Struggles on special teams have the New York Rangers in search of answers, and they're finding very few on the road.
Daniel Paille's possible debut combined with a meeting with the Carolina Hurricanes could solve those problems.
The Rangers attempt to invigorate their special teams as they look to continue their dominance of the Hurricanes on Friday night.
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New York (25-16-5) has lost 11 of its last 13 games on the road, allowing opponents to go 16 for 43 on the power play while converting just 5 of 42 of its own chances.
The woes are evident regardless of venue – the Rangers are just 1 for 27 on the man advantage while splitting the last 10 games, but 10 of the 29 goals surrendered over that stretch have come during 28 power-play opportunities.
Signing Paille on Thursday addressed the poor penalty-killing unit. The forward helped Boston to a Stanley Cup in 2011 and a return to the Final two years later.
He was released in training camp by Chicago and played 31 games for Rockford of the AHL.
“Now, we've got a guy that's got established presence and knowledge of penalty killing,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “If anybody has followed us lately, our penalty killing – especially on the road – needs some help. Hopefully, he'll be able to come in and help us.”
The schedule may be providing the Rangers some relief, too. They've won 18 of the past 19 meetings with Carolina (21-19-8), including eight of nine at Raleigh.
New York scored twice on the power play in the opening period en route to a 4-3 win over the Hurricanes on Nov. 3, its eighth straight victory in the series.
The Rangers have killed off 28 of 29 penalties over the last 10 meetings.
They enter this matchup after J.T. Miller scored with 1:06 left in overtime of Tuesday's 3-2 win over Vancouver.
“I think the consistency is coming back a bit,” forward Rick Nash said. “This is going to be a huge test for us these last three games (before the All-Star break), but I thought our last game was a good start to get that momentum going in the right direction.”
Nash has four assists in the last three games, but he's failed to score in eight straight – his longest drought since March. He hasn't gone longer than that without a goal since an 11-game stretch with Columbus from Feb. 25-March 17, 2011.
Nash has no points in his last three visits to Carolina.
The Hurricanes are 5-1-1 in seven games after Jordan Staal scored in OT of a 1-0 road victory at Toronto on Thursday. Eddie Lack made 32 saves for his first shutout of the season.
Lack likely will start on back-to-back days for the second time this season since Cam Ward has a concussion. Lack beat Anaheim and Arizona on the road in December in his last set on consecutive nights. He's got a 3.06 goals-against average while losing his only decision in two games against New York.
If the Hurricanes decide to rest Lack, they would likely turn to Daniel Altshuller for his NHL debut. Altshuller was 9-1-1 with a 1.71 GAA in 11 games for Charlotte of the AHL.
Jeff Skinner has no points and a minus-4 rating over the last three games. His next goal will match his total of 18 from all of last season, but he's failed to score during his past five games against the Rangers.