The Carolina Hurricanes, (10-23-7) start the new year off Saturday afternoon against a familiar foe, the New York Rangers, (19-17-4). This game will be the second of a home and home match up which started on New Year's Eve in Raleigh. The Canes lost that one, 2-1 as they were out-shot by a 35-18 margin.
The team also lost a previous contest against the Rangers on December 21 by a score of 3-1.
The Hurricanes will bring their league worst road record, (2-13-4) with them to Madison Square Garden and will try to change their previous ill fortune while wearing their road sweaters, although they did win their last road game at Washington by a 6-3 score in one of their best efforts of the season.
A couple of familiar faces will join the team in New York as Zach Boychuk and Jiri Tlusty were recalled on Friday to replace the injured Scott Walker and Sergei Samsonov.
This will be the second time each of these players have been recalled. Tlusty scored on his very first shift for the Canes when he tipped in a perfect pass from Brandon Sutter against Washington early in December. Will Paul Maurice put these two together again?
Some fans would love to see what a line of Sutter, Boychuk, and Tlusty could do.
The Czech native, who the Hurricanes obtained in a trade with Toronto for first round draft pick, Philippe Paradis, has only played four games for Albany because of immigration issues. He has yet to score for them.
Zach Boychuk has been on fire lately and has scored five goals and has four assists in his last 10 games. Overall, he has 11 goals and 13 assists in 34 games for Albany this season. He earned one assist his last stay with the Canes which lasted just two games.
It will be interesting to see what Maurice does with the lines for this game. Eric Staal, Matt Cullen, and Jussi Jokinen had worked together like a scoring machine against the Flyers and the Caps, but were quiet against the Rangers on Thursday night. The coach eventually split them up and put Ray Whitney with Staal and Cullen and moved Jokinen with Tuomo Ruutu and Sutter.
Look for Cam Ward to be in net again, (unofficial) as he will probably face adversary Henrik Lundqvist.
The defense will remain the same as before, Pitkanen, Ward, Gleason, Wallin, Carson, and Alberts.
Game time is at 1 p.m. and FS Carolinas and 99.9 The Fan will have all the action.
For more information about the Rangers, check out the Blueshirt Banter.