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Rangers look to continue success vs. Hurricanes

by Jon Lane

RANGERS (35-26-4) vs. HURRICANES (27-28-9)


Last 10: New York 6-3-1; Carolina 2-8-0

Season series: The New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes play the third of four games in a series the Rangers have dominated. New York has defeated Carolina 10 straight times and twice this season, including this past Friday when the Rangers rallied with four third-period goals to win 4-2 at PNC Arena.

Big story: Two days after earning career win No. 300, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist can achieve another milestone against the Hurricanes. A win would tie Mike Richter for the team record in victories in a Rangers uniform, and a shutout will move Lundqvist past Ed Giacomin for the franchise mark. Lundqvist's 3-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday was his 49th shutout and according to the Elias Sports Bureau he reached 300 wins at the fifth-fastest pace in history.

The Rangers are second in the Metropolitan Division and begin a three-game road trip looking to further solidify their Stanley Cup Playoff standing. Sitting in 13th place in the Eastern Conference with 63 points, the Hurricanes' postseason prospects are dim.

Team Scope:

Rangers: Late last week, coach Alain Vigneault asked for his Olympians to snap the Rangers out of 1-2-1 post-break slide. In addition to Lundqvist, center Derek Stepan and defenseman Ryan McDonagh responded Sunday with two assists each.

"I think as a group we are getting better and better, and as the season goes on we're going to have to be even better because the games are not going to get any easier with teams fighting to get into the playoffs," Stepan said.

Hurricanes: Carolina plays three of its next four games at PNC Arena hoping home cooking snaps it out of its current funk. The Hurricanes are on a 1-7-0 skid following a 5-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils this past Saturday. Despite rallying from a 4-1 deficit to tie the game, the Hurricanes couldn't pull it out.

"Everyone stayed positive," defenseman Ryan Murphy said. "We're getting to the point in the year where these points are very critical and we can't be giving up points like that, so everyone was staying positive in the dressing room and we did a good job of getting back into the game but unfortunately came up short."

Who's hot: Rangers forward Chris Kreider scored twice Sunday and has three goals and four points in his past five games. Stepan is riding a six-game point streak (one goal, eight assists). McDonagh is on a four-game point streak (three goals, two assists). Lundqvist has held opponents to two goals or less in 12 of his past 17 games (12-4-1, 2.00 goals-against average, .933 save percentage, two shutouts). … Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin has a four-game scoring streak (two goals, three assists). Forward Jeff Skinner has scored in consecutive games after being held pointless in his previous six.

Injury report: The Rangers have no reported injuries … Hurricanes center Eric Staal (illness) missed practice Monday but is expected to play. Defensemen Justin Faulk (upper body) and John-Michael Liles (upper body) are out.


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