The New York Rangers were nearly invincible at Madison Square Garden for the first 3 1/2 weeks of the season, but suddenly are showing a startling inability to win in their own building. New York will attempt to halt a four-game skid (0-3-1) at home when it hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
The Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers won six in a row at home to improve to 8-1-0 at Madison Square Garden before the current drought, which includes a 2-0 loss to visiting Ottawa on Sunday. It was the first shutout defeat for New York, which is by far the highest-scoring team in the NHL. The resurgent Hurricanes are 6-2-0 in their last eight games after snapping a two-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over Florida on Sunday. Carolina has not allowed more than two goals in each of the past eight games, with its losses coming by 2-1 scores.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet, FSN Carolina, MSG (New York)
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (9-8-4): Jeff Skinner had one goal and set up another as Carolina erased an early two-goal deficit in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Florida, taking the sting out of consecutive 2-1 defeats in Montreal and Ottawa. “The last couple of games we’ve been right there and haven’t really found the way to get the result,” Skinner told reporters after Sunday’s win. “We found a way to dig deep and get the result.” Cam Ward, who has permitted nine goals in his last seven starts, will be back in net Tuesday after a rare night off.
ABOUT THE RANGERS (15-7-1): Despite its scoring prowess, New York continues to stumble on the power play. The Rangers whiffed on four man-advantage chances against Ottawa and are 1-for-15 in the last six contests. “We needed to strike on the power play,” captain Ryan McDonagh told reporters. “Our tic-tac-toes, or seam plays, come off shooting first and getting them running around out of position, and we’ve got to find a way to get back to it. Win a draw and in the first five or six seconds, get the puck to the net and go from there.”
1. Ward is 12-15-4 with a 2.56 goals-against average versus New York.
2. Rangers F Kevin Hayes is second on the team with 10 goals but has failed to tally in 10 games against Carolina.
3. Hurricanes F Jordan Staal exited Sunday’s game in the first period due to a concussion and is out indefinitely.
PREDICTION: Rangers 4, Hurricanes 2