Thursday, April 25, 2013
W2W4: Rangers at Canes
By Katie Strang
At a glance: With another chance to clinch a playoff berth, the Rangers hope to take care of business against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh on Thursday night. A win over the downtrodden Canes would do the trick, as the Rangers look to regain their composure after a spirit-sapping loss to the Panthers on Tuesday. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will make his 13th consecutive start.
Clinch scenarios: Unlike Tuesday night, when the Rangers needed help (they got it, but squandered the opportunity), the Blueshirts control their own playoff destiny now. Their magic number is two, so a win of any sort allows them to clinch a playoff spot, but they can also back into a spot. A regulation loss for Winnipeg against Montreal would ensure the Blueshirts' third consecutive playoff appearance; if both the Rangers and Jets end the night with one point, that would also be enough. The Rangers are currently in eighth place with 52 points. The ninth-place Jets trail by only one point, though New York retains a game in hand.
Leading by example: Rangers captain Ryan Callahan enters Thursday’s action with a five-game point streak. The 27-year-old spark plug has seven points (three goals, four assists) during that span.
Family reunion: Apparently, two Staal brothers is not enough for the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes recalled Jared Staal, the younger brother of Eric and Jordan, from the minors on Wednesday. A 22-year-old winger, Jared is expected to make his NHL debut on a line with Jordan. It’ll be a family affair as their parents will be on hand to watch their sons take on the Rangers. Another Staal brother, Marc (the second-eldest), will also be there. Though he hasn't yet played after suffering an eye injury March 5, Marc continues to travel and practice with the Rangers as he inches toward a return.
Showing some life: Though the Canes have been officially eliminated from playoff contention, the club has recorded back-to-back wins for the first time since March 9-12. Alexander Semin is riding a four-game point streak during which he has three goals and three assists.