The season for Carolina is going pretty much as people expected. Through 14 games, they are 6-8-0, good enough for 7th in the Metropolitan division. Their biggest offseason acquisition, defenseman Kris Versteeg, leads the team in assists, with 8, and points, with 10. Their other major acquisition, goalie Eddie Lack, has struggled a little bit to find his game backing up Cam Ward, posting a 1-3-0 record, with a 3.46 GAA and .865 SV%. Rookie defenseman Brett Pesce, a Tarrytown NY native, will be making his NHL debut tonight. Here is the full Hurricanes projected lineup:
Eric Staal (C) – Victor Rask – Elias Lindholm
Nathan Gerbe – Jordan Staal (A) – Chris Terry
Jeff Skinner – Riley Nash – Kris Versteeg
Joakim Nordstrom – Jay McClement – Brock McGinn
Ron Hainsey – Justin Faulk (A)
John-Michael Liles – Brett Pesce
Michal Jordan – Ryan Murphy
Rick Nash will make his return to the Rangers lineup after missing two games due to back stiffness. To make room for Nash, Alain Vigneault has decided to make Dominic Moore a healthy scratch and move Emerson Etem to the fourth line. Of Etem, Vigneault said "I thought his overall game was good, with [Derick Brassard] and [Mats Zuccarello]. They got some good looks, offensively. Defensively, other than a shift where they lost the faceoff in our end, and the other line had three great scoring chances, I thought they were dependable. [Etem] skated well; he skated well with the puck; he played the body when the opportunity was there, so hopefully tonight, with Jarret and Jesper [Fast], he can do the same thing." Here is the projected Rangers lineup:
Rick Nash – Derick Brassard – Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider – Derek Stepan – J.T. Miller
Oscar Lindberg – Kevin Hayes – Viktor Stalberg
Emerson Etem – Jarret Stoll – Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonagh – Dan Girardi
Marc Staal – Kevin Klein
Keith Yandle – Dan Boyle
With his 743rd game appearance tonight, Henrik Lundqvist will break Mike Richter's record for appearances (regular season plus postseason) by a Rangers goalie. Also, Lundqvist is 8 saves shy of Richter's record for career saves (regular season plus postseason).
This will be one of those games where anything less than a dominating performance will be disappointing. This is a weak Hurricanes team, and is one that the Rangers should be able to roll over from the get-go. I will specifically be watching for the second line to keep their good play going, and would love to see Kreider and Miller find the scoresheet again.
Let's go Rangers.