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Injury-plagued Rangers head to Carolina

by Brian Compton /
RANGERS (27-18-3) at HURRICANES (22-18-6)

TV: MSG, Fox Sports-Carolina.

Last 10: New York 5-4-1; Carolina 5-3-2.

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. The Hurricanes are 1-0-1 against the Rangers this season -- they earned a 4-3 win on Oct. 29 before suffering a 2-1 overtime loss on Jan. 5. Both games took place at Madison Square Garden.

Big Story: New York suffered a huge blow on Wednesday, when it learned that leading scorer Brandon Dubinsky will miss the next 3-4 weeks with a stress fracture in his left leg. The team is already without other key players such as Ryan Callahan and Vinny Prospal.

"He's in every situation," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. He's maturing, becoming a leader. That's just stuff on the ice. You can see him maturing off the ice. He's a big player for us. He's a very important guy in all situations, offensively and defensively. Because of our struggles in our faceoffs, we've been using him more there.

"It's a big hole."

Team Scope:

Rangers: While the Blueshirts will surely miss Dubinsky in the near future, they certainly didn't on Wednesday night. Marian Gaborik picked up the slack in a big way as he scored four goals and added an assist as the Rangers pummeled the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 7-0 rout at MSG.

"I think it is important that we don't see this as an excuse for not winning or getting points," said goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped all 22 shots he faced for his seventh shutout of the season. "Yeah, we have guys out, but at the same time it is an opportunity for other guys to step up. We responded when we needed to and now we need to keep it going. It is a big week for us."

Hurricanes: After getting trounced 7-0 in Boston on Monday, the 'Canes took a season-high 45 shots and had 28 more blocked -- yet still found themselves on the losing end in a 3-2 loss to the Bruins at the RBC Center on Tuesday night.

Afterwards, though, Carolina coach Paul Maurice praised his club.

"I don't think there's anything left in that room," he said. "I thought they played as hard as they possibly could."

Who's Hot: Rangers forward Brian Boyle scored again on Wednesday. After scoring four times in 71 games last season, Boyle has 16 tallies in the first 48 games of 2010-11. … Carolina forward Jussi Jokinen has 11 points in his last seven games.

Injury Report: Besides Dubinsky, the Rangers are also without Callahan (broken hand), Prospal (knee), Ruslan Fedotenko (shoulder) and Derek Boogaard (concussion). … Hurricanes forward Jiri Tlusty is questionable with an upper-body injury.

Stat Pack: Gaborik's three hat tricks are the most for the Rangers since Jaromir Jagr had three during  the 2005-06 season. … Eric Staal had only one of Carolina's 45 shots against the Bruins on Tuesday.

Puck Drop: "You know what? It's kind of what happens. Fortunately for us, guys are playing huge. Guys are stepping up playing great. All these guys keep rolling. We're just trying to keep the momentum, keep rolling." -- Rangers forward Brian Boyle
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