RANGERS (18-17-4) AT HURRICANES (10-22-7)
Last 10 -- New York 4-3-3; Carolina 3-5-2
Season series -- This is the second of four meetings between the Rangers and Hurricanes this season. New York won 3-1 at RBCCenter back on Dec. 21 thanks to goals from Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky and Marc Staal. The teams play again at MadisonSquareGarden on Saturday afternoon.
Big story -- The Rangers cannot play any worse than they did in Wednesday's 6-0 home loss to the Flyers, a game in which they were dominated from beginning to end. In contrast, the Hurricanes are coming off perhaps their best win of the season, a 6-3 victory at Washington in which Eric Staal had five points and the 'Canes handled the division leaders for only their second road win of the season.
Rangers -- The Rangers were subdued after being humiliated at home by the Flyers in a game that featured about everything a team can do wrong.
"We were into a really nice rhythm before the break," said goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who was lifted after allowing three goals on 11 shots in the first period. The last two games, I think, our energy was OK -- but not tonight. In our zone, we have to be ready to battle. We just made it way too easy."
The best thing for the Rangers is that they'll have no time to dwell on the loss.
"That is the best thing for us right now, to get on a plane and play," coach John Tortorella said. "Some things, obviously, there has to be some discussion on certain situations but we have to start over. We have to start over. The best thing for us is to play right away."
Hurricanes -- Carolina had lost three consecutive games prior to Monday's win at Washington. Staal had 2 goals and 3 assists to help the 'Canes beat the Southeast Division's first-place team. Though the Hurricanes have spent most of the season at the bottom of the NHL standings, beating an elite team like the Caps on the road is always a reason to think positive.
"It feels good," Staal said. "We haven't had a lot of those (types of wins) this year. Hopefully we can follow this up and continue to play well."
Who's hot -- Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who will make his 14th consecutive start, hasn't allowed more than three goals in any game this month -- though the streak stayed intact largely because he was pulled after one period on Wednesday. … For Carolina, Staal has seven points in his last two games.
Injury report -- Rangers forward Vinny Prospal underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday and is expected to miss 10 days to three weeks for the Rangers. Joe Corvo, Erik Cole and Chad LaRose remain on injured reserve for the Hurricanes.
Stat pack -- Lundqvist has had his ups and downs at the RBCCenter, going 3-3-0 with a 2.66 GAA in his career. The Hurricanes are still at the bottom of the League defensively with an average of 3.56 goals against per game.
Puck drop -- "We weren't ready,. They got three quick goals and then nothing was working out for us. It is obviously unacceptable. The positive thing is that we play tomorrow. We need to redeem ourselves." -- Gaborik, discussing Wednesday's game
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