It’s weird seeing the Blueshirts play out the string.
After all, this hasn’t happened since the 2003-04 season. And it’s certainly an unwelcome experience for Henrik Lundqvist and Co.
As for Carolina, they’ve gotten used to not making the playoffs. But you have to believe this one hurts, because they were in the race up until a couple weeks ago.
So how do you get excited about an end of season game with nothing on the line?
You do so for the love of hockey. And both franchises have some intriguing young players trying to solidify roster spots for next season.
Therefore, even though this game means nothing to the standings. It does mean mean something to the players.
DEEP ROOTED CONNECTIONS
The Staal Brothers — Marc (Rangers) and Jordan (Carolina) — along with Eric (Minnesota), are the only trio of brothers in the history of Big Four Sports (NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA) who were all selected 12th overall or higher in their respective Drafts.
With the 157th overall pick (sixth-round) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft the Rangers selected Jesper Fast. They were in possession of the pick thanks to a trade with Carolina.
Jesper Fast: His recent hot-streak has Fast nearing a nice round number. And that number is 100 career points; he’s three away.
PLAYER TO WATCH
HURRICANES: SEBASTIAN AHO. The 20-year-old stud has improved across the board from a highly impressive rookie campaign. With 63 points, Aho leads the Hurricanes in points and ranks 43rd in the NHL. The ‘Canes have struck gold with Aho. Now they just need to build around him.
RANGERS: JIMMY VESEY. The Rangers’ second-year power forward has made tremendous strides in his development since the NHL’s Trade Deadline. With more room to grow, Vesey has been on a goal-scoring barrage; having cleared already cleared his rookie total of 16. With Ryan Spooner and Lias Andersson as his linemates, Vesey is well positioned to continue his development next season.
With Ondrej Pavelec having started against Tampa, expect Henrik Lundqvist to draw the start in Carolina.
WHERE TO WATCH
The game will be broadcast on MSG 2 at 7 pm ET. For in-game coverage check out our Twitter account@NYRBlueBulletin.
The start of the Rangers’ season-ending four game road trip didn’t go quite as planned.