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Pregame: Rangers vs. Carolina

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
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Today's Game
The Rangers prospects play their second of three Gretzky Division round-robin games at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., today, facing the Carolina Hurricanes prospects. Game time is 5:30 p.m. ET on the David's Rink. On Saturday afternoon, the Rangers opened the tournament with a 5-4 win over Columbus -- their fourth straight overall Traverse City victory dating back to last year. Right wing Evgeny Grachev scored the game-winning goal with 6.1 seconds left in regulation -- his second of the game -- and center Derek Stepan led the team with a goal and three assists. The Hurricanes prospects fell 2-1 to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday in their opener. Carolina is the defending Traverse City tournament champion, and the 'Canes beat the Rangers in the teams' opening game last year. Both teams will be led by AHL head coaches, with the Hartford Wolf Pack's Ken Gernander directing the Rangers prospects and Jeff Daniels, coach of the Charlotte Checkers, behind the bench for Carolina.

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Today's Opponent
Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner
The Hurricanes have brought 22 players to Traverse City, a group that includes 15 prospects whose NHL rights belong to the team. Ranked 21st overall in the 2010 Hockey News Future Watch edition for the strength of prospects in their organization, Carolina is the only team whose roster does not include any of Future Watch's Top 75 prospects. But the Future Watch list came out before the 'Canes selected high-scoring center Jeff Skinner at No. 7 overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and Skinner is likely to be on the 2011 list. A 50-goal scorer with Kitchener in the Ontario Hockey League last season and the youngest player on the current Carolina prospects roster, Skinner played on the fourth line with Matt Caria and Matt Kennedy for his team's opener on Saturday. He is one of four 2010 draftees on the Carolina roster. The Hurricanes' top line in the loss to Minnesota on Saturday included former St. Lawrence University star Mike McKenzie, experienced AHL player Cedric McNicoll, and fellow AHLer Matt Pistilli. McKenzie, the oldest player on the team at 24, scored his team's lone goal against the Wild, and goaltender Mike Murphy, a 2008 fourth-round pick who played 20 AHL games last season with Albany, stopped 21 of 23 Wild shots in the loss. Although Carolina won last year's tournament, only four members of the 2009 team, including Murphy, are back. The 'Canes do, however, have plenty of experience, as eight members of the roster have seen some action in the AHL.

Follow the Game Live
There are two ways to follow the game in progress. Complete in-game commentary with descriptions of plays, goals, etc., can be found here on The site offers a tournament scoreboard, standings, and individual box scores.

All-Time at Rangers vs. Hurricanes at Traverse City
Sept. 6, 2009: Carolina 5, Rangers 3

Rangers Prospects' Next Game
Sept. 14 Rangers vs. Minnesota, 3:30 p.m.
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