The New York Rangers look like one of the hottest teams in the NHL. So, this could be a good chance for the Carolina Hurricanes to measure how they're playing.
The Hurricanes are still trying to adjust to new lineup combinations after the loss of All-Star forward Andrei Svechnikov to a season-ending knee injury.
Carolina visits the Rangers for Tuesday night's game in a clash between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Rangers (41-19-10, 92 points) have won four in a row by a combined score of 22-5, including the weekend domination of Pittsburgh by 6-0 and Nashville by 7-0.
"You just want to make sure the guys keep playing well," Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. "It's really coming together the last couple of games."
The Rangers and Hurricanes will meet in a rematch Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C.
The Hurricanes (45-15-8, 98 points) might want to get something going against the Rangers, who eliminated them last spring in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Further, New York won 5-3 on Jan. 3 at home and then 6-2 on Feb. 11 on the road in the first matchups of this season.
The Hurricanes have been shaky the past couple of outings, falling at Toronto on Friday before pulling out a stunning comeback to secure a 5-4 overtime victory Saturday at Philadelphia.
"It was a good lesson," coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We'll take the points this time of the year."
The Hurricanes took a break from the three-game stretch of road contests. With two days between games, they returned home prior to heading back on the road for the New York assignment.
Carolina players have acknowledged that the manner in which they won their latest game can't become a staple. The Hurricanes needed a goal in the final second of regulation to extend the game.
"We can't play like this every night," forward Sebastian Aho said. "We don't give ourselves the best chance to win these games. But obviously it's a little bit of a confidence builder to get the late goal there and be able to come out as the winner."
Aho's overtime goal gave him his third hat trick of the season. Teammate Martin Necas has three game-tying goals in the last minute of regulation this season.
The Hurricanes need boosts from players who can score with Svechnikov out of the lineup.
"It's the nature of the game, they know they need to score for us to win," Brind'Amour said. "With the guys we have out now, you count more and more on your top guys. (Aho) is one we have left as far as a game changer."
Both teams have had notable numbers for defensemen.
K'Andre Miller of the Rangers became the first blueliner in franchise history with four points in a period in Sunday's game.
"He's coming every game," Gallant said. "He wasn't cheating the defensive side of the game. He made his rushes and made his plays."
First-year Carolina defenseman Brent Burns has 52 points for the single-season franchise record for a defenseman.
--Field Level Media