With a potential playoff push over as quickly as it began, the New York Rangers are pretty much reduced to playing spoiler for the rest of the season.
They’ll try to do so against a divisional foe tonight at home, as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden (7:00 PM, MSG).
The Rangers (30-32-7) did manage to earn a point in their last game, falling 4-3 to the red-hot Florida Panthers in a shootout on Saturday night. The Rangers came back from 2-0 down, as Mats Zuccarello, in addition to a showstopping shootout score, scored in the second, while Mika Zibanejad tied the game in the third. Kevin Hayes capped the regulation scoring to send the game into an extra session, which went scoreless. Vince Trocheck had the sealer for Florida in the third round.
— BlueshirtsNation.com 🚨 (@NYRangerFanclub) March 11, 2018
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes (30-27-11) are struggling to stay in the Eastern playoff picture, as they’re currently six points out of the final wild card slot with a game in hand on current holder Columbus. They did manage to score a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, as Sebastian Aho’s power play goal in the third provided a much needed win.
Recent history has not been kind to Carolina in this series, as the Rangers have won 14 straight between the pair at Madison Square Garden. This will be the first of two March meetings, the other slated for Carolina on March 31. Previously, the Rangers won 5-1 at MSG on December 1, featuring 32 saves from Henrik Lundqvist. The departed Michael Grabner had a hat trick, while David Desharnais and Paul Carey had the other goals.
For the Rangers, Alexander Georgiev will make his first start since earning his first NHL win two weekends ago in Edmonton.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490