New York Rangers Game Thread: 3/21, Rangers at Hurricanes

The Rangers look for the series sweep in Carolina tonight.

Game Seventy, the New York Rangers at the Carolina Hurricanes
Record: 44-18-7
Opponent: 26-39-5
Season Series: 4-0-0, Rangers
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The Rangers' regulation loss against the Blackhawks on Wednesday was the team's first since falling to the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 on February 28th. Which is probably why losing to Brad Richards and the Blackhawks felt so peculiar and uncomfortable for all of us.

Tonight the Blueshirts will be looking to sweep their season series against their division rival Hurricanes (still not sure this is a rivalry). The Hurricanes, as well know, have had an absolutely horrendous season. How bad? Their scorers aren't scoring, their fans aren't showing up, and they can't keep the puck out of their net. Jeff Skinner, Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, and Alexander Semin have a combined 45 goals between them this season. There have been a ton of games missed due to injuries among those big name forwards... but still... yikes. With all that being said, the Rangers can't come into Raleigh tonight expecting an easy two points to be given to them. They have to make sure that they take those points like candy is taken from an unmonitored candy bowl left on some poor sap's stoop on Halloween.

Tonight's game is the 70th regular season contest of the season for the Blueshirts which means we are finally entering that last stretch of the season. Henrik Lundqvist will be returning to the team tomorrow night in New York and will have his first team practice since his vascular injury and Kevin Klein and Martin St. Louis should be back in the lineup within two weeks. It's time for the Rangers to kick things into gear and get right back to winning the way they were before Wednesday's night game. The next winning starts tonight in Carolina.

The New York Rangers' March Schedule

3/2, Predators at Rangers, 7:00 (win.)
3/4, Rangers at Red Wings, 8:00 (overtime loss.)
3/8, Rangers at Blackhawks, 7:30 (win.)
3/10, Rangers at Islanders, 7:00 (win!!!)
3/11 Rangers at Capitals, 8:00 (win)
3/14, Rangers at Sabres, 7:00 (win)
3/15, Panthers at Rangers, 5:00 (win)
3/18, Blackhawks at Rangers, 8:00 (loss)
3/21, Rangers at Hurricanes, 7:00
3/22, Ducks at Rangers, 7:30
3/24, Kings at Rangers, 7:00
3/26, Rangers at Senators, 7:00
3/28, Rangers at Bruins, 1:00
3/29, Capitals at Rangers, 3:00
3/31, Rangers at Jets, 8:00

Mike's Player to Watch: J.T. Miller

Miller will be starting the game on the Derick Brassard line with Mats Zuccarello on his opposite wing. This is a big opportunity for Miller to play with some guys that can set him up and create chances for him. The best thing that Miller can do is stay disciplined, play much better in the neutral zone and in his own zone, and get some shots on net. It doesn't matter who you are or how much talent you have, no one is above the wisdom of "keep it simple." Miller has an amazingly short leash with the Rangers' coaching staff so he is going to have to play some of his best hockey of the season between his ears tonight to make the most out of this opportunity and remain in the Blueshirts' top six. Let's see what the kid can do with the team's two best set-up men.

So... how's it going, gang? Let's go Rangers!