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At the Rink: Hurricanes at Rangers

by Dan Rosen

NEW YORK -- The Carolina Hurricanes will be short two more key players Thursday at Madison Square Garden. That makes six regulars out of the lineup for a team that is entering its fourth game.

Defensemen Andrej Sekera and John-Michael Liles will not play against the New York Rangers because of upper-body injuries. They join a list of walking wounded that already included Jordan Staal (leg), Eric Staal (upper body), Jeff Skinner (concussion) and Patrick Dwyer (groin).

Skinner and Sekera participated in Carolina's morning skate, but Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said they are day-to-day. The goal is for them to be able to play Tuesday at the Winnipeg Jets. The Staals, Liles and Dwyer did make the trip to New York.

Sekera, who has two assists and is averaging 18:05 in ice time in three games, sustained an upper-body injury in the first period of Carolina's 4-3 shootout loss against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

After retreating into the zone on a backcheck to try to stop a 2-on-1, Sekera tripped over goalie Cam Ward and crashed violently into the end boards. Sabres forward Marcus Foligno scored on the play.

X-rays were negative and Peters said Sekera wanted to practice Wednesday but was held out as a precaution. Sekera forced his way into the morning skate Thursday, but Peters isn't ready to play him yet.

"I'm glad he got up," Peters said. "I watched it live. I watched it once; I don't need to see it again. I'm glad he didn't break his neck. It was an ugly play. For him to be day-to-day is good."

Peters said goaltender Anton Khudobin will get the start against the Rangers. Khudobin and Ward have rotated starts through the first four games. Peters said he is hoping one of them emerges as the No. 1 goalie.

Khudobin allowed four goals on 31 shots in a 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Oct. 11. Ward is 0-1-1 with a 3.87 goals-against average and .846 save percentage in two starts.

"At some point we'll get to that, have a starter that emerges [but] we're not at that stage right now," Peters said.

For the Rangers, goalie Henrik Lundqvist will be in net despite allowing six goals in each of New York's past two games.

The Rangers have allowed 17 goals in their past three games after opening the season with a 3-2 win at the St. Louis Blues. Forward Carl Hagelin said the forwards and defensemen have not been on the same page and it has led to prime scoring chances for the opposition.

"It's probably a mix of forwards not coming back as hard as they should, so the [defense] is looking up and not seeing anyone, and it allows the other team to come in on the forecheck instead of backing off," Hagelin said. "It then feels like they have seven guys on the ice instead of five. If you make a mistake and you have a teammate close to you he might help you out, but right now if we make a mistake it's wide open for the other team. We're not really collapsing and we're getting beat off the wall so it creates a lot of room for them to get Grade-A scoring chances instead of just shots from the boards."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jiri Tlusty - Riley Nash - Alexander Semin

Nathan Gerbe - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Chris Terry - Jay McClement - Zach Boychuk

Brad Malone - Brody Sutter - Patrick Brown

Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk

Tim Gleason - Ryan Murphy

Ron Hainsey - Brett Bellemore

Anton Khudobin

Cam Ward

Scratched: none

Injured: Eric Staal (upper body), Patrick Dwyer (lower body), Jordan Staal (leg), John-Michael Liles (upper body), Andrej Sekera (upper body)


Anthony Duclair - Martin St. Louis - Rick Nash

Chris Kreider - Derick Brassard - Lee Stempniak

Carl Hagelin - Kevin Hayes - Mats Zuccarello

Tanner Glass - Dominic Moore - Ryan Malone

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Matt Hunwick

John Moore - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Michael Kostka, Jesper Fast, J.T. Miller

Injured: Derek Stepan (leg), Dan Boyle (hand)

Status report: Sutter will be making his NHL debut. He was recalled from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. His father is former NHL player Duane Sutter. … Bellemore is making his season debut after being a healthy scratch for the first three games. … Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Malone would remain as the net-front presence on the first power-play unit Thursday after playing 2:40 on the power play in his season debut Tuesday. The Rangers are 0-for-11 on the power play this season.

Who's hot: Nash leads the NHL with six goals. He is the first player in franchise history to score a goal in each of the first four games of the regular season.


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