|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 19, 2019
PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina Attendance: 13,343
Hurricanes not looking ahead with Rangers up next
New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
- After the Rangers won all four meetings last season -- all in regulation -- by a combined score of 19-6, the Hurricanes are 2-1-0 versus NYR in 2018-19. Carolina has 13 goals in the three games, including eight in an 8-5 home win on October 7, tying the most the team has ever scored versus NYR.
- New York has scored three-plus goals in six of its last seven games, with the lone exception a 3-0 shutout loss to Carolina on February 8. Since February 6, the team has 10 scored third-period goals and 11 total goals in the first and second periods.
- The Hurricanes have allowed five goals in their last five games (4-1-0), matching the fewest for the franchise in a single-season five-game span in its history, including its Hartford years. The team also allowed five goals in five-game spans in April 1998, October 1998 and November 2016.
- Entering play on January 12, Mats Zuccarello had skated in 30 games this season, totaling four goals and 15 points. In 14 games since that date, Zuccarello has put up seven goals and 22 points, with seven multi-point efforts. His 15 assists in that span rank fifth in the league.
- Sebastian Aho has scored 17 of his 24 goals this season on home ice. Since 2009-10, only one Carolina player has scored more than 17 goals at home in a season: Jeff Skinner scored 21 times in 41 home games in 2016-17.
- The Rangers are allowing 3.31 goals per game in 2018-19, the highest for the franchise since 2000-01 3.54). The Hurricanes have decreased their goals allowed per game by 0.33 from last season to this season (3.09 to 2.76); only the Islanders (-1.28) have enjoyed a larger improvement.
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Just because the Carolina Hurricanes pushed themselves into the top eight in the Eastern Conference briefly during the weekend doesn't mean they should be consumed by where they sit along the playoff line.
They're aware of the situation as they head down the stretch.
"We don't talk about it, but everyone knows where we're at," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said.
It's more about taking care of business on the ice, like in Tuesday night's game against the visiting New York Rangers in Raleigh, N.C.
The Hurricanes (33-22-6, 68 points) are riding a 16-5-1 wave across their last 22 games. That has put them squarely in the playoff conversation.
"At what point does it matter? It matters at the end of the year," Brind'Amour said. "It counts in about a month and a half."
But peeking at the situation is going to happen.
"Everybody has our eye on that because we want to be in the playoffs," Carolina left winger Brock McGinn said.
The Rangers (25-25-8, 58) complete a four-game road stretch with Tuesday night's game. They're 3-4-1 this month after Sunday's 6-5 loss at Pittsburgh, in which they erased a 3-1 lead before allowing three third-period goals.
"We don't quit. We keep coming," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "We have to stop digging ourselves those holes. Don't let the situation rattle you."
Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek posted a 27-save shutout of the Rangers on Feb. 8 in New York. He's coming off his second shutout of the month Saturday night when he blanked the Dallas Stars, stopping 33 shots.
"He was amazing," McGinn said. "We really feed off that, and it gives our team a lot of energy."
Even while winning the first two games of the three-game homestand, the Hurricanes have been outshot by the Edmonton Oilers (41-27) and Stars (33-27). That's why the steady -- and sometimes outstanding -- play from Mrazek and goaltender Curtis McElhinney has been so crucial.
"Giving us a chance when we're not at our best," Brind'Amour said.
New York right winger Mats Zuccarello has cranked up the offense recently. He has compiled seven points in the past four games.
"He has played really hard," Quinn said. "He has played well. That line has been good obviously."
Zuccarello is joined by left winger Chris Kreider and center Mika Zibanejad. In their last 14 games together, they've combined for 58 points.
Zuccarello, in particular, has been strong in games against Carolina, with 29 points in 30 career outings. He has more points against the Hurricanes than any other team in the league.
Rangers right winger Jesper Fast missed the Pittsburgh game because of illness. The New York lineup was also without defenseman Brady Skjei, who was held out with a lower-body injury. Quinn said Skjei, who suffered the ailment Friday at Buffalo, could be ready for the Carolina game after practicing Monday.
Carolina left winger Micheal Ferland has played in 300 career games. Fifty of those have been with the Hurricanes as he has racked up 33 points in those outings after only 89 points in his first 250 career games.
Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (concussion) returned to practice this week and shed his non-contact sweater on Monday, but it's unclear when he'll be back in the lineup. He last played Dec. 22.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 18, 2019