The combination of newcomer Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik
didn’t produce like New York Rangers coach John Tortorella had
hoped, but now the team is getting plenty of contributions from its
The Rangers look to win six straight for the first time in two
years Friday night when they host a slumping Carolina Hurricanes
team trying to get its offense in gear.
Signed to a nine-year, $60 million deal in the offseason,
Richards was largely ineffective through the first eight games,
with one goal and four assists.
Gaborik scored four times during that stretch as he played on
the first line with Richards, and the result was a 3-3-2 start for
Since splitting the two forwards, New York (8-3-3) has scored 21
goals while going 5-0-1.
The top line of Gaborik, Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov has
eight goals and 14 assists during the winning streak after
combining for seven points in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory at
“I think we feel pretty good out there,” said Gaborik, who has
four goals and three assists during a four-game point streak. “Arty
and Step are playing with a lot of confidence. We scored a couple
of goals off great forechecks by those guys. Hopefully we can keep
The Rangers, who last won six straight during a 7-0-0 run from
Oct. 3-17, 2009, also will try to extend their winning streak at
Madison Square Garden to five. They haven’t done that since a 5-0-0
surge from Oct. 29-Nov. 8, 2007.
The Hurricanes (5-7-3) have dropped four straight away from
home, and now they’ll look to avoid their worst road losing streak
since a franchise-record 13-game skid to open the 2009-10
They’ve lost three in a row and seven of nine overall following
Wednesday’s 3-2 road loss to New Jersey.
Despite getting a goal which came off the stick of a Devils
player, Carolina scored two or fewer for the fourth time in five
“It’s tough to take,” said center Brandon Sutter, who gave the
Hurricanes a 1-0 lead with his second short-handed goal of the
season. “We’ve had a tough go the last few games.”
Carolina, though, could benefit from forward Jussi Jokinen
(three goals, nine points) returning after missing three games with
a lower-body injury.
Improved play by captain Eric Staal also could help. Staal, the
club’s leading goal scorer in four of the last six seasons, is
pointless in the last six games and without a goal in nine
Staal has three goals and an assist in the last three matchups
at MSG and scored in the most recent one, but the Hurricanes lost
2-1 in overtime Jan. 5.
Returning to New York also has forced Staal to answer questions
about his brother Marc, a Rangers defenseman who has not played
this season due to post-concussion symptoms from a check delivered
by Eric in a matchup at Raleigh on Feb. 22.
Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 31 shots in the Jan. 5 meeting as
New York snapped a three-game home losing streak to Carolina, has a
1.95 goals-against average while winning his three November
Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward has a 5.02 GAA during his
personal three-game skid.
Ward, though, is 4-0-2 with a 1.77 GAA in his last six starts
versus New York.