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Brassard likely back as Rangers face Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg

RANGERS (15-10-4) at HURRICANES (9-19-3)


RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes will try to end a visiting team's winning streak for the second straight game when they host the New York Rangers on Saturday.

The Hurricanes beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 Thursday night, snapping Toronto's six-game winning streak. Now the Hurricanes have the opportunity to hand the Rangers a loss after four straight wins.

Carolina has been mired in a tough stretch, losing 10 of 13. The three wins, however, have come against the Maple Leafs, Nashville Predators, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

“It's more about how we play each night than it is about who we play against,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “When we've won those games, we haven't beaten ourselves. On Thursday, we played a very good game, we started on time, and we didn't make those mistakes that end up in the back of your net.”

The Rangers did not hold a morning skate, but Derick Brassard put in some on-ice work, another step in his recovery from the mumps. Brassard missed two games, but said he hopes to play against the Hurricanes. Lee Stempniak is being tested for the mumps, and did not travel with the team.

The Rangers and Hurricanes will meet again at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Martin St. Louis

Carl Hagelin - Kevin Hayes - J.T. Miller

Tanner Glass - Dominic Moore - Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Matt Hunwick - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: John Moore

Injured: Lee Stempniak (illness)


Nathan Gerbe - Eric Staal - Chris Terry

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Zach Boychuk - Riley Nash - Patrick Dwyer

Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Justin Shugg

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk

Ron Hainsey - Michal Jordan

Tim Gleason - Brett Bellemore

Cam Ward

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: John-Michael Liles

Injured: Jordan Staal (leg), Alexander Semin (lower body), Andrej Nestrasil (upper body), Jiri Tlusty (upper body)

Status report: For the second game in a row, Eric Staal did not take the morning skate, but he will play against the Rangers. "We will just limit the time he skates other than game time, and hope the few days at Christmas gets him over the hump and he can resume practice and pregame," Peters said. ... The Carolina coach said Jordan Staal, Semin and Tlusty are "real close" to being healthy, but hedged a little, saying they would be back in the lineup "within the next couple weeks."

Who's hot: Rick Nash has eight goals and six assists over a career-high 11-game point streak. ... Lundqvist has won four straight in the Rangers' net. ... Since Nov. 1, Ward has a 2.13 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. ... Faulk has three goals and one assist in his past five games.

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