W2W4: Rangers Host 'Canes Looking For 3rd Straight Win

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Players To Watch

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Rangers-Marc Staal: The last time the Rangers faced the Hurricanes---the next-to-last-game of the 2013 sason down in Carolina---Marc Staal watched his three other brothers (Eric, Jordan, Jared) play for the 'Canes while he was forced to sit out with an eye injury. It would have marked the first time that all four Staal brothers had appeared in the same NHL game, and was an adimittedly frustrating night for Marc. Healthy again, Staal will face two of his brothers on Saturday---Jared is back in the minors---two days after having appeared in his 400th career game. After a very strong training camp and pre-season, and scoring a goal in the season opener in Phoenix, Staal has struggled with his overall game and enters play through 12 games with a minus-11 plus/minus rating and two points (1-1-2). Like the rest of the team, Staal has played better of late, though he has had the misfortune of some bad bounces go against him on the ice, too, recently adding to that plus/minus mark. The good news is that his eyesight is not an issue, and that everyone feels he will pull his game together and return to top form, giving the Rangers a solid second defense pair with steady partner Anton Stralman.

 

Hurricanes-Jordan Staal: Marc's younger brother, in his second season with Carolina, is off to a very slow start this year, though has gotten better results of late. Jordan had just one point---an assist---through eight games, and didn't score his first goal until last Saturday against the Islanders. He has just that lone goal and three points coming into play against the Rangers after notching ten goals and 31 points in 48 games last season. A Stanley Cup winner with the Penguins earlier in his career, Staal brings a lot more to the table then just scoring, but Carolina does need him to produce offensively, too, especially with injuries mounting up front. A three-time 20-goal scorer, Staal is most definitely expected to reach that total in Carolina again this year, while also providing solid defense, penalty killing, and leadership.