The Rangers march into PNC Arena to battle the Hurricanes
Time: 7:00 pm EST
Location: PNC Arena-Raleigh, NC
In a matchup of two teams on the opposite ends of the standings, the New York Rangers take a one-game road trip down 95-South, as they visit the Hurricanes tonight. The Rangers are coming off a 1-0 loss at home to the Chicago Blackhawks, this past Wednesday night at home. This will be the fifth and final matchup between the two teams this season. The Rangers have gotten the better of the Hurricanes in their season series, winning all four of their previous four meetings. Their previous meeting was in January, where the Rangers won 4-1 at Madison Square Garden. This season, the Hurricanes have played close with the Rangers, taking the first two games to a shootout, and losing a close 1-0 game last December.
New York Rangers: 44-18-7 with 95 points, first place in the Metropolitan Division
In their previous 10 games, the Rangers are 7-2-1. Despite losing to the Blackhawks on Wednesday it was their first regulation loss for the month of March. They were 6-0-1. On the road, the team is 22-10-2. Unfortunately, the team has been experiencing a little power outage, offensively. After scoring four goals to start the month, the Rangers have scored no higher than three goals one time. Since March 2nd, the team has managed 1.16 goals per game. Their power play has been sputtering, converting one of their last 20 opportunities with the man-advantage. The good news is that penalty kill unit has been near flawless. The team has allowed one goal in their last 24 times short-handed. However, the Rangers’ team-leading scorers of Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard are a combined one goal and four points in their past five games. Secondary scorers such as Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider have no goals, in their past five.
Carolina Hurricanes: 26-35-9 with 61 points, eighth place in the Metrolpolitan Division
The Hurricanes are 15-14-5, when hosting their opponents. In their last 10 games, they are 3-5-2. the Hurricanes last played this past Thursday in Montreal, where they lost 4-0 to the Canadiens. The team is averaging 2.26 goals per game, which is good for 27th in the league. However, they are 19th best in the league in goals against with 2.67 per game. Despite their struggles outscoring their opponents on game-by-game basis, their special teams unit are ranked high in the league. The Hurricanes have a top ten power play (ranked 9th with a conversion rate of 19.3%) and penalty kill (ranked 5th with 85.1% when short-handed).
For the Rangers, Talbot may get the start. With news of Henrik Lundqvist returning from injury, the Goalbuster may find himself back on the bench, by the end of the regular season. However, we could see him in a few more games as Lundqvist still gets adjusted to game-action and as the playoffs approach. Unfortunately, Talbot was the losing goalie last game. However, he made incredible saves to keep the team in the game. The Rangers weren’t able to give him support, in the way of goals. Despite this, he has been nothing short of brilliant.
If not Talbot, look for the youngster Mackenzie Skapski to get the call. Along with Talbot, the 20-year old has been the talk of Rangers fans, everywhere. He last played against the Buffalo Sabres, winning 2-0, stopping all 20 shots for his first NHL career shutout.
For the Hurricanes, their goal-tending situation has been split. Cam ward may start in goal tonight. For the season, he is 18-21-5, allowing 2.44 goals per game, and one shutout in 44 games played. He has been under the weather this week. He had a case of the flu, which carried over through Friday. Ward last played on March 14th against the Florida Panthers
If he is unable to go, Anton Khudobin to be in net. He has started the past three games, going 1-1-1. In 29 games played, he is 8-14-4 with a 2.68 goals against average. In two games against the Rangers this season, he is 0-1-1.