(SportsNetwork.com) - Having struggled offensively in back-to-back games following the All-Star break, the New York Rangers try to avoid their longest skid in over two months on Saturday night as they host the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Rangers put together a 16-3-0 mark over 19 games leading up to the All- Star break, but followed the hiatus with a 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders two days prior to Thursday's 1-0 setback to the Montreal Canadiens.
Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves versus the Habs in the opener of a four-game homestand and did not allow the only goal of the game until there was 4:17 left. He was finally solved by the Habs when Max Pacioretty snapped a shot through the legs of Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh.
"It's tough for any goalie to pick up a shot like that with a quick release and a little bit of a screen by myself," McDonagh said.
New York now tries to avoid losing three in a row for the first time since an 0-1-2 slide from Nov. 13-17. The Blueshirts haven't lost three in a row in regulation since Oct. 11-14.
The Rangers do draw a favorable matchup as they have won four straight and 14 of their last 15 meetings with the Hurricanes. That includes a sweep of a home-and-home series on Dec. 20-21, capped with a 1-0 triumph in New York.
The Blueshirts have won eight in a row at home in this series as backup Cam Talbot made 18 saves and McDonagh scored in the first period.
New York has not lost at home to Carolina since Oct. 29, 2010 and Lundqvist is 19-9-1 versus the Hurricanes with a 2.13 goals against average and .924 save percentage in 29 meetings.
Anton Khudobin made 30 saves in the recent setback to the Rangers.
Khudobin had a rough go of things last night for the Hurricanes, getting lifted early in a 3-2 shootout loss as he yielded two goals on three shots. Cam Ward halted all 29 shots he faced through overtime in relief as Carolina rallied to get a point.
"The goalie change was more just to slow their momentum down," said Carolina head coach Bill Peters. "It's obviously not a reflection of the goaltender, but we didn't start on time, that's for sure."
Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy lit the lamp for the Hurricanes, who had a three- game winning streak snapped. Ward gave up the only goal of the shootout, beat by defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in the second round.
Carolina begins a four-game road trip tonight and Ward figures to get the start. He is 10-12-4 versus the Rangers in 27 meetings, posting a 2.44 GAA, .924 save percentage and two shutouts.