NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, January 5th
(All times eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (18-15-5) at New York Rangers (22-15-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers will try to avoid their first three-
game losing streak since the opening weeks of the season when they host the
Carolina Hurricanes tonight at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers posted a 5-1-1 record during their last seven games of December,
but the Blueshirts have began January with consecutive losses against Tampa
Bay and Florida. New York dropped an overtime decision in Tampa on Saturday
and was dealt a shutout loss the following night against the Panthers.
New York, which is ranked seventh in the Eastern Conference, has lost three in
a row just once this season and that slide came during an 0-2-1 stretch from
The Rangers were shut out for just the second time this season in their most
recent loss, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Panthers, who were anchored by 32
saves from Tomas Vokoun. The setback marked the end of a three-game road trip
for New York, which will try to bounce back tonight at MSG, where the Rangers
are just 9-8-2 this season.
Martin Biron stopped 33-of-35 shots in the loss for the Rangers, who have
dropped four of their last six (2-2-2).
"It was tough, we always have those kind of games here," said Biron. "It was
tough trying to get through the neutral zone and Vokoun played a great game
Biron made his first start since Dec. 16 and tonight he'll likely resume his
role as backup to Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist is 8-7-1 with a 2.42 goals-
against average in 16 career starts against Carolina.
New York could be without winger Ruslan Fedotenko tonight after he suffered a
bruised right hand in Sunday's game against the Panthers. He has seven goals
and 17 points this season and is questionable for tonight.
In other news, the Rangers also recently sent defenseman Michael Del Zotto to
the club's AHL affiliate in Connecticut and recalled another highly-touted
blueliner in Ryan McDonagh to replace him on the NHL roster.
Del Zotto made the jump from juniors to the NHL last season, posting 37 points
in 80 games a rookie, but the 20th overall pick of the 2008 draft has just
nine points in 35 games this year. McDonagh was picked with the 12th overall
pick the year before Del Zotto, but the former University of Wisconsin
standout has yet to play in an NHL game.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, had a three-game winning streak halted their last
time out, but the overtime loss to the Panthers still gives Carolina a point
in four straight games.
Carolina hosted the Panthers a day after they shut out the Rangers, and
Florida recorded a 4-3 win when Bryan Allen scored 1:16 into OT.
Zach Boychuk, Zac Dalpe and Jay Harrison each had a goal for the Hurricanes,
while Cam Ward was tagged with all four goals on 28 shots in the loss.
The Hurricanes should be happy with the point, however, as they trailed 3-1
early in the third period before Boychuk and Harrison scored to send the game
to an extra session.
"I liked the way we fought back at the end of the game," said Carolina head
coach Paul Maurice. "We've always had tight games with Florida so none of
these games come easy. We had the chances in the third to finish it, but it
didn't happen that way tonight."
Carolina played its third straight game without forward Jussi Jokinen (upper
body) and defenseman Joni Pitkanen (lower body). Both players are questionable
for tonight's tilt.
The Hurricanes, who are kicking off a two-game road trip tonight, have won
five of their last six as the visitor and they are 10-8-3 away from Raleigh
this season. Carolina will complete the swing Friday with a rematch against
Tonight marks the second of four meetings between the 'Canes and Rangers this
season. Carolina recorded a 4-3 regulation win at MSG on Oct. 29 and has taken
three straight and five out of seven overall in the series. The Hurricanes
have also won the last three times the teams have met in the Big Apple.
01/05 10:52:45 ET