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Rangers Battle Hurricanes in Metro Division Matchup

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

Rangers (10-9-2, 22 pts) at Hurricanes (9-6-4, 22 pts)
7 pm, PNC Arena
MSG 2, ESPN 1050 AM

The Game

The Rangers and Hurricanes do battle for the first of four times this season when the two squads clash in Raleigh on the night before Thanksgiving.

New York is coming off a 3-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators Sunday night. Henrik Lundqvist led the way with 27 saves, while Kevin Hayes, Michael Grabner and Mika Zibanejad scored to help the Blueshirts snap a two-game winless streak.

The Rangers head south without their captain, and Ryan McDonagh did not travel with his teammates to Raleigh because of an abdominal strain that prevented him from practice on Tuesday. Coach Alain Vigneault did not put a timetable on his return.

With McDonagh out, Steven Kampfer will rejoin the lineup and be slotted on a pair with Marc Staal. Brendan Smith, meanwhile, took McDonagh's spot alongside Nick Holden. 

Vigneault said there would be no changes to his forwards and Lundqvist will make his 10th consecutive start.

New York has had its way with the Hurricanes over the last handful of years, with 21 wins in the last 25 games against Carolina dating back to Feb. 22, 2011. That's not to say the games haven't been close, as nine of the last 13 meetings between these two teams have been decided by one goal.

Carolina enters tonight's game playing the best hockey of its season with points in eight of its last 10 games, including a 4-2 win Sunday against the Islanders in Raleigh.

Teuvo Teravainen leads the team with 19 points in 19 games, followed by youngster Sebastian Aho's 17. Jordan Staal is off to his best start in years with 15 points through 19 games, and veteran free agent signee Justin Williams has 14.

Scott Darling, who Carolina acquired from Chicago in the offseason, is 6-4-4 with a 2.46 GAA and a .909 SV % in 14 games as the team's No. 1 starter. Backup Cam Ward has three wins in five games.

Players to Watch

Lundqvist stopped everything he saw Sunday night in the team's win over Ottawa, and he's facing the team he's had the most success against during his NHL career. No. 30 has 25 wins in 37 games against Carolina since his debut in 2005, including 16 victories in his last 19 appearances against the Hurricanes. Lundqvist has a 1.81 GAA and a .939 SV% with a shutout during that span.

Teravainen has been the hottest Hurricane over the last handful of games, with points in four straight (five goals, 5 assists), three of which were multi-point performances. Teravainen posted two goals and added an assist against the Islanders, and had a hat trick last week against the Stars. His eight goals this season trail only Jeff Skinner for the team lead.

Say What?

"They obviously have a few guys that are really going right now. That Teravainen is on a pretty good hot streak right now. Limit their start and their chances and really take away their time and space and we should be set up for a good game." - Brady Skjei on facing Carolina

Rangers Projected Lineup

Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich
Rick Nash - Kevin Hayes - Jesper Fast
Michael Grabner - J.T. Miller - Mats Zuccarello
Jimmy Vesey - Boo Nieves - Paul Carey

Brady Skjei - Kevin Shattenkirk
Brendan Smith - Nick Holden
Marc Staal - Steven Kampfer

Henrik Lundqvist

Inside the Numbers

Zuccarello has registered a point in 14 of his last 17 games against the Hurricanes, dating back to Nov. 2, 2013 (four goals, 14 assists over the span). He has tallied more career assists and career points against Carolina than against any other NHL opponent.

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