Hurricanes-Rangers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 17, 2013
The New York Rangers aren't pointing fingers anywhere but at themselves for their slump, which has dropped them out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They'll attempt to get back on track Monday night by earning a sixth straight victory over a Carolina Hurricanes team trying to end its own skid that has it fighting to reclaim the Southeast Division's top spot. Despite acquiring Rick Nash over the summer, New York (13-12-2) hasn't played near the level of its 2011-12 season that resulted in earning the East's top playoff seed. The Rangers have dropped to 10th in the conference while losing four of five, including Saturday's 3-0 defeat at red-hot Pittsburgh. "When you don't score, when you don't win (confidence) goes down," coach John Tortorella said. "We've got to work through it and just try to find our way here. We just have to stay with it. We've got good people, and we just need to have good things happen to us and hopefully we can grow that way." New York was outscored 9-2 while dropping the last three of a four-game road trip and knows it needs to pick things up if it hopes to qualify for the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons. ''It's gut-check time pretty much,'' defenseman Dan Girardi said. ''We've got to figure out what's going on here and play with some serious desperation. We're falling in the standings here.'' Henrik Lundqvist has lost his last four starts while allowing three goals three times and said he needs to raise his game moving forward. He's 3-3-0 with a 2.95 goals-against average in his last six starts versus Carolina. "I'm not going to come up with excuses," Lundqvist said. "We need to be better. You can try and explain yourself in certain scenarios, but the bottom line is we have to be better. "I hope we understand the importance of every game. If we want to be in the playoffs, we have to turn this around." The Rangers have been without defenseman Marc Staal since he took a puck to the eye March 5, and his absence Monday will delay having each of the three Staal brothers on the same ice as Eric's and Jordan's Hurricanes visit Madison Square Garden. Marc hopes to be healthy enough for the next meeting April 6 at Carolina, but in the meantime won't get the chance to prevent his brothers from helping the Hurricanes end a two-game skid. Carolina (15-11-1) lost 4-1 at Tampa Bay on Saturday - only its third defeat in nine games - and fell behind Winnipeg for first place in the Southeast. Captain Eric Staal scored his first goal since March 2 and has a team-high 33 points. ''I thought we played hard,'' coach Kirk Muller said. ''The competition was high, and we knew it was going to be a battle. It just wasn't our night.'' The Hurricanes went 0 for 4 on the power play and have scored on only 13 of 100 opportunities this season - a conversion rate that ranks 29th in the league. "We played around with some new combinations on the power play and we'll keep going at it," Muller said. It's unclear if Dan Ellis or Justin Peters, who made 22 saves Saturday, will be in net for Carolina, which has lost three straight at Madison Square Garden.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Barry Sanders shares thoughts on Megatron retirement talk

Report: Marshawn Lynch told friends he is retiring

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message

Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker