New York (16-16-3) at Carolina (9-20-6)

Cloudy Currently: Raleigh, NC
Temp: 59° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Mon Dec 21, 2009
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An expletive-filled tirade from coach John Tortorella may have helped the New York Rangers shake a listless stretch. Facing some lowly opponents likely also helped.

The Rangers try to continue their improved play Monday night when they visit the NHL-worst Carolina Hurricanes.

New York (16-16-3) lost for the fifth time in a row Wednesday, 2-1 at home to the Islanders to make them 1-6-2 in their previous nine. The performance drew the ire of the fiery Tortorella, who among of things, called it “unacceptable.”

The harsh criticism appears to have worked.

The Rangers beat the Islanders 5-2 on Thursday to split the home-and-home series before winning 2-1 at last-place Philadelphia on Saturday. Henrik Lundqvist(notes) cemented Saturday’s victory with 16 of his 36 saves in the third period.

“We found a way to win,” Tortorella said. “I thought Henrik was outstanding, especially in that third period. He played really well when he had to.”

Tortorella has made three moves since Wednesday’s defeat, benching underperforming veterans Wade Redden(notes) and Ales Kotalik(notes) while demoting captain Chris Drury(notes) to the fourth line.

Tortorella hasn’t announced if Redden or Kotalik will be back Monday, but Drury will be looking to score in a third consecutive game for the first time a four-game streak from Jan. 31-Feb. 5, 2008.

The center’s two goals in as many games followed a 19-game drought. He has four goals on the season after scoring 22 in 2008-09.

New York is trying to sweep a three-game road trip after going 4-6-2 in its previous 12 on the road. The team hasn’t won three in a row overall since a seven-game run from Oct. 3-17.

The Rangers, though, have dropped eight of their last 10 at the RBC Center and both games there last season. They took the other two meetings with Carolina at Madison Square Garden, where the clubs will meet Jan. 2, two nights after opening a home-and-home set in Raleigh.

The Hurricanes (9-20-6) are dealing with injuries to left wings Erik Cole(notes) (upper body) and Chad LaRose(notes) (lower body) and defenseman Joe Corvo(notes) (calf), but have won two of three after beating Florida 3-2 on Saturday to gain a split of that home-and-home series.

Patrick Dwyer is seeing increased playing time due to the absences and making the most of his chance. The right wing had goals in each of the last two games after coming up empty in his previous nine.

“They’re putting me in the position to succeed,” Dwyer said. “But at the same time, I have to keep doing what I do and not veer from what I do.”

Cam Ward(notes) will likely be in net again after making 28 saves Saturday. He has mostly struggled this season, posting a 4-11-4 record and 3.12 goals-against average. Ward, however, thrives at home against the Rangers, going 4-2-0 with a 2.01 GAA and one shutout.

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Monday, Dec 21