After leaving Florida with three out of a possible four points, the Rangers return to New York where they will take on the hottest team in the league in the Carolina Hurricanes (7:00 P.M. on MSG)

RangersNHL RankingsHurricanes
11thNHL Standing Rank2nd
16th GF/PG20th

Previous Game

               The Blueshirts are coming off a 5-3 victory against the Florida Panthers on New Years Day. Jaroslav Halak got the surprise start and he had a solid outing making 32 saves. The win against the Panthers gives Halak a three-game winning streak after starting the season winless in seven. The Rangers never trailed in this game as Mika Zibanejad got the first two goals of the game. Six-Ranger skaters would go on to have a multi-point night including Kaapo Kakko and Vincent Trocheck against his first NHL team where he played parts of seven seasons.

“He [Kakko] was outstanding in the last two games,” said Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant on Monday. “I really liked the way he was physical down low with his big body and making those plays. Confidence is a big thing.”

Rangers vs Hurricanes

               The Rangers will have a tough task at hand as they take on the hottest team in the league in the Carolina Hurricanes. The two teams met last season in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Rangers winning in six games. In the first two games, Carolina dominated on home ice and many thought the series could be a sweep. New York fought back and evened up the series with two convincing wins on home ice. After another win for each team on home ice, the Blueshirts finally broke through and defeated Carolina on home ice by the score of 6-2 to knock them out of the playoffs.

               The Hurricanes will be looking for some revenge when they return to Madison Square Garden. Carolina was unable to win one playoff game away from home ice and that ultimately led to their downfall. In the offseason, the Hurricanes had some key departures such as trading away former Ranger Tony DeAngelo to Philly and losing five key players to free agency including Brendan Smith, Ian Cole, Max Domi, Nino Neiderreiter, and now Ranger Vincent Trocheck.

               With the departures came some additions including Brett Burns from San Jose, Paul Stastny, Stefan Noesen, Dylan Coughlan, Ondrej Kase, and Max Pacioretty. Kase is currently out with a concussion and Pacioretty has yet to play a game for the Hurricanes as he is recovering from an Achilles tear. Pacioretty was given a six-month timetable after undergoing surgery in August.

               But despite all the injuries, departures, and new faces, the Hurricanes have picked up right where they were last season and are currently the hottest team in the league. Carolina is currently on an eleven-game winning streak and are currently on a 17-game point streak (14-0-3). The last time the Hurricanes were defeated in regulation was on November 23rd on home ice against the Arizona Coyotes.

               The Hurricanes have never been a team that is all about one player and that is staying true as they have a bunch of key contributors from all around the lineup. Leading the Hurricanes in points is Martin Necas who has 36 points in 37 games. No Hurricane skater is currently averaging a point-per-game whereas the Rangers have two skaters at that pace.

               But perhaps the biggest reason for Carolina’s success has been the play of their defense and goaltenders. With Frederik Andersen out of the lineup, Anti Raanta just came off a historic run after not allowing a goal for nearly eight periods (163:52). That streak was the third-longest streak in franchise history. And if he isn’t playing then the excellent Pyotr Kochetkov will be in net and he is proving he is the real deal. Kochetkov made his debut last season and he has been putting up amazing numbers this season. The 23-year-old is 10-1-4 with a .928 save percentage and a goals-against average of 1.94. Kochetkov was Igor Shesterkin’s backup goaltender during his time in the KHL.

               Shesterkin will be in the net after being rested in Florida. Shesterkin currently has a .918 save percentage in 28 games this season.

               The Blueshirts will stick with the same skater group as they did in Florida which means that Jonny Brodzinski will be a healthy scratch along with Libor Hajek. Expect the lines to remain the same as well. Tuesday’s game will be the first time the Rangers will see Carolina this season and it will be Trocheck’s first game against his former team. The Rangers were able to put an end to Mitch Marner’s historic point streak earlier this season and will now look to give the Hurricanes their first regular season defeat since prior to Thanksgiving.

Projected Lineup










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