New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes, 7:00 PM at RBC Center
Where To Watch: MSG Network
Where To Listen: 1050 ESPN Radio
Live In-Game Chat: 6:45 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
The team with the best record in the Eastern Conference pays a visit to a team with one of the worst records in the East when the Rangers (40-15-6, 86 pts) skate against the Carolina Hurricanes (24-26-13, 61 pts) Thursday night in Raleigh. Coming off a fierce 2-0 victory over bitter division rival New Jersey on Monday, the Rangers will have to make sure that they avoid any let down in intensity this evening against a Carolina team that is tied with the Islanders for 13th place in the East, though only eight points out of the final playoff seed in the conference. Thursday's game will mark the first time Marc Staal has played at the RBC Center since he suffered a concussion on a hit delivered by his brother Eric last February 22nd, Staal, who finally returned to the Rangers lineup in the January 2nd Winter Classic, has played in 24 consecutive games and has notched two goals and four points, playing a much more consistent game of late. While Staal will definitely be in the Blueshirts lineup Wednesday, team captain Ryan Callahan may not be. Callahan is suffering from a badly bruised foot and his status for the game against the Hurricanes is still questionable. Carolina comes in having earned points in four straight games with a 2-0-2 record, and they have posted a 6-1-4 mark in the previous 11 games.
This is the third of four meetings between the Rangers and Hurricanes this season, and second at the RBC Center. The Rangers have won both of their games against Carolina, ttoaling 10 goals in the two victories. On November 11th at The Garden, the Rangers erupted for four third-period goals en-route to a 5-1 win, with Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, and Brandon Dubinsky all chipping in with a goal and an assist. Then on December 1st in Carolina, the Blueshirts skated to a 5-3 victory as Marian Gaborik notched a goal and an assist. Dating back to last season the Rangers have won four of their last five meeting s with the Hurricanes.
"I think everybody here is excited. We have a really tight-knit group and the chemistry is there. Our leadership is unbelievable, we get up for every game, and the effort has been there a ton this year. We know we have skill up front to compete with a lot of teams, our penalty killing is part of our foundation of success, and defensively we've been strong, especially with Hank back there in net. Hopefully we keep building our success."-Ryan McDonagh
By The Numbers
The Rangers are an impressive 12-2-1 against teams from the Southeast Division so far this season, while the Hurricanes are just 3-11-3 vs. the Atlantic Division.
Marian Gaborik has 16 points (8-8-16) in 16 career games vs. Carolina, while Brad Richards has 42 points (12-30-42) in 48 games against the Hurricanes.
So will the Rangers snag another road victory Thursday? Share your prediction below.