Rangers-Hurricanes Preview

After failing to secure a playoff berth in their last

opportunity, the New York Rangers don’t want to waste another

chance against one of the league’s worst teams – and one they’ve

dominated recently.

New York will try again to clinch a third straight postseason

appearance Thursday night in Raleigh by claiming its eighth

consecutive victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Rangers (24-18-4) are focused on taking care of business

with a win, though they can also wrap up an Eastern Conference

playoff spot if ninth-place Winnipeg loses in regulation to

Montreal on Thursday. Additionally, New York would qualify for the

postseason if both teams earn a point.

“We don’t want to back in,” said center Brad Richards, who has

four goals and four assists over the last four games. “We’ll get

back to work and still control our fate if we win. That’s all we

can ask for.”

Following a Jets’ regulation loss Tuesday, New York missed a

prime opportunity to punch its playoff ticket as league-worst

Florida rallied for two third-period goals in a 3-2 victory that

snapped the Rangers’ three-game winning streak.

Carolina (19-24-3) isn’t far ahead of the Panthers, tied for the

league’s fourth-fewest points, and has lost seven in a row to New

York while getting held to 13 goals. Henrik Lundqvist won four of

those games, posting a 1.44 goals-against average and keeping the

Hurricanes without a goal in two shootouts.

Lundqvist was in net for both meetings this season, including 48

saves a 4-1 victory April 6 in the last matchup as the Rangers won

in Raleigh for the sixth time in seven tries.

Ryan Callahan will try to extend a seven-game point streak in

this series that’s included six goals and three assists. He’s also

recorded three goals and four assists over a five-game point streak


Carolina is on a small run of its own, having recorded

back-to-back wins for the first time since March 9-12.

Alexander Semin scored for the third time in four games as the

Hurricanes claimed a 4-3 shootout victory over the New York

Islanders on Tuesday.

While Semin has six points during a four-game streak, Jiri

Tlusty has a six-game run during which he has four goals and four


“We’re starting to find our identity, and that’s important going

into next year,” said Dan Ellis, who had 36 saves Tuesday for his

second straight win after losing seven in a row.

Although he’s 3-1-1 with a 2.07 GAA in his last five games

against the Rangers, Ellis lost both starts this season and was

pulled in the last meeting after allowing three goals over the

first two periods.

Derek Stepan scored against Ellis in both matchups and has six

goals with nine assists in 12 games this month, tying Rick Nash for

the team lead with 40 points.

Eric Staal tops the Hurricanes with 50, and he’s expected to

team up with two brothers for the first time Thursday. Jordan Staal

is in his first season with Carolina, and the team called up

22-year-old Jared Staal from Charlotte of the AHL on Wednesday.

Jared, the youngest of the three, has never appeared in the NHL.

The Staals will become the 10th trio of brothers in North America’s

four major professional sports leagues – and the fourth in the NHL

– to play for the same team in the same season.

“The more, the merrier,” Eric, the team captain, said after

practice Wednesday.

Another Staal brother, Marc, plays for the Rangers but hasn’t

taken the ice since getting injured March 5.