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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Sunday, March 11th (All times eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (34-28-7) at New York Rangers (33-27-8), 12:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A key matchup in the Eastern Conference race is on tap this afternoon in the Big Apple, as the defending Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes visit the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Carolina and Toronto are currently tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with 75 points apiece, but the Rangers and Montreal Canadiens are just one point back in a deadlock for 10th place.

The Rangers lost a critical point Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, as they blew a 2-0 third-period and wound up losing, 3-2, in overtime. Colby Armstrong scored the winning goal at 1:19 of OT to lift the Penguins to the comeback victory at Mellon Arena.

Karel Rachunek and Matt Cullen scored for the Rangers, who had a three-game winning streak stopped. However, New York did pick up at least a point for the sixth straight game (4-0-2).

Henrik Lundqvist made 20 saves in defeat, but had no chance on the overtime winner, which deflected off a Ranger defenseman's stick before heading into the net.

The Rangers, who are just 15-14-5 as the host this year, are opening a brief two-game homestand today. They will also welcome Ottawa to Manhattan on Tuesday.

As for the Hurricanes, they are coming off Friday's shutout win in Washington. Cam Ward made 25 shots for his fourth shutout of the season and Carolina cruised to the 3-0 triumph over the Capitals.

Andrew Ladd and Justin Williams each had a goal for the Hurricanes, who had lost three of four coming into the game.

The Hurricanes are wrapping up a three-game homestand today and are 17-15-3 as the host this season.

The Rangers have taken two of the three meetings with Carolina this year, but the Hurricanes have won six of the last nine encounters overall.

03/11 10:21:54 ET

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