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Rangers host Hurricanes, hope to end skid at two

by Dan Rosen /

HURRICANES (17-25-6) at RANGERS (27-15-4)


NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers will try to avoid their first three-game losing streak since mid-November when they play the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers have lost each game since the NHL All-Star break; 4-1 to the New York Islanders and 1-0 to the Montreal Canadiens. They went into the break with wins in 16 of their previous 19 games.

New York last lost three in a row Nov. 13-17, but two of those losses came in a shootout. The last time the Rangers lost three in a row in regulation was Oct. 11-14, the second, third and fourth games of the season.

"You're going to have your highs and your lows throughout the season, there's no avoiding that," Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle said Friday according to MSG Network. "You want to minimize those lows, so we need to obviously turn this thing around quickly here and start putting some wins up back-to-back on the board here. We're at home. We need to solidify our home game here and be a little bit better on home ice."

Carolina, which lost 3-2 in a shootout to the St. Louis Blues on Friday, is looking to finish off its best month of the season with a strong showing. The Hurricanes are 7-2-2 in January. Carolina went 0-6-2 in October, 7-7-1 in November and 3-10-1 in December.

Cam Ward will start in goal for Carolina after making 29 saves in relief of Anton Khudobin against the Blues. Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said it was going to be Ward's start all along, even though Khudobin has a .969 save percentage and 0.98 goals-against average in two appearances against the Rangers this season.

Peters also said forwards Alexander Semin and Andrej Nestrasil and defenseman John-Michael Liles and will be in the lineup. All three have been healthy scratches the past four games. Chris Terry, Elias Lindholm and Brett Bellemore will not play.

Semin will start the game on the right side of Jordan and Eric Staal. Lindholm has played every game to date and has 20 points, but he has only six points in the past 16 games.

"[Semin has] been shooting the puck, shooting the puck hard," Peters said of what he has seen from Semin in practice. "He's been working harder to get open, moving his feet. So those are all good signs and hopefully it continues on into the game tonight and moving forward."

The Rangers have won 14 of their past 15 games against the Hurricanes, including the first three games this season, which were all decided by one goal, including two in a shootout.

Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal for the Rangers. Lundqvist made 25 saves in the loss to Montreal on Thursday. He is 11-2-0 with a 1.79 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in his past 13 appearances against Carolina.

Here are the projected lineups:


Eric Staal - Jordan Staal - Alexander Semin

Nathan Gerbe - Victor Rask - Jiri Tlusty

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Andrej Nestrasil

Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Patrick Dwyer

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk

Ron Hainsey - John-Michael Liles

Tim Gleason - Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Elias Lindholm, Chris Terry, Brett Bellemore

Injured: none


Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Martin St. Louis

Carl Hagelin - Dominic Moore - Jesper Fast

Tanner Glass - Kevin Hayes - J.T. Miller

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Kevin Klein

John Moore - Dan Boyle

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Lee Stempniak, Matt Hunwick

Injured: none

Status report: Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is putting Miller back in the lineup after making him a healthy scratch the past two games. Miller will replace Stempniak. Vigneault also said there could be subtle changes on his top two lines, but he wouldn't indicate what they are.

Who's hot: Jordan Staal has five assists in the past three games. He played a season-high 20:08 against the Blues on Friday. Faulk has goals in back-to-back games and five points in his past four games.


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