At a glance: Riding a two-game winning streak for the first time this season, the Rangers host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. The struggling Canes enter the match with plenty of motivation considering they are amidst a four-game skid. Most recently, they were shut out by Tampa Bay 3-0 on Friday night.
Family reunion: Saturday marks the first time that Rangers defenseman Marc Staal will face Carolina since his younger brother Jordan joined older brother Eric as Hurricane teammates. The previous time Carolina was in town, all three of Staal’s brothers were out on the ice for puck drop (youngest brother Jared is currently in the AHL), but Marc had to watch from the press box because of a harrowing eye injury that cost him more than half of last season.
Looking good: Thursday’s win was an encouraging sign for the Rangers, particularly because of the superior performance from goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. The 31-year-old former Vezina Trophy winner struggled to start the season and missed two games recently with an unspecified injury. However, The King looked royal in the team’s 2-0 shutout victory over the Sabres. Lundqvist turned away all 29 shots faced from Buffalo.
Young guns: Another reason the Rangers are starting to round into form? The play of youngsters Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider. Hagelin, who missed the first 10 games of the season with a shoulder injury, has drastically changed the team’s offensive attack with his speed and puck-hounding abilities while Kreider is playing with a newfound sense of confidence. The 22-year-old former Boston College standout has two goals in the past two games.
Injury impact: The Hurricanes enter Saturday’s match in 10th place in the Eastern Conference and their injury-riddled lineup has to be at least partly to blame. The Canes are without starting goaltender Cam Ward and key forwards Jeff Skinner and Radek Dvorak.