Canes Now

Canes face another streaking team in Rangers

The Canes were able to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, who had won six straight games before coming into PNC Arena on Thursday.

Now, what about the New York Rangers?

The Rangers (15-10-4) have won their last four and six of the last eight. They've won 12 of the last 13 games against Carolina, scoring four or more goals nine times.

"Similar test," Canes coach Bill Peters said Saturday. "Both teams hot coming in, very good in their last 10 and both teams have good goaltending."

The Leafs had Jonathan Bernier in net. But the Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist, who has been all but unbeatable against the Canes, going 10-2-0 in his past 12 appearances with a 1.78 goals-against average and .943 save percentage.

The Canes (9-19-3), who beat the Leafs 4-1 to end a six-game slide, did not practice Friday. Captain Eric Staal, who has been experiencing some soreness, was not at the morning skate but will play, Peters said.

"The best thing to do with what he's got going on right now is to limit the time he actually skates other than the games," Peters said. "Hopefully the few days (off) at Christmas gets him over the hump and he can resume skating with practice and pregame."

Peters said the lineup would remain the same from the Leafs game. Cam Ward again will start in net and Alexander Semin, who has missed the last five games with a lower-body injury, will again be a scratch.

Semin went through the morning skate and continues to practice with the Canes, unlike injured forwards Jiri Tlusty and Andrej Nestrasil. Defenseman John-Michael Liles (upper-body injury) was at the skate but will miss his third straight game.

Since Nov. 1, Ward has a 2.13 GAA and .923 save percentage. He had 25 saves against the Leafs, earning the fireman's helmet as the team MVP in the win.

Peters smiled when a question was posed about the Canes' most recent victories, about the ability to beat such good teams as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators and the Maple Leafs.

"I thought you were going to say we beat the Leafs, Predators, ourselves," he said, tongue in cheek.

"When we won those games we haven't beat ourselves," Peters added. "We haven't made it harder than it needs to be. We didn't do that on Thursday. I thought we started on time and didn't make those mistakes that end up in the back of your net.

“It's more about how we play on each and every given night. It's about us coming with the right mindset and playing with energy."

The Rangers, finishing up a four-game road trip, did not have a full team skate Saturday at PNC Arena. One player on the ice was Derick Brassard, who has been out the last two games because of the mumps but said he planned on playing Saturday.

The Canes and Rangers both will fly to New York immediately after the game and face off again Sunday at Madison Square Garden to finish up the back-to-back.

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