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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, April 8th (All times Eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (34-33-11) at New York Rangers (43-31-5), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers didn't have to break a sweat to clinch a postseason berth Monday night, but the playoff-bound club will try to halt a two-game slide when it hosts the Carolina Hurricanes in Tuesday's clash at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers officially earned a spot in the 2014 playoffs thanks to New Jersey's regulation loss to Calgary on Monday night. New York could have locked up a postseason berth on its own by gaining a single point on Saturday, but dropped a 3-2 regulation decision against the visiting Ottawa Senators.

With 91 points through 79 games, the Rangers are currently second in the Metropolitan Division and two points ahead of the third-place Philadelphia Flyers.

The Rangers should feel good about facing tonight's opponent, as New York had won 10 straight in this series before the Hurricanes recorded a 3-1 home win on March 11. That was the first victory for Carolina in this matchup since another home win on Jan. 20, 2011.

New York still carries a five-game home winning streak against the Hurricanes.

After losing Thursday's 3-2 shootout decision to Colorado at the end of a four-game road trip, the Rangers returned home to lose to Ottawa in regulation. Senators goaltender Robin Lehner stopped 41 shots, including 13 in the third period, to frustrate New York in the 3-2 setback at MSG.

Mats Zuccarello netted both goals for the Rangers, while Henrik Lundqvist came up with 31 saves in the loss.

"It's obviously very disappointing," Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said in reference to his club failing to lock up a postseason berth. "We are still in a good spot here. It's in our hands to get that win in our next game at home and hopefully secure home ice in the first round."

New York is playing the second test of a three-game homestand, which will end Thursday against Buffalo before the Blueshirts cap their regular season Saturday in Montreal. The Rangers are 18-17-4 as the host compared to an impressive 25-14-1 road record.

Sitting eight points out of a playoff spot with four games left, Carolina is on the brink of being officially eliminated from the playoffs. When the inevitable happens it will mark the Hurricanes' fifth consecutive year out of the postseason.

Carolina had won consecutive games and earned a point in five straight (3-0-2) before losing Saturday against visiting New Jersey, 3-1. Dainius Zubrus scored twice and Cory Schneider stopped 26 shots, as the Devils stayed relevant in the Eastern Conference playoff race while pushing the Hurricanes closer to the edge of elimination.

Jeff Skinner supplied Carolina's lone goal, while Anton Khudobin allowed two goals on 22 shots for the Hurricanes. Skinner's goal was his 31st of the season, matching the career-best total he set as a rookie in 2010-11.

"I don't think we had our legs," Skinner admitted. "We couldn't really generate much, but I think that's just sort of ... we just need to work a little harder."

The Hurricanes will play three of their last four regular-season games on the road, where the club is 16-17-5 this season. Carolina will host Washington on Thursday before ending the campaign with stops in Detroit and Philadelphia this weekend.

04/08 10:51:58 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUR 13
SWB 10
 
5:05pm Tonight
ROC
DUR
 
Final
SEA 2
TOR 8
Final
HOU 10
DET 8
Final
BAL 2
MIA 5
Final
CIN 2
CLE 5
Final
OAK 7
TAM 2
Final
ANA 1
BOS 6
Final
MIL 1
ATL 2
Final
NYM 1
PIT 9
Final
PHI 1
WAS 4
Final
MIN 8
CWS 1
Final
STL 6
KAN 1
Final
CHC 3
ARI 4
Final
SDP 11
LOS 3
Final
SFG 2
COL 11
Final
TEX 5
NYY 2
1:05pm Today
KAN
NYY
 
1:10pm Today
COL
CIN
 
1:10pm Today
PHI
NYM
 
1:35pm Today
HOU
BAL
 
2:10pm Today
BOS
MIN
 
2:10pm Today
SFG
MIL
 
2:20pm Today
WAS
CHC
 
4:05pm Today
DET
OAK
 
4:10pm Today
TEX
CLE
 
4:15pm Today
ARI
STL
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIA
PIT
 
7:07pm Tonight
CWS
TOR
 
7:10pm Tonight
SEA
TAM
 
8:10pm Tonight
ATL
LOS
 
9:05pm Tonight
SDP
ANA
 
Final
ATL 111
CLE 114
9:00pm Tonight
GSW
HOU
 
Final
TAM 2
NYR 0
9:00pm Tonight
CHI
ANA
 
Final
DUR 13
SWB 10
 
5:05pm Tonight
ROC
DUR