At a glance: With a nine-point cushion on the Eastern Conference lead, the Rangers aim to push the margin into the double- digits with a win against the 13th-place Carolina Hurricanes. Eight points out of the eighth spot in the East, the lowly Canes are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive, having recorded points in four straight games.
Without their captain: Ryan Callahan is out Thursday with a bruised foot, according to the team, leaving the Rangers without their 26-year-old captain Thursday and presumably Friday as well. Limited to 60 games last season due to injury, Callahan has played in all 61 for the Rangers this season; He is listed as “day-to-day.”
Great Scott: New addition John Scott will make his Rangers debut in Carolina. The hulking 6-8, 270-pound defenseman, who will play forward against the Canes, was acquired Monday from Chicago in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2012 draft. The 29-year-old Alberta native recorded his only NHL goal in Carolina while playing for the Minnesota Wild in the Wild’s 5-4 OT loss to the Canes November 15, 2009.
Sibling rivalry: Marc Staal and older brother Eric Staal, will face off for the first time since the Hurricanes captain’s hit left the Rangers defenseman with a nasty concussion more than a year ago. Marc, who sustained the injury February 22, missed ten months with post-concussion symptoms before making his season debut during the Rangers’ 3-2 win at the 2012 Winter Classic January 2.
Back to Biron: Backup goaltender Martin Biron will relieve starter Henrik Lundqvist in his 16th start of the season. The 34-year-old netminder boasts an impressive 11-4-2 career record against the Canes but has struggled of late. Biron has surrendered three or more goals in his last four starts.
Back-to-back: The Rangers kick off their 11th of 14 back-to-back sets this season and are 7-0-3 in their first game, 8-1-1 in their second. The Rangers conclude a two-game road trip Friday against Tampa. New York has recorded a point in 10 of their last 12 road games.