Face Off at The Garden

The New York Rangers probably wanted to believe in the old adage that defense wins championships early this season. They may not be feeling the same now.

The struggling Rangers hope to avoid matching a season-high four-game losing streak Wednesday night when they face the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made New York -153 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 6 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 77% of bets for this game have been placed on Carolina +143 View NHL Bet Percentages).

During an early-season offensive slump that saw them score two goals or fewer in 11 of their first 15 games, the Rangers (17-15-4) still managed a 7-7-1 record thanks to strong defensive play and Henrik Lundqvist's goaltending.

New York's offense improved enough for it to put together an 8-2-1 run over the next three weeks that moved it near the top of the Atlantic Division.

During the last 10 games, however, the Rangers are 2-6-2 and have been outscored 37-21. Even Lundqvist hasn't been immune to the slump, going 2-4-2 with two shutouts and a 3.42 goals-against average in his last eight starts.

"You've got to bring an 'A' game every night, and you've got to battle through things that may not bounce your way. You've got to persevere, Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "And until we are ready to embrace that opportunity, these nights are going to happen more than we want them to."

Despite the return of abrasive forward Sean Avery, New York's slump continued Sunday with a 3-1 home loss to Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa.

Scott Gomez scored for the Rangers, who dropped to 3-6-0 in their last nine at MSG.

"We get the lead and we're just in a bad stretch right now. We're in a rut," Gomez said. "Maybe we've got to get a two-goal lead and go from there. We're not going to change anything, get the lead and keep going."

Avery returned after missing 11 games following wrist surgery. The Rangers fell to 9-5-1 in games he's played this season. New York was 8-10-3 during his two injury stints.

"I'm not going to be effective unless I get into the game. I just tried to do that," Avery said. "I've got to stay in the lineup and stay healthy."

While Gomez has four goals and eight assists during a nine-game point streak, captain Jaromir Jagr has gone 10 games without a goal. Jagr has seven goals in 36 games this season after he had 16 at this point in 2006-07.

The Rangers' 2-6-2 skid started Dec. 3 with a 4-0 home loss to Southeast Division-leading Carolina (19-15-3).

The Hurricanes lost four of their next five games before rebounding to win three of four, including a 4-1 victory Saturday at Tampa Bay.

Ray Whitney scored twice, and Cam Ward made 29 saves as Carolina beat the Lightning for the second time in five meetings this season.

"This team has been a problem for us," Whitney said. "I think patience was what won it for us. We didn't force too many things."

Whitney, who has four goals and two assists in his last three games, is one of six Hurricanes with at least 30 points. No other has more than four with that many.

The Rangers had won three straight against the Hurricanes before Ward shut them out in the most recent meeting.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

More NHL Hockey coverage from theSpread.com

 - NHL Hockey news wire
 - NHL top stories
 - Current NHL injuries
 - NHL Hockey schedule
 - NHL Hockey standings
 - NHL goalie stats
 - NHL Hockey scoreboard
 - NHL Hockey odds
 - NHL public betting charts
 - Expert NHL Picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NHL Home

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Oilers vs. Ducks Game 1 Pick Will the Anaheim Ducksstay perfect in the NHL Playoffswhen they host the Edmonton Oilers...
Thumbnail Wild vs. Blues Game 1 Pick The second round of the NHL Playoffs begin today when the St. Louis Blues host the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their series...
Thumbnail Updated Stanley Cup Odds The Stanley Cup Playoffs are down to their final eight teams. Here is an updated look at the odds to claim the Cup as we enter the...
Thumbnail Leafs vs. Capitals Game 6 Pick Will the Washington Capitals put the Toronto Maple Leafs away for good when the two meet in Game 6 today at...
Thumbnail Senators vs. Bruins Game 6 Pick Can the Boston Bruins force a Game 7 with the Ottawa Senators when the two meet today for Game 6 at 3PM ET?

NHL Headlines

NHL Team Pages