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Rangers look to continue win streak in Carolina; Buchnevich ready to go

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-hurricanes

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 

 

Following an exciting comeback win over the Boston Bruins, the New York Rangers (5-2-0) are back on the road briefly, taking on the Carolina Hurricanes (1-3-2) at PNC Arena.

The Rangers have won their last three games, taking down the Bruins with five unanswered goals; two from Brandon Pirri, and one from Rick Nash, Jimmy Vesey and Kevin Hayes. Four players scored while 10 players picked up a point, continuing the trend of offensive production from all over the team.

While the Rangers have played a lot of home games, the Hurricanes have yet to play one, with tonight marking their home opener after starting the season with six straight road games. They’ve lost the last two games by a combined score of 9-5, but their three other losses have been by just one goal. The Hurricanes are winless in their last seven home openers (0-6-1).

This is the first of four meetings between the teams this season, and the first of two at the PNC Arena. Last season, the Rangers went 3-1-1 against Carolina, outscoring the Canes 14-8 while going 3-for-10 on the power play and 11-for-12 on the penalty kill.

The Rangers have won 19 of the last 21 games against Carolina, including nine of their last 10 games dating back to April 2014. They have also scored three goals or more in each of the last six games, outscoring Carolina 21-11 in those games.

There are some connections here, with Marc Staal and Jordan Staal opposing each other yet again. Lee Stempniak was on the Rangers two seasons ago, while Viktor Stalberg played with the team last season.

Lee Stempniak was signed very late in the offseason again, and somehow he’s been managing to be a very effective scorer and player. Last season it was with the Devils and the Boston Bruins, scoring 19 goals and 51 points.Now he’s doing it in Carolina, leading the team in goals (4), while sitting just one point behind Viktor Rask (4-3-7). Stempniak scored against the Rangers last year, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he did it again.

One of the offseason acquisitions for Carolina was Teuvo Teravainen, the 22 year old Finnish player who made his mark in the Chicago Blackhawks 2014-15 Stanley Cup Championship run, scoring 10 points (4-6-10) in 18 games. Due to the salary cap issues, Chicago was forced to trade him following a 13 goal, 35 point season last year. So far, Teravainen has two goals and an assist, but watch out for him tonight.

Cam Ward will start in net for Carolina. Goaltending has been a big issue in Raleigh for a while, and that’s been the trend this season as well. Both Ward and Eddie Lack have a GAA of 4.00 or higher this season, and both have a save percentage below .860. Ward is 0-2-1 and has been on a downward trend for a while now. The Hurricanes need a better performance in net if they want a chance to win.

I would guess that Henrik Lundqvist gets the start tonight. Personally, I think AV needs to start using Raanta more so Hank doesn’t tire out early in the season, but when Lundqvist is playing well AV tends to keep going to him. Lundqvist is 4-2-0 and has been in net for all three games of the win streak, looking better than earlier in the season and lowering his GAA to 2.35. He is 23-10-1 with a 2.09 GAA and a .916 save percentage against Carolina in his career.

Pavel Buchnevich will be making his return to the lineup after missing the last five games with back spasms. With Jooris separating his shoulder and sitting out for three to four weeks, Buch will come right in for him. In two games he had one assist and looked very good with Kreider and Zibanejad. With Kreider out, I’m guessing that he’ll play on the third line with Kevin Hayes. I’m also guessing that he scores his first NHL goal tonight.

Brandon Pirri scored two goals in the win over Boston, including one of the power play. Despite not getting top nine minutes, he’s been able to produce offensively and solidify his spot in the lineup. He currently has a three game point streak going (3-1-4). If the Rangers get chances on the power play, he’ll have a good chance to keep scoring.

The Rangers and the Hurricanes will play at 7:30 at PNC Arena. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.

POTENTIAL LINES (Not Confirmed)

Jimmy Vesey-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

JT Miller-Mika Zibanejad-Mats Zuccarello

Brandon Pirri-Kevin Hayes-Pavel Buchnevich

Michael Grabner-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Kevin Klein

Brady Skjei-Nick Holden

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on October 28, 2016, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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