Coming off of a big 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Sunday, that other team that also hails from the Big Apple is making their first appearance in Raleigh this season. Coming in at 10-9-2, the New York Rangers are tied with the Hurricanes with 22 points in the standings with the Canes having two games in hand.
Tonight obviously is a big matchup as the two teams jockey for positioning in the playoff race as we approach Thanksgiving.
Head coach Bill Peters is not one too keen on changing up a lineup after a victory, but Haydn Fleury will draw back into tonight’s lineup on defense. Forward Victor Rask, however, will remain a healthy scratch as he was on Sunday.
Here’s the group we expect the Hurricanes to throw out there tonight:
Teuvo Teravainen - Jordan Staal - Sebastian Aho
Brock McGinn - Derek Ryan - Justin Williams
Jeff Skinner - Elias Lindholm - Phil di Giuseppe
Joakim Nordstrom - Marcus Kruger - Josh Jooris
Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury - Justin Faulk
Noah Hanifin - Trevor van Riemsdyk
After a slow start to the season, the Rangers have caught fire of late to salvage what looked like it could quickly turn into a lost season at one point.
Just as the TSA line has been a dominant force for Carolina, so too has the top line for New York led by Mika Zibanejad (20 points) and rising star Pavel Buchnevich (16 points). I would expect Slavin and Pesce to draw that line in a matchup that should be key to deciding this game.
The Rangers will be without captain and number one defenseman Ryan McDonagh tonight, as he deals with an abdominal strain. Given that, look for the Hurricanes to try to exploit a Rangers defense that was already weak even with their captain.
Here’s what to expect from the Blueshirts:
Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich
Rick Nash - Kevin Hayes - Jesper Fast
Michael Grabner - J.T. Miller - Mats Zuccarello
Jimmy Vesey - Boo Nieves - David Desharnais
Brady Skjei - Kevin Shattenkirk
Brendan Smith - Nick Holden
Marc Staal - Steven Kampfer