(Sports Network) - After gaining three out of a possible four points in a
home-and-home series with the Eastern Conference's best team, the New York
Rangers will continue a three-game road trip Saturday against the Carolina
The Rangers slammed the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins by a 6-1 score
Wednesday night in New York and then lost a shootout decision Friday in the
The Blueshirts are still 18 points behind Pittsburgh for first place in the
Atlantic Division, but New York is tied with the Islanders for the last two
playoff spots in the East. The New York clubs are just one point ahead of New
Jersey in the conference standings and two ahead of Winnipeg. All four teams
are in action on Saturday.
Rick Nash scored with 4:49 remaining in the third period on Friday to help New
York force overtime with the Penguins. However, Jussi Jokinen scored the lone
goal in the shootout to give the home team the extra point.
"I thought we dominated the third," Rangers head coach John Tortorella said.
"The reason why we don't win the game in the third is (Penguins goaltender
Henrik Lundqvist made 26 stops for the Rangers, but he suffered a lower body
injury in Friday's shootout and his status for Saturday is questionable.
Lundqvist has started 32 of New York's 37 games this season, but backup Martin
Biron could be forced into action against Carolina.
The Rangers have lost three straight on the road and are 6-9-2 as the visiting
team this season. New York will close its current trip when it plays Toronto
on Monday in the opener of another home-and-home set.
New York has won six straight against the Hurricanes overall and Carolina has
dropped five of its last six home tests versus the Rangers.
The Hurricanes have lost three straight to begin the month of April and have
dropped 10 of their last 11 games. Despite the rough stretch, Carolina is
still only four points out of first place in the Southeast Division.
Carolina last played on Thursday, when it was slammed 5-0 by the visiting
Tampa Bay Lightning. The Hurricanes fired 45 shots on net, but Ben Bishop
stopped every one of them to record a shutout in his debut with the Lightning.
Dan Ellis stopped 25-of-30 shots for the Hurricanes, who are 1-9-1 over their
last 11 games.
"I thought we came out strong in the first period. It was a good, even match,"
said Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller. "We looked like a fragile team when we give
up that first goal right off the start in the second."
Carolina is 0-6-0 over its last six home games and is 7-11-0 as the host this
season. The Hurricanes are closing a three-game homestand tonight and will
play four of their next six on the road.
The Sports Network