It’s safe to say that there have been few nice visits for the Carolina Hurricanes to Madison Square Garden over the years.
The Hurricanes start an important home-and-home in Manhattan tonight, with the Devils right on their heels (albeit with the Hurricanes holding two games in hand) and the Rangers not far behind. These three teams will be the top three in the Metro at the end of the season, and two of them will play each other in the first round. Understandably, the Hurricanes would rather win the division and not have to worry about being thrown into the 2-3 matchup.
They could go a long way toward that goal by taking as many points as they can from this two-game mini series.
The Hurricanes didn’t skate this morning, but they did practice yesterday and Rod’s Line Blender was in full action. He had tinkered with them toward the end of Saturday’s game, but did some more tweaking yesterday, and here’s how we think things will look tonight:
Seth Jarvis - Sebastian Aho - Martin Necas
Jordan Martinook - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Teuvo Teravainen
Stefan Noesen - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Jesse Puljujarvi - Jack Drury - Derek Stepan
Jaccob Slavin - Brent Burns
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere - Jalen Chatfield
Injuries and Scratches: Paul Stastny (healthy), Calvin de Haan (healthy), Dylan Coghlan (healthy), Antti Raanta (lower body), Max Pacioretty (LTIR Achilles), Ondrej Kase (LTIR concussion), Andrei Svechnikov (LTIR knee)
The Rangers are on a roll recently: a seven-game point streak, a four-game winning streak, and a cumulative score of Rangers 22, Opponents 5 over those four wins. They might be the hottest team in the league right now, and of course it’s just in time for the Hurricanes to come calling at MSG, because why wouldn’t it be?
When you’re on that kind of a roll, there’s no sense in changing much of anything, so how they skated this morning looks very similar to how they’ve rolled the past few games:
Artemi Panarin - Mika Zibanejad - Vladimir Tarasenko
Chris Kreider - Vincent Trocheck - Patrick Kane
Alexis Lafreniere - Filip Chytil - Kaapo Kakko
Jimmy Vesey - Barclay Goodrow - Tyler Motte
Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller - Jacob Trouba
Niko Mikkola - Braden Schneider
Injuries and Scratches: Ben Harpur (healthy)
Referees: Dan O’Rourke #9, Peter MacDougall #38
Linesmen: Libor Suchanek #60, Derek Nansen #70