It may not have been the prettiest performance against the Ottawa Senators, but when you win, nobody cares too much for the style points. Friday night the New York Rangers (8-3-3) host the Carolina Hurricanes (5-7-3) looking to further bury a team that can't find its way right now (losers of three straight), while also extending their own win streak to six games (7:00 p.m. EST), which would be the first time in two years.
Besides the streak that's on the line, there's also some added emotion for this game because of the presence of Eric Staal, the Hurricanes captain who decked his brother back on Feb. 22, which resulted in a concussed Marc Staal. The lockdown defender played pretty much all last season -- though, in retrospect, he probably shouldn't have -- but has been shutdown all preseason and into the regular season with a return that's more questionable by the day.
Many media outlets have spoken about whether the Rangers should 'seek retribution' on the elder brother for the hit. The Rangers should just continue to go about their business and play the game hard, and not single out Eric, who is widely respected and not a dirty player, in this game. Regardless, it seems that Eric is feeling the affects of knocking out his brother, as he has just three goals, two assists and is a minus-16. Sophomore Jeff Skinner leads the team with six goals and eight assists.
The key to the Rangers' success as of late has been a formidable top two lines. Ever since Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik have been separated, the Rangers have scored 21 goals and are 5-0-1 in the process. A huge reason for that is Derek Stepan finding his game and providing Gaborik with a capable, pass-first center. According to AP, the top line of Gaborik, Stepan, Artem Anisimov has 22 points during the winning streak. Richards' line has been effective and would take the next jump if Brandon Dubinsky could find the back of the net. He's scoreless so far this season.