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Rangers looking to extend winstreak against the ‘Canes; Brassard to play

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rick Nash shootout goal 10-16

The Rangers will take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, the second game of the season between these two teams. Last time, Rick Nash scored the shootout winner against Anton Khudobin at Madison Square Garden. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (15-10-4) will look to extend their season-best four game win streak against the Carolina Hurricanes (9-19-3) in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is the first game of a home-and-home series, with the final game being played tomorrow at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers and the Hurricanes have played once before this season, and the Blueshirts walked away with a 2-1 victory in the shootout. Henrik Lundqvist started and made 29 saves in the win, and Anton Khudobin stopped 33 of 34 shots. Derick Brassard scored the only goal in regulation for the Rangers.

Speaking of Brassard, the Blueshirts first line center confirmed that he would play tonight, saying that he felt better than yesterday. Having him on the first line again is important. Brassard is the second leading scorer on the team with 24 points (8-16-24).

With Lee Stempniak out of the lineup due to symptoms of the mumps, JT Miller will be moved to his slot in the lineup. Miller has three goals and an assist in seven games since being recalled, and will have played every forward position after tonight. Miller has been aggressive, versatile, and has played very well since he rejoined the team.

Henrik Lundqvist is one of the players to watch for the Rangers. Lundqvist has started every game of the Rangers four game win streak, and has allowed just six goals in those games. However, only three of the goals came over the past three games during the Western Canada road trip.

Lundqvist profile 10-27

Henrik Lundqvist will make his fifth consecutive start for the Rangers tonight. Lundqvist has been very strong during the Rangers win streak, and will look to continue his success against Carolina. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Lundqvist has appeared to be at the top of his game lately, and has improved his season stats with his recent success. Lundqvist’s goals allowed average has dropped to 2.49 and he now has a save percentage of .912.

In his career, Lundqvist is 18-9-1 against Carolina, with a 2.14 GAA, a .925 save percentage, and one shutout. In his last 12 appearances against the Hurricanes, he is 10-2, allowing just one goal or fewer in seven of those games.

The other player to watch is obviously Rick Nash. The 30 year old winger is off to a tremendous start, having already scored 20 goals as well as picking up 13 assists, giving him a total of 33 points in just 29 games this year. Nash is also in the midst of a career best 11 game point streak, scoring eight goals and six assists in that span. Nash has at least a point in 24 of the Rangers 29 games this season.

Rick Nash home jersey

Rick Nash has been the Rangers MVP this season, already reaching the 20 goal mark. He is also in an 11 game point streak, which is a career high. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

The Hurricanes won their last game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday by a final score of 4-1, but lost six straight before that. Defenseman Justin Faulk leads the team with 19 points (6-13-19) but is a minus-13, and Eric Staal has 18 points (7-11-18) this season, but has a minus-10 rating.

The Hurricanes have been a competitive team despite their losses, with 17 of their 22 defeats coming by two goals or fewer. Their special teams have also been pretty decent, with their power play ranked 15th in the league and their penalty kill ranked 11th in the league.

The Rangers and the Hurricanes will begin the first game of a home-and-home series against the Hurricanes tonight at 7 PM in Carolina. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.

EXPECTED LINES

Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Martin St. Louis

Carl Hagelin-Kevin Hayes-JT Miller

Tanner Glass-Dominic Moore-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Dan Boyle

Matt Hunwick-Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on December 20, 2014, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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