New York Rangers will go all out against Hurricanes in battle for first
Madison Square Garden is the scene for tonight’s Metropolitan Division showdown between the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes. The Blueshirts are riding a two game shutout streak on home ice coming in to Tuesday’s contest.
Carolina (52-20-8, 112 points) can wrap up the Division title with a victory, while the Rangers (51-22-6, 108 points) must win to stay alive for the divisional crown.
This will be the Canes second visit to New York City this month after a 4-2 victory on April 12. After that loss the Rangers rattled off four straight wins before losing to the Bruins in Boston on Saturday 3-1.
“Just got to keep going and look forward to the Carolina game,” said Mika Zibanejad after falling to the Bruins.
New York Rangers will play all out
Regardless of the divisional pecking order, New York is gearing up for the playoffs. That might factor into lineup decisions with the need to have healthy players for the postseason, Gallant said.
“We want to finish first. We want to win every game we play,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “At the end of the day when the season is over, whether we’re first or second (we) get home ice (for the opening round). … I’m really happy the way our team has played the last five or six games.”
On Monday, the team saw the return of forwards Andrew Copp, Filip Chytil, and Kaapo Kakko.
“Full house (at practice). They’re all game-time decisions,” Gallant noted. “I’ll talk to the trainers later and see how they feel. Having them at 100% is more important than them playing a couple of games.”
Per reports, Copp was back taking regular turns at practice with the second line. Meanwhile, Chytil was on the third line as Kakko was rotating in and out.
Copp and Chytil were injured last Thursday in a 6-3 win over the Islanders and missed the Bruins game. Kakko went down in the first period over a week ago in a shutout win over the Red Wings.
Rangers path to first place
The Hurricanes finish Thursday night at home against the New Jersey Devils. The Rangers, who’ll be playing after a two-day layoff, end with three straight home games, with visits from Montreal on Wednesday and Washington on Friday to finish the slate.
New York has a path to winning the Metropolitan Division and it must start with a win on Garden Ice tonight.
Scenario 1: Rangers beat Hurricanes in regulation
- Hurricanes lose last game to Devils in regulation, Rangers need three points against Canadiens and Capitals
- Hurricanes lose in OT or SO to Devils, Rangers need to beat both the Canadiens and Capitals
Scenario 2: Rangers beat Hurricanes in OT or SO
- Hurricanes must lose to Devils in regulation, Rangers need to beat both the Canadiens and Capitals
Canes could be relying on a rookie goalie
The Carolina Hurricanes have reached perhaps the defining moment of their regular season on a bit of a roll — and in a tough spot in terms of goaltending.
In Tuesday night’s important showdown against the host New York Rangers, the Hurricanes might be counting on Pyotr Kochetkov in his third career NHL game.
Kochetkov played in the first two games of this road trip, first in a full outing at New Jersey and then in relief Sunday when Antti Raanta exited with an injury against the New York Islanders.
Raanta’s situation comes after No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen suffered a lower-body injury April 16.
The final week of the regular season isn’t a good time to have issues at the goalie position. Minor leaguer Alex Lyon has been injured as well.
“What are you going to do, cry over it?” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We just have to keep moving forward.”
The Hurricanes have rattled off four consecutive victories since the Rangers pulled even in the standings. In the past three games, Carolina has trailed or been tied in the third period.
“The character of this group is second to none,” Hurricanes winger Max Domi said. “Facing a little adversity, it’s going to be a test of your character of your group.”
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–Field Level Media contributed to this article