Rangers aim to rebound in Carolina

( - The Metropolitan Division-leading New York Rangers hope to rebound from only their second regulation loss in 18 games on Saturday night when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Rangers had a five-game win streak snapped with a 1-0 setback to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. They still lead the New York Islanders by five points for the top spot in the division and trail the Montreal Canadiens by two points for the most in the Eastern Conference.

New York saw Chicago goaltender Scott Darling stop all 25 shots fired his way for his first career shutout. Cam Talbot notched 30 saves while yielding one goal or fewer for a fifth game in a row.

Talbot kept the Rangers in the game and didn't allow a goal until Brad Richards tallied for the Blackhawks at the 7:19 mark of the third period. That score came just moments after New York defenseman Dan Boyle had a shot hit off the crossbar.

"I felt like I was seeing the puck well and controlling the puck pretty well," Talbot said. "It's tough when a guy like (Richards) gets that much time in the slot."

The Rangers fell to 14-2-2 over their past 18 games and will host the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.

The Blueshirts have won five straight and 15 of their previous 16 meetings with the Hurricanes. They took a pair of encounters earlier this season in New York by a combined 5-1 margin.

The Hurricanes have lost seven of their past nine games and were blanked 4-0 by Carey Price and the Canadiens on Thursday. Price stopped all 31 shots he faced.

Anton Khudobin stopped 18 shots for the Hurricanes, who are 2-5-2 over that nine-game span.

"We didn't have enough quality chances throughout the night," Carolina coach Bill Peters said. "In the first period I didn't think we were dangerous and in the second, we started to have the puck a little more and make some plays, but all in all we can be better than that."

Carolina will begin a five-game homestand tonight looking to snap a four-game slide as the host. It also hopes to have defenseman John-Michael Liles (leg) and goaltender Cam Ward (illness) available. Both are questionable after sitting out on Thursday.