New York Rangers (33-26-4) at Carolina Hurricanes (27-26-9)
|Date & Time||Friday March 7, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Carolina Hurricanes +100 / New York Rangers -110 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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It was a stunning trade deadline day for the New York Rangers who watched as their captain Ryan Callahan was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Martin St. Louis. Callahan and the Rangers could not come to an agreement on a contract extension and it left the Blueshirts with no choice but to trade the 28 year old forward and get something in return. St. Louis is one of the most dynamic players in the league and he forced his way to New York after disagreements with general manager Steve Yzerman over not being selected for teh Canadian Olympic team. Now in the thick of a playoff race St. Louis will be expected to elevate the offensive production of a Rangers squad that can have trouble scoring goals at times. Regardless of whether or not St. Louis helps the offense the club still isn't going to go anywhere if goaltender Henrik Lundqvist continues to struggle. Heading into the Olympic break Lundqvist was outstanding but since he returned from Sochi with his silver medal he has lost three straight games. The Rangers can't afford to keep losing ground in the standings and it was good they managed to rally on Wednesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs for a point. Trailing 2-0 early in the third period the Rangers got shorthanded goals on the same power play from Ryan McDonagh and Dominic Moore to even the score at 2-2 before Toronto would eventually win it in overtime. New York will travel to Carolina for the first of two games in Raleigh over the next few days to take on a Hurricanes squad that looked all but dead before their impressive overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks the other night. it still looks like it will be almost impossible for the Hurricanes to make up this difference in the standings but with a few games in a row coming up against teams they're chasing in the Metropolitan Division it certainly looks like it's now or never for this club. It has been a disappionting year for Carolina who still is looking to solve their problems in goal despite getting Cam Ward back from injury this year. Ward hasn't looked like the same player and Anton Khudobin has taken over as the main man between the pipes for the Hurricanes. With a win on Friday night the Hurricanes could start to get themselves back into this tight race but it's not going to be easy against a New York club that's desperate not to lose four straight at this time of year. Mats Zuccarello will be a game time decision in this one for New York who could desperately use his production back in the lineup after the Norweigian broke his hand during the Olympics. This should be a good game on Friday but the Rangers are absolutely desperate and have more of a realistic chance to make a run here than Carolina. Lundqvist will start in goal and he'll need to elevate his game to lift this club to a win.