The New York Rangers will look to extend their win streak to six straight Thursday night against their divisional rivals, the Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers perfected their Western Conference road trip this season and will look to carry their elite play forward.
Carolina will be no easy opponent, as the Hurricanes are only one game behind the Blueshirts for the Metropolitan lead. The Rangers will be back at home with their fans by their side, but it will take a lot to pull out another victory.
1. The Rangers carry their momentum back to New York
With the Rangers on a five-game win streak, momentum is certainly in their favor. However, the Hurricanes happen to be on a three-game streak as well currently.
The Rangers have been stellar on the road this season, and they will now look to replicate those performances back at home. It’s the first time the Rangers will be at MSG in five games, so it will be nice to see the Blueshirts wearing their infamous blue sweaters.
After a week of traveling and three days off since their last match, the Rangers will hopefully be energized and ready to put on a show at the garden.
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2. The kids start to heat up again
Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, and Filip Chytil have all earned themselves top-six roles this season. Each has performed considerably well, but all three have been relatively quiet as of late. Chytil has yet to score his first goal, Lafreniere has gone scoreless in recent games, and Kakko still sits at just two points on the year.
Carolina is filled to the brim with incredible offensive threats. It will be tough to keep them off the scoresheet, but when they inevitably do score, New York will need to find a way to put more pucks in the net than them. The Rangers’ stars have been consistent to start the year, but if the Blueshirts want to take down the Hurricanes, the kids will need to heat back up.
3. Shesterkin puts on an elite show in net
Igor Shesterkin has looked solid to start the year. He isn’t looking as perfect as he usually does, but there are no complaints about his performances thus far. But if the Rangers want to beat the Hurricanes, he’ll need to look like a brick wall in net tomorrow.
To start the year, Shesterkin has a GAA of 2.56 and a save percentage of .905%. Again, not bad, but it needs to be better. If Igor and the defense do not elevate their game, Carolina could very easily light the lamp more times than the Rangers would like.