The New York Rangers ended their three-game skid in dramatic fashion against the New York Islanders, needing to come back three times en route to the overtime victory. Tuesday, they'll continue their seven-game homestand with a game against the Carolina Hurricanes at 7:30 p.m. EST (NBCSN).
For the second straight game, they'll have to deal with some roadblocks thrown their way. it appears very likely that captain Ryan Callahan and breakout defenseman Michael Del Zotto will be sidelined. New York also faces a crucial battle with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, thus it will need to not look past Tuesday's game or risk losing two valuable points.
The Hurricanes, 26-18-15, are 2-2-2 in March. Though they may be out of the postseason race, they certainly have the spoiler card to play throughout their remaining games. The Rangers are 3-0 versus the 'Canes this season. Eric Staal leads the team with 59 points and is tied with Jeff Skinner in goals with 19. These are the two guys the Rangers need to focus on shutting down. Carolina is among the worst in goals allowed (2.9 25th) and has one of the worst penalty kills in the league (27th). After a game in which the Rangers scored three power play goals, this is another one to build momentum on the man advantage from.
New York, 43-18-7, has a four-point lead on the Penguins. Over the past few games (even in the losses), it has returned to playing defense-first hockey and been hurt by some fluky goals. If there's one thing that the Rangers really need to improve upon, it's their power play, which ranks 28th. For a team that doesn't score a ton (2.7, 11th in the league), the power play is a great way to at least shift momentum, and at most, make teams pay for being undisciplined. Mats Zuccarello's inclusion in the lineup seemed to pay immediate dividends on the power play, so it's very likely he's back in there Tuesday.