Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers
March 11, 2014 - 7:00 pm ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
TV - Fox Sports Carolinas
Radio - 99.9 The Fan
SB Nation Rival Blog: Blueshirt Banter
Hurricanes Record: 27-28-9 | 63 pts | 7th Metro | 13th EC
Rangers Record: 35-26-4 | 74 pts | 3rd Metro | 7th EC
Games Remaining: 18
Minimum Points Needed: 92
Points Back: 29 (1.61 points/game)
Playoff Chances (Sports Club Stats): 1.7%
The Hurricanes and Rangers met just four nights ago here in Raleigh, and it was not a good night for the players wearing the sightless eye, taking a 1-0 lead into the third period only to have the Rangers score four goals for the 4-2 win. The Canes haven't defeated the Rangers since January 2011, going winless now in 10 straight head-to-head match-ups.
Since that night, the Hurricanes traveled to Newark where they suffered a 5-4 defeat to the Devils, while the Rangers shut out the Red Wings at home on Sunday, 3-0.
The Rangers are 6-3-1 in their last ten games, the Canes 2-8-0.
Henrik Lundqvist achieved a milestone on Sunday night with his 300th NHL win, two wins and one shutout away from being the top net minder in Rangers history in those two categories. Lundqvist will likely be in net again tonight although that has not been confirmed.
On a roll for the Devils are Chris Kreider, with 2 goals against Detroit on Sunday; Ryan McDonagh, with five points in his last four games, and Derek Stepan, with eight points in his last five games including the game-winner against the Canes on Friday.
Marc Staal was in the news yesterday as Larry Brooks speculated that the Rangers might want to start taking a look at a contract extension, stating the defenseman might have his sights on joining his siblings once he reaches free agency [NY Post]. (editorial note, I guess Brooksie thinks there may be some interest from the Candy Canes).
The Hurricanes practiced yesterday at PNC Arena but there were no post-practice media reports, just spotty information gleaned from twitter feeds. Eric Staal was not at practice yesterday, the only information available was illness and his availability for tonight's game would be determined today. Andrei Loktionov skated in Staal's spot with Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm, Jordan Staal's line remained intact (Alexander Semin and Jiri Tlusty), Riley Nash lined up with Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Dwyer, and Manny Malhotra with Drayson Bowman and Radek Dvorak.
Justin Faulk remains out of the lineup as does John-Michael Liles (both upper body). Andrej Sekera left yesterday's practice early but there was no update as to why. After practice the Canes recalled defenseman Michal Jordan from the Charlotte Checkers on an emergency basis [ch.com news release]. Jordan, who played in five games for the Canes last season, will be available tonight. There were no other updates on defense. Anton Khudobin and Cam Ward split time in net at practice but there were no indications as to who will start tonight.
The Hurricanes will not hold a morning skate or have media availability prior to tonight's game.
Chip Alexander wrote a nice feature on the twists and turns of Elias Lindholm's rookie season [N&O].
The NHL general managers met in Florida yesterday to discuss rule changes around overtime, shootouts, and video review, and Michael Smith caught up with a few Canes players to discuss their opinions [ch.com].
Tonight begins a military appreciation drive at PNC Arena. Between now and March 16th, fans can donate washcloths and razors to the USO of North Carolina and enter a drawing for a chance to win some prizes from the team [details on Promotions page].
We'll have the game thread ready to roll by 6:30 pm. See you at the rink.