and New Jersey for the final playoff spot with 11 games remaining.
“You move on. No one’s got their head down,” DiPietro said. “You’re a professional athlete, you can’t just cash it in because your chances of making the playoffs aren’t that good.
“We’ve still got a chance to go 11 games here and put some pressure on teams and see what happens. Teams could go on losing streaks—and it’s not unlikely that some teams start losing some games—and we can make up some ground.”
The Islanders have two wins and a tie in their last 14 home games against the Rangers dating back to Jan. 15, 2000. home.