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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, March 12, 2018
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York  Attendance: 17,679

Hurricanes in survival mode as postseason hopes fade

Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers

  1. When the Hurricanes collected 16 more shots on goal than Chicago last Thursday (40-24), it was the 50th time this season that Carolina had outshot its opponent, the most in the NHL. It also was the 22nd time the Hurricanes had totaled at least 10 more shots on goal than their opponent, tops in the league.
  2. After losing three straight games (0-2-1), the Rangers are in last place in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind the seventh-place Islanders. The Rangers' 8-18-2 record since January 7 represents the lowest point percentage (.321) in the league over that span.
  3. The Rangers have outscored the Hurricanes by a combined margin of 11-2 while winning their first two encounters of 2017-18. The lopsided victories improved New York's record versus Carolina to 23-4-0 since February 2011, which is the highest point percentage (.852) over that span in any series that has featured at least 15 games.
  4. Jeff Skinner collected nine shots on goal last Thursday, matching a season high. He's now generated at least one shot on goal in each of his last 88 games, the second-longest active streak in the league (Dougie Hamilton, 153).
  5. Henrik Lundqvist has allowed a single goal in each of two starts versus Carolina this season, going 2-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a .970 save percentage. His 27 career wins versus the Hurricanes are the second most by any goalie against the Canes since they moved to Carolina in 1997 (Martin Brodeur, 33).
  6. Mats Zuccarello has scored goals in back-to-back games for the first time since March 2016. It's one shy of the longest streak of Zuccarello's career (three straight games on two occasions). His 23 career points versus the Hurricanes are his most against any opponent.

NEW YORK -- It has been nearly a month since the Carolina Hurricanes held sole possession of the final wild-card spot in a crowded Eastern Conference playoff race.

Since then, the losses are piling up but the Hurricanes are coming off one of their better showings of late heading into Monday's visit to the New York Rangers, who have won 14 straight home games in the series.

On Feb. 15, the Hurricanes owned 63 points and a one-point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets. They were tied in points with the New York Islanders on Feb. 18-19 but have steadily fallen further away since.

By the end of February, Carolina trailed Columbus by four points and, heading into Monday, the Hurricanes are six points behind the Blue Jackets. Carolina has 14 games left to make up the deficit but also must contend with the Florida Panthers, who are four points ahead.

The Hurricanes are in this struggle for survival in the playoff race because, since going 6-2-1 from Jan. 25-Feb. 13, they are 3-6-2 in their last 11 games.

Carolina last played Thursday when Sebastian Aho scored the tiebreaking power-play goal in the third period and Justin Williams had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win at Chicago. Beating the Blackhawks moved Carolina to within four points of the final wild-card spot, but it lost two more points in the standings when Columbus won on Friday and New Jersey won Saturday.

Carolina's quest for a wild-card spot is occurring during a change in management. New owner Tom Dundon moved Ron Francis from GM to a newly created role as the team's president of hockey operations, and the players are not concerned about the change impacting their on-ice performance.

"It doesn't affect what we do day to day at all," Williams told reporters. "There are no changes coming right now. Certainly, he's still going to be around. It's not like we're never going to see him again.

"There are obviously some changes being made, and our product on the ice will probably determine how many guys are left here.

Williams went without a goal for eight games from Feb. 10-27 but has four in his last five games. Teuvo Teravainen, who leads the team with 53 points, has six goals in his last nine.

Aho matched his goal total from his rookie season on Thursday and has three goals in his last six games.

Scott Darling made 22 saves in his return to Chicago and is expected to start again Monday. He is 3-7-1 in his last 11 appearances.

Though not mathematically eliminated, the Rangers (30-32-7) are 10 points out after a 4-3 shootout loss at Florida on Saturday. The Rangers are 3-2-1 in six games since the trade deadline.

New York put together its first three-game winning streak since mid-December by sweeping a Western Canada swing but have were outscored 8-3 to Winnipeg and Tampa Bay before coming back against Florida in an eventual 4-3 loss in the shootout on Saturday.

Mats Zuccarello, Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes scored in regulation while Ryan Spooner collected two assists.

"Everybody's got something to prove, and we're trying to prove that we can win," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told reporters. "Unfortunately, we didn't get it done."

New York is 6-15-2 in its last 23 games, but Hayes and Spooner are playing well of late.

Hayes has scored seven of his career-high in 20 goals in his last 10 games while Spooner has two goals and 10 assists in seven games since being acquired from Boston for Rick Nash on Feb. 25.

On Saturday, Spooner and Hayes were on a line with Zuccarello, who has scored goals in consecutive games for the first time this season.

"He's been working hard all year long, but for whatever reason, with the puck, he's had a hard time making the plays that we normally see him (make)," Vigneault told reporters of Zuccarello, "But he is a very sensitive young man, and I think everything that's happened around our group has had some effect on him. But at the end of the day, he's got to play well for our team to have success."

The Rangers outscored Carolina 11-2 in the first two meetings. New York is 22-4 in the last 26 meetings since the start of the 2011-12 season and its home winning streak is the longest against any opponent in team history.

Updated March 11, 2018

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