Rangers welcome chance to bounce back tonight
• Game Notes
• Wednesday Night's Recap
Following Wednesday night's 6-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden, Rangers head coach John Tortorella said that the best thing for the Blueshirts was their opportunity to play again less than 24 hours later.
Tonight at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C., the Rangers get a golden opportunity to redeem themselves against a team they beat 3-1 just 10 days earlier on the same ice. That victory, however, could come back to haunt them, since last-place Carolina will be seeking a measure of revenge on New Year's Eve.
|Rangers defenseman Marc Staal will be going up against his older brother, Eric, tonight at the RBC Center. Eric Staal has been the hottest player on the 'Canes of late with seven points in two games.
This marks the first time since the 2005-06 season that the Rangers have played a game on New Year's Eve. The last time the two teams met in such a New Year's Eve game was on Dec. 31, 2002, when the Blueshirts went down to Raleigh and blanked the Hurricanes 2-0.
Tonight is also the second of four meetings with the third one coming right behind it at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon as the back end of a home-and-home series.
While the Rangers are coming off one of their most difficult nights of the season, the Hurricanes are just three days removed from what was surely their biggest win of the season, a 6-3 victory at Washington in which Eric Staal, the older brother of Rangers defenseman Marc Staal
, had five points and the 'Canes handled the division leaders for only their second road win of the season.
Eric Staal, the only Staal brother named to the Canadian Olympic team on Wednesday, has been coming on of late with seven points in his last two games.
Despite that big win in Washington, Carolina is still the last-place team in the NHL at 10-22-7. The Hurricanes had lost three straight games prior to upsetting the Caps on Monday.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
, who was lifted from the loss to Philadelphia after one period, is expected to make his 14th consecutive start tonight. Lundqvist hasn't allowed more than three goals in any game this month, although he did play only 20 minutes on Wednesday. Lifetime against Carolina, Lundqvist has won seven of 12 starts, including three of six at the RBC Center.
The Rangers will again be without Vinny Prospal
, who had arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday. Carolina will be missing three regulars in Joe Corvo, Chad LaRose and the dangerous Erik Cole. All three of those players are on injured reserve.