Regarding the Rangers, who face the Wild at the Garden on Thursday while attempting to match the 2008-09 team’s 10-2-1 getaway that represents the best 13-game start over the last 15 years.
Of course, that was also the season in which head coach Tom Renney was fired at the end of February and replaced by John Tortorella, so make out of that what you will.
1. This marks the first rematch of the season, the Blueshirts coming off a 5-4 shootout loss in Minnesota on Saturday in a game where they were out-attempted 98-41 and were largely outmuscled in the most physical match of the year.
Perhaps coincidence, perhaps not, but Barclay Goodrow — who brings a large dose of snarl and sneaky menace onto the ice — missed that one while staying back to accompany his wife for the birth of their son.
“I think they were physical, and I do think they are a physical team, but I thought we were extremely physical in our game [Tuesday against Detroit],” head coach Peter Laviolette said. “There was a lot of body contact.
“We can play that game. And I think that’s also when we’re playing well. I think it brings you into the battle and engages you a little bit. But where we really needed to be better in Minnesota was our skating and our closing and our actual defense, which is physical as well.”
2. Blueshirts have killed 10 straight penalties over the last two games and 28 of 30 over the last eight contests (7-0-1) to rank ninth in the NHL at 86.1 percent entering Wednesday night.
“There was a big penalty-kill meeting after leaving Minnesota because the penalty kill looked like the defense we played — too much space, too much gap, too much time,” Laviolette said. “Those were things we addressed to try and make corrections, to be better, to be harder to play against — no time, no space, lanes filled, pressure.
“Penalty-kill systems are always different. Some teams push down, some teams push out, some teams stay in a box. There are different ways to do it. I think it does take a second to understand who covers who, when you’re supposed to push out, how far you’re supposed to push out.
“I do think the players are starting to get comfortable inside of that.”
Goodrow is one of the six primary penalty-killing forwards with Nick Bonino, Jimmy Vesey, Vincent Trocheck, Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad.
“We’re winning a lot of faceoffs. That’s a big thing,” Goodrow said. “It’s winning a faceoff, getting a clear and making the power play come in off an entry. Our forechecking and entry pressure have been really good and have made it hard for teams to set up.”
The Rangers, third overall at the dots at 54.9 percent, are fifth while shorthanded at 52.3 percent. The club is fourth on power-play draws at 65.5 percent.
Assistant coach Dan Muse runs the PK unit as he did under Laviolette for three seasons in Nashville. But the head coach said that while concepts are the same, the system is, “a little bit different.”
“There are always some changes inside of the penalty kill based on the power play of the opponent,” Laviolette said. “There might be times where you’re leaning one way because someone has a really good shot or you might lean a different way because you don’t want to give somebody enough time and space.
“So there are always changes.”
3. Will Cuylle was not hatched out of a pingpong ball, so the 21-year-old has largely been able to avoid the spotlight as he adapts — somewhat seamlessly — to life in the NHL.
Nothing seems to have fazed Cuylle, who recorded his third goal on a deflection of Zac Jones’ drive Tuesday against Detroit.
“There are definite moments that are cool, playing at all new arenas is pretty cool,” said the winger, who did play four NHL games last year bridging the All-Star break. “But I try and just focus on the game and stuff.
“There come times where I think, ‘This is pretty cool,’ but I don’t want to get distracted and have anything take away from my focus. But more it’s after the game where I’ll think it was pretty cool.”
Cuylle Hand Will seized the moment in training camp, not only earning a spot on the roster but an assignment on the top-nine that has included second power-play duty. He has not looked out of place on a single shift.
“I think I’m just learning as I go,” said No. 50, who has four points (3-1) in 12:37 of average ice time per game. “I’m trying to make an impact wherever I can, whether that’s scoring a goal, making a hit, getting in a fight, being hard on the forecheck or blocking shots.
“I just want to help the team win.”