Kirk Muller, who replaced the fired Paul Maurice on Monday, made his debut behind the bench in Tuesday's game against visiting Florida, but the Hurricanes were dealt a fourth straight loss and fell to 8-14-4 on the season.
The Hurricanes were handed a 3-1 loss by the Panthers, as Shawn Matthias scored twice, including the go-ahead tally late in the third period. Jeff Skinner had the lone tally for the Hurricanes, while Cam Ward stopped 18-of-20 shots in defeat.
"I thought they really did their part in what we asked from them, come and work hard, play for each other, we didn't get the bounce, but they played hard," Muller said.
Muller had been serving as head coach for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League before replacing Maurice, who was in his second stint as Carolina's bench boss and is the Hurricanes all-time leader in wins.
The Hurricanes have lost three straight on home ice and are staging the middle test of a three-game homestand tonight. Carolina is 5-7-2 in Raleigh this season.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have won three straight and 10 of their last 12 games. The Blueshirts, who are tied with Philadelphia for second place in the Atlantic Division, posted a 4-3 regulation win over visiting Pittsburgh on Monday.
Brad Richards had a goal and two assists as the Rangers held on to beat the Penguins. It was the seventh straight win on home ice for New York, which is kicking off a two-game road trip tonight and is 6-4-2 as the guest this year compared to a 7-1-1 mark in the Big Apple.
"Home games should be an advantage and I think we took advantage so far this year," said Gaborik. "Like I said it's a long year but hopefully we can keep it up. The fans are behind us which is great and we feel very confident playing here."
The Rangers will visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday before returning to NYC for a two-game residency.
New York routed the Hurricanes, 5-1, at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 11, giving the Rangers wins in two straight and three of the last four games in this series. The Blueshirts have also come out on top in three of their last four trips to Raleigh.