At a glance: The Rangers go for a series sweep against Carolina Tuesday in the fourth and final meeting against the Canes this season. New York snapped a three-game skid with a thrilling 4-3 overtime win against the Islanders Sunday to open a seven-game homestand at Madison Square Garden.
Sick day: Although slated to make his third straight start Tuesday, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will miss the game due to illness. Martin Biron will start while Chad Johnson, recalled from the AHL Tuesday afternoon, will back him up.
Trap game: Could Tuesday be the classic type of "trap game" the Rangers are so desperate to avoid? Although the lowly Hurricanes are on the docket Tuesday, the Rangers will have to resist the temptation to look ahead to Thursday when the Blueshirts host the Penguins in what will be Sidney Crosby's second return form concussion symptoms this season. The 24-year-old captain confirmed Wednesday he will be in the lineup for Pittsburgh for the first time since December 5.
On the mend: Both captain Ryan Callahan (right foot) and Michael Del Zotto (right hip) are not expected to play. Neither player was in the lineup for the team’s 4-3 OT win against the Islanders Sunday and have yet to practice with the team since.
Last time around: Backup goaltender Martin Biron made 21 saves, Marian Gaborik notched his 30th goal of the season and Brandon Prust tallied the game-winner to beat the Hurricanes 3-2 in Carolina in the Rangers first game all season without Callahan.
Mats-sive effort: After being called up from the minors, Mats Zuccarello contributed in his first game back for the Rangers in almost five months. The 5-foot-7 Norwegian forward recorded an assist on Brad Richards’ second-period marker and received time on the team’s first power-play unit.
Retirement rumor: Is Sean Avery’s hockey career over? The 31-year-old antagonist announced on Monday’s episode of Bravo TV’s “Watch What Happens Live” that he is “officially retired.” Avery told the New York Post that it the comments were “no joke” and that he “couldn’t be happier about the situation," although he told ESPNNewYork.com via email that he will not make an official announcement until his 4-year $15.5 million contract expires at the end of this season. Although chances the Rangers recall him are highly unlikely, Avery said he is "still ready to go."
Power-ful play: Held without a goal in four games, the Rangers 28th-ranked power-play unit tallied three goals Sunday against the Islanders. It was the Rangers’ first game with three power-play goals since a 5-2 win against Philadelphia February 11.