Rangers-Hurricanes Preview

The Associated Press

Martin St. Louis' first game in front of his new fans didn't go quite as well as the New York Rangers had hoped.

The deadline-day acquisition will try for his first win with his new team Friday night when the Rangers visit Carolina looking to end a three-game winless streak and extend their recent success against the Hurricanes.

The Rangers, who have won nine straight against Carolina, will also have some blue-line help with Raphael Diaz expected to join them. The defenseman, with his third team this season, was acquired Wednesday from Vancouver for a 2015 fifth-round draft pick.

New York (33-26-4) suffered a 3-2 overtime loss to Toronto at home Wednesday in its first game with Tampa Bay's former captain and top scorer on board. St. Louis was held off the scoresheet, but New York rallied from two down in the third period with goals from Ryan McDonagh and Dominic Moore to gain a point in the standings.

"Tonight was a gutsy comeback," St. Louis said. "Unfortunately we didn't get the extra point, but I was happy to come here and just break the ice."

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves and wasn't quite as happy with only a point. In three games back from the Olympic break, Lundqvist is 0-2-1 with a 4.36 goals-against average and .860 save percentage.

"Every point is important right now. It's annoying the way it ends," Lundqvist said. "We played really well and worked ourselves back into this game. It's a big frustration right now to not come out of it with two points."

Those personal numbers could turn around against the Hurricanes as he prepares for his fourth straight start. Lundqvist is 6-0-0 with a 1.61 GAA and .949 save percentage against them during the Rangers' current stretch of dominance in the series.

Most recently, he bested them in the only matchup between the two this season, a 5-1 home win for the Rangers on Nov. 2. New York hasn't lost to Carolina since Jan. 20, 2011.

Carl Hagelin scored twice and has nine points in seven career games against the Hurricanes. He didn't practice Thursday on what the Rangers' official Twitter feed referred to as a maintenance day.

Fellow left wing Mats Zuccarello, who fractured his hand Feb. 16 while representing Norway in the Olympics and has missed the Rangers' four games since, is considered a game-time decision. He entered the Olympic break with eight points on a six-game point streak.

The Hurricanes made one move at the deadline, sending left wing Tuomo Ruutu to New Jersey in exchange for center Andrei Loktionov and a conditional third-round pick in 2017.

The 23-year-old Loktionov has 12 points in 48 games during his first full NHL season.

Carolina (27-26-9) snapped a season-worst losing streak Tuesday with a 3-2 overtime win at San Jose, completing a five-game road trip with a 1-4-0 record. Prior to beating the Sharks, the team lost five straight in regulation for the second time this season.

"Obviously the last few games haven't been pretty," center Jordan Staal said. "You could tell we started moving the puck and just playing with a little bit of swagger, a little bit of confidence. You can tell when we're moving the puck that we look like a fast team and we are a fast team."

Jiri Tlusty and defenseman Jay Harrison scored, Elias Lindholm had a goal and an assist and defenseman Andrej Sekera extended his point streak to five games with a pair of assists.

Top defenseman Justin Faulk, who missed the game with an upper-body injury, remains out, and the club has called up defenseman Ryan Murphy from AHL Charlotte.

The Rangers and Hurricanes will close the season series with three games between now and April 8.

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