NEW YORK RANGERS
JANUARY 24, 7:00 p.m.
TV - HTS / FOX SPORTS NET
RADIO - HURRICANES RADIO NETWORK
The Carolina Hurricanes’ nine-game unbeaten streak (12/31-1/18: 7-0-2-0) ended on Saturday with a 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Carolina fell again on Monday night 5-2 to the New York Rangers in the first game of a home-and-home series. The losses were the first time Carolina has dropped two straight games since Dec. 16 at Boston and Dec. 19 at the New York Islanders.
During the unbeaten streak, the Hurricanes won three straight games for the first time this season, extended their home unbeaten streak to a franchise-record nine games (12/15 – 1/18: 8-0-1-0) and got above .500 for the first time since Oct. 18. Carolina also pulled within one point of the Washington Capitals for first place in the Southeast Division.
The Hurricanes have lost two or more games in a row four times this season, the toughest spells coming Oct. 21 – Oct. 29 (0-4-1-0) and Dec. 16 – Dec. 26 (0-3-0-1).
Dropping two straight games after going unbeaten in nine might seem tougher to stomach than intermingling wins and losses more consistently. The Hurricanes do not agree.
“It’s a good thing to get us back on the ground,” said Carolina forward Bates Battaglia. “You never want to get too high. You always want to stay at a happy medium. Two in a row I think we could do without, but the one could be a good thing. Hopefully we can just bounce back from it.”
Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice might have summed up the situation best.
“It’s life in the National Hockey League,” said Maurice. “Everybody is on one kind of streak or another after every game.”
Playing Game 2 of the home-and-home series with the Rangers on Wednesday gives the Hurricanes an immediate chance to regain the two points lost Monday.
“It will be good for us because we’re going to be pumped up for the game,” said Carolina rookie center Josef Vasicek. “We have lots of guys from up in New York that played there last year. We’re going to try to do our best and we’re going to be ready for the game.”
Battaglia echoed Vasicek’s sentiments.
“You get a little rivalry going when you’ve got two games in a row like that,” said Battaglia. “It was the same thing with Florida (1/9 vs. FLA: W, 7-3 and 1/12 at FLA: T, 2-2). It gets you going. You know who you’re up against and there are no secrets. It should be a good game.”
The Hurricanes and Rangers will face off Wednesday night at New York’s Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on HTS / FOX SPORTS NET and the Hurricanes Radio Network. This is the third of four games between the teams this season. The Hurricanes won the first matchup, 4-3 on Dec. 27 in Raleigh.