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Rangers look to clinch a playoff spot as Eric Staal returns to Carolina

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

For the first time ever, Eric Staal will be playing against the team that he spent 12 years in his return to Raleigh, this time in a different sweater. The Rangers (43-24-9) can clinch their sixth consecutive playoff appearance with a regulation or overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes (33-28-16), and Eric Staal will be a part of it.

It was a tough transition for the former Hurricanes’ captain, who had to learn a new system, move away from his family for a brief time, and fit into a new locker room with new teammates. But Staal has looked increasingly more comfortable as a Ranger, and is coming off of his best game with the team. Now he’s looking forward to taking part in the playoffs again, and will be looking to help his team clinch their berth tonight.

The Rangers have rebounded well since the 4-1 debacle of a loss at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, going 3-0-1 in their last four games and 16-7-3 since February 4. The Penguins are just one point behind the Rangers, so a regulation or overtime win is needed to officially punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After the overtime loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday, New York is just 13-10-4 against Metropolitan opponents, but that includes a 3-0-0 mark against the Hurricanes. Read the rest of this entry