As the Rangers reach the halfway point of the season, they’ll face their toughest test of the season thus far. In what will be a battle for first place in the Metropolitan Division, the Blueshirts have made the trip to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the Hurricanes.
The Rangers have generally dominated Carolina, sweeping the four game season series in 2019-20 and winning 31 of the last 37 games dating back to 2011, However, that narrative was flipped on its head when these teams met in the bubble for the preliminary round to the 2020 playoffs, as the Hurricanes swept the Rangers out of the Toronto bubble with three consecutive wins. That series was the only one of the eight preliminary series to end in a sweep, but it set the stage for the Blueshirts to win the 2020 Entry Draft lottery, which landed them Alexis Lafreniere.
There will be plenty of familiar faces on Carolina’s bench tonight. Derek Stepan, Brady Skjei, Jesper Fast, Tony DeAngelo, Brendan Smith, and Antti Raanta are all former Rangers that now don the red, white, and black of the Hurricanes.
Player to Watch: Alexandar Georgiev
With tonight’s game being the first of a back to back set, Georgiev will start tonight’s game on the road. While there’s some logic to starting the better goalie against the the better team in that scenario, Gerard Gallant has opted to start Georgiev tonight. Look for him to put in a solid effort and give the Blueshirts a puncher’s chance against DeAngelo and the rest of the Hurricanes.
Enjoy the game!