The Rangers and Hurricanes square off for the first time this season, as both teams face each other for the first time as division rivals, and the first time that Marc will take on brothers Eric and Jordan together on the same time for the first time.
Remember, last season Marc missed the chance to face Jordan and Eric due to that horrific eye injury that made him miss the rest of the regular season, and all but one game during the playoffs.
Jared, the youngest of Staal brothers, is in Charlotte remaining in the AHL for this contest, but did get a chance to skate alongside his brothers during the final few games of the regular season last year, but his chance to play against his brother Marc will have to wait yet again.
The Rangers, are coming in on a two game winning streak, as they are looking like a totally different team. Tighter defensively, taking shots just to take shots, the Rangers are a team looking for answers and looking for ways to improve themselves. On Thursday night, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist recorded his second shut out of the season, in a 2-0 victory against the lowly Buffalo Sabres, who have issues of their own. Lundqvist looked sharp when it mattered, ending the game stopping a very strong rush by the Sabres who were throwing anything and everything at them.
The Hurricanes meanwhile are without starting goaltender Cam Ward, who went down with a lower body injury, is already thin at goaltender. Backup, Justin Peters played yesterday in a 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but is expected to start once again for the Hurricanes. The last time these two faced one another, it was that game that Ryan Callahan scored the winner, and sent the Rangers to the playoffs. The rest is forgotten history.
This is the first of 4 meetings, and the last meeting until March 7. After this game the Rangers have a tough test ahead of them as the Ducks come to the Garden for the only time this season, and then face Pittsburgh on NBCSN Rivalry Game of the Week.
Players to Watch
1. Justin Peters – Carolina Hurricanes
Justin Peters has a lot on his plate, due to both Anton Kudobhin and Cam Ward out due to injuries. So far, Peters is at 0-4-0 with a 3.10 GAA average in the 4 games he has appeared in so far for the Hurricanes. But, with the Rangers lack of success against a teams backup goaltender (Montreal’s Peter Budaj the most recent) – He’s going to be closely looked at, as to see just how the Rangers are going to react to a goalie that they really are not use to.
2. Mats Zuccarello – New York Rangers
After being benched by Alain Vigneault in the teams game against the Flyers, Zuccarello was reinserted into the lineup against the Red Wings, and has been a better player. So much so, that he is currently getting top line minutes, and gelling with Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan. Will his personal success continue, or will it be a long game for the Norwegian flash, who loves his mothers meatloaf.
3. Carl Hagelin – New York Rangers
Yes, Hagelin is going to be a player that we watch, who took the advice of Ryan Callahan and hasn’t held back since his return from his own shoulder surgery on Tuesday against the Islanders. He has already tallied an assist, and has brought more of an edge to his game. Remember, he was the player that started that whole incident after the Islanders game on Tuesday. It’s been a nice sense of speed and also guts that has made Hagelin one to watch.
New York Rangers (05-07-00; 10 Points) versus Carolina Hurricanes (04-06-03; 11 Points)
7:00PM EST – Madison Square Garden New York, NY
TV: MSG, FS-CR
Last 10: NYR (4-6-0) – CAR (03-05-02)
Rangers Line Combinations
Chris Kreider (20) – Derek Stepan (21) – Mats Zuccarello (36)
Carl Hagelin (62) – Brad Richards (19) – Benoit Pouliot (67)
J.T Miller (10) – Derick Brassard (16) – Derek Dorrsett (15)
Taylor Pyatt (14) – Brian Boyle (22) – Brandon Mashinter (40)
Ryan McDonagh (27) – Dan Girardi (5)
Marc Staal (18) – Anton Stralman (6)
Michael Del Zotto (4) – John Moore (17)
Henrik Lundqvist (30)
Cam Talbot (33)
Projected Hurricane Line Combinations
Jiri Tlusty (19) – Eric Staal (12) – Alexander Semin (28)
Nathan Gerbe (14) – Jordan Staal (11) – Patrick Dwyer (39)
Tuomo Ruutu (15) – Riley Nash (20) – Elias Lindholm (16)
Drayson Bowman (21) – Manny Malholtra (22) – Brett Sutter (42)
Andrej Sekera (4) – Justin Faulk (28)
Tim Gleason (6) – Ron Hainsey (65)
Jay Harrison (44) – Ryan Murphy (7)
Justin Peters (35)
Mike Murphy (70)
- The Rangers are 62-48-7-2 overall against the Hurricanes and are 37-17-4-2 at home.
- Manny Malholtra and Radek Dvorak (IR) are the only two former Rangers listed on the Hurricanes Roster; Hurricanes list no former Rangers.
- Henrik Lundqvist is a lifetime 14-8-1 with a 2.26GAA and 1 shutout against Carolina.
- Rangers Powerplay is 4 for 15 in its last 4 games; Penalty Kill is 33 for 38 in that same span.
- Jordan and Eric are a combined 23-14-7 all time when facing Marc.
- The Rangers have registered at least a point when leading after two periods in their last 95 contests.
- The Rangers are 46 games away from playing their 6,000 overall game as a franchise