Rangers try to keep first win streak alive in clash with 'Canes
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers hope to extend their first winning streak of the season on Saturday night when they resume their homestand against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Following a 3-6-0 road trip to begin the season, the Rangers lost their home opener at renovated Madison Square Garden on Monday after getting shut out by Montreal. They then rebounded with a road win against the New York Islanders the following night and made it two victories in a row with Thursday's 2-0 triumph over visiting Buffalo.
Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves in his second shutout of the season, helped by an offense that racked up a season-high 46 shots. Derick Brassard and Chris Kreider had the goals.
"It just feels good to be part of a win here," said Lundqvist, who capped his 47th career shutout with 11 saves in the third period. "I think we're moving in the right direction and that's a good thing."
Thursday's win came in the opener of a four-game homestand and the Rangers are aiming to record a victory in three straight for the first time since April 18-21.
In 23 career starts versus the Hurricanes, Lundqvist is 14-8-1 with a 2.27 goals against average.
New York swept its three-game set with Carolina a season ago, winning twice after regulation. Overall, the Rangers have won each of the past eight encounters overall and four in a row at home.
Carolina comes into this meeting have scored just four goals over a four-game losing streak and was blanked 3-0 on Friday night by Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bishop made 31 saves in the shutout.
Justin Peters gave up three goals on 32 shots for the Hurricanes, who are on their longest losing streak since dropping seven straight from April 1-11.
"No one is going to panic. We accept the losses as far as teams accept it, but we accept the challenge that we have got to get better," said Carolina coach Kirk Mueller.
The Hurricanes are playing without their top two goaltenders in Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin, as well as talented forward Jeff Skinner due to injury.
It is unknown if Peters will get the call again tonight or if Mike Murphy will make his first NHL start. Peters has never started versus the Rangers, though he did stop all eight shots he faced over 19 minutes of relief against them on April 6 of last season.
Carolina has not beaten New York since Jan. 20, 2011 at home.