Rangers start 2024 with divisional battle against Hurricanes

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers enter the new calendar year at the top of the NHL standings with 51 points. They also kick things off with an important divisional matchup against the Metro’s second place team, the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night at the Garden.

Currently holding a 7-point lead over the Canes for first place, the Rangers will look to build on their impressive 5-1 triumph over the Tampa Bay Lightning to end 2023. In that contest, Artemi Panarin netted a hat trick to pump his season point totals to 50 (23 goals, 27 assists). Additionally, his line mates were also impressive with Vincent Trocheck registering 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists), and Alexis Lafreniere notching 2 helpers.

“I think the line has done a really good job of playing with each other,” coach Peter Laviolette said on Monday. “We stress putting pucks at the net. A couple of goals [Panarin] scored last game are shooter’s goals. He had to create it by moving and finding a lane.”

Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (25-9-1) vs Carolina Hurricanes (20-13-4)
Date/Time: January 2, 2024 @ 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

Related: Kaapo Kakko making progress to return

New York Rangers projected lineup

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Blueshirts lineup is expected to remain the same with Igor Shesterkin the likely starter in goal.

Kreider- Zibanejad – Wheeler
Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere
Cuylle – Bonino – Brodzinski
Vesey – Goodrow – Pitlick

Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Trouba
Gustafsson – Schneider


Note: New York will hold a morning skate at 10:30 a.m. ET. Head coach Peter Laviolette will address the media soon after. Check back here for any updates.

Update: Igor Shesterkin first goalie off, which usually indicates he will start.

New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes

The Blueshirts became the first team this season to his the 50 point benchmark (51) when they beat the Lightning on Saturday. It marked the first time since the 1993-94 team completed the feat, which will certainly raise this group’s Stanley Cup aspirations.

“Our team has been going pretty well,” captain Jacob Trouba noted of his squad. “Throughout the year, up and down (the lineup), everyone has been contributing.”

Mika Zibanejad has been hot with points in 18 out of his last 19 games (12 goals, 15 assists). Artemi Panarin is also furthering his case for Hart Trophy consideration with 50 points on the season, good for third in NHL overall scoring. Meanwhile, Igor Shesterkin is riding a 5 game winning streak bringing his record to 15-7-0, with a GAA of 2.69, and a .911 save percentage.

Looking at the opposition bench, the Hurricanes have picked up their pace after a slow start by winning their last 3 games. Sebastian Aho is their most dangerous offensive threat with 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists), but the Rangers will need to keep their head on a swivel for some potential dirty play.

The last time these two teams met, Adam Fox, Filip Chytil, and Igor Shesterkin finished the game all banged up and missing significant time. It was a costly 2-1 win back on November 2, with Chytil still out due to a suspected concussion.

Pyotr Kochetkov should get the start in goal for Carolina, and has a record of 9-7-3 on the season, with a GAA of 2.61 and a .900 save percentage.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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