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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, February 28th (All times eastern)

New York Rangers (32-24-8) at Carolina Hurricanes (33-28-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The streaking Carolina Hurricanes will continue their six- game homestand tonight, as the New York Rangers come calling at the RBC Center.

After dropping the first test of the residency, the Hurricanes have countered with wins over Atlanta, Washington, and most recently New Jersey. Sergei Samsonov scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner in overtime, as the Hurricanes edged the Devils, 2-1, on Tuesday.

In the extra session, Samsonov streaked down the right boards, corralled a bouncing puck and snapped a wrister from the right circle that Martin Brodeur turned aside. However, Samsonov drove hard to the net and buried the rebound past the stick of Brodeur at the 1:36 mark.

Cam Ward made 23 saves for the Hurricanes, who have won six of eight overall. Carolina has also earned points in eight consecutive home games (7-0-1).

Tuomo Ruutu, who was acquired from Chicago in exchange for forward Andrew Ladd at the trade deadline, registered an assist in his Hurricanes debut. Ruutu, though, was cut late in the third period and did not return.

In addition, Tim Gleason left the game in the first period with a head injury after getting checked face-first into the boards by New Jersey's Mike Rupp. Both Gleason and Ruutu are considered questionable for tonight.

The Hurricanes' winning run has them five points up on Washington for first place in the Southeast Division. Carolina is also 18-11-3 at home and will host Tampa Bay on Saturday.

New York has won four of its last five after defeating Florida, 5-0, on Sunday. Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves for his eighth shutout of the season,

Scott Gomez had a goal and two assists while Marek Malik and Martin Straka each had a goal and a helper for the Rangers. Jaromir Jagr and Nigel Dawes also scored.

New York is trying to charge up the Eastern Conference standings, as the club is tied with Boston for sixth with 72 points.

On the injury front, defenseman Paul Mara will be sidelined for the next two weeks after suffering a facial injury on Saturday against Buffalo.

The Rangers picked up a replacement on Tuesday, acquiring defender Christian Backman from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

New York also pulled off a trade deadline deal with Phoenix, sending forward Marcel Hossa and goaltender Al Montoya to the Coyotes for netminder David LeNeveu and forwards Fredrik Sjostrom and Josh Gratton.

The Rangers are 12-11-8 as the road team this year and have own five of their last seven on the road.

Carolina has won two of three against the Rangers this year, but New York has taken four of the last six meetings between the clubs. However, the Blueshirts have been defeated in six of seven and eight of their previous 11 stops in Raleigh.

02/28 10:36:47 ET


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