Following a hot start, the New York Rangers have appeared to have hit a holiday snag, having gone winless in four of their past six games. They’ll have a prime opportunity to stop their first stretch resembling a skid tonight at Madison Square Garden, as they’ll take on a team they’ve historically enjoyed prosperity against, the Carolina Hurricanes (7:00, MSG).
Despite the lack of relative success over the past few games, the Rangers still enter tonight holding the lead in the Metropolitan Division at 15-7-1. They’re coming off their first shutout of the season, having fallen 2-0 to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night. Antti Raanta got the start for the Rangers, making 18 saves in defeat. The Rangers were stymied by Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson, who stopped all 33 shots fired at him on a night he had to kill four Senators’ penalties.
The Hurricanes (9-8-4) are slightly coming back to Earth after a five game winning streak ended on Thursday, but still managed to pick up a win on Sunday night against the Florida Panthers. Michael Leighton, making his first NHL appearance in four years, made 31 saves in victory, while Jeff Skinner added a goal and an assist.
The Rangers have had tremendous recent history against the Artists Formerly Known as the Hartford Whalers, having won 19 of the past 22 meetings, but one of those losses came last month in Carolina, a 3-2 defeat in what was the Hurricanes’ home opener. Skinner contributed to all Carolina scoring, notching two goals and an assist, while Mats Zuccarello added both Rangers goals. The two team will face off again at MSG this Saturday afternoon.
The Rangers will have assistance from a special guest tonight, as 11 year old Bryce Rogerson, in conjunction with the Rangers and the Garden of Dreams foundation, will be the team’s honorary coach tonight.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490