What it means: After a four-game road trip that wrapped up with a demoralizing three-game skid, the Rangers returned home and got back on track with a 2-1 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes Monday at Madison Square Garden. Both Rick Nash and J.T. Miller scored for the Rangers in the shootout, sending the Canes to their third straight loss.
Front-loaded first line: Looking to boost an anemic offense that was outscored 9-2 in the three-game losing streak, coach John Tortorella reunited the Rangers' top three forwards (well, the top three earners at least) for Monday's game. The trio of Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Rick Nash has been an ongoing experiment for Tortorella. At times he has used them together to some success; at other times, he splits the three players up to create balance throughout the lineup.
Stepan steps up: With his team trailing 1-0 in the second period, "second line" center Derek Stepan tied the game with his eighth goal of the season. Rangers captain Ryan Callahan was knocked into Canes netminder Dan Ellis, who sprawled face-first in the crease and lost track of the puck, allowing Stepan to bury one from the slot at 11:06.
Captain Cane: Eric Staal opened scoring for the Hurricanes with a shot from the right circle that whizzed past Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with less than 51 seconds remaining in the first period. Staal leads the Hurricanes in scoring with 14 goals and 34 points.
Brotherly love: Canes forward Jordan Staal gave an update on older brother Marc, who remains out indefinitely with an eye injury suffered in a game earlier this month, and said he believes the Rangers defenseman will play again this season. Jordan, who was traded this summer from Pittsburgh to Carolina (where he joins older brother Eric), said Marc is doing well but still needs time to heal. Monday would’ve been the first time all three brothers played in the same game.
See ya: The Rangers were repeatedly tossed from the faceoff circle Monday night, with veteran center Brad Richards getting the boot at least three times, third-year pivot Stepan thrown out on a key defensive zone draw with less than a minute to go in the third, and Jeff Halpern removed twice during overtime.
Up next: Rangers vs. Devils, Tuesday at 7 p.m.