|Surging Rangers look for road win against Hurricanes|
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes have a common theme as they prepare to meet for the first time this season Wednesday night.
They are both on pretty good rolls as they carry good vibes into the matchup at PNC Arena.
"The league is so competitive you have to be on the top of your game every night to get any points," Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. "It's hard to see a difference between teams. It's going to be a tight race right to the end, I think. The deciding factor is going to be consistency."
That is something that has been preached by the Hurricanes as well.
"We feel good about ourselves and it's always more fun to play with a little smile and have some fun out there," Carolina left winger Teuvo Teravainen said.
The Rangers are 6-2-0 this month, with the lone two defeats coming in the team's last two road outings.
In Carolina's last eight games, it holds a 5-1-2 record.
Yet both teams are in the bottom half of the Metropolitan Division's standings, so that adds importance to this game.
Part of what has made the Hurricanes click is the offense provided by Teravainen and center Sebastian Aho. Teravainen has been so strong that he was named the NHL's First Star of the Week after posting five goals and five assists with a plus-5 plus/minus rating in the last four games.
"I think we are getting a couple of lucky bounces, but I think we are working hard," Teravainen said. "I think we have four good lines and any of those lines can score and help this team. For a few games now, it has been our line."
The Rangers have pointed to good penalty-killing for helping their cause recently. The Hurricanes have mostly been ragged on power plays, though that changed in their latest game when they scored twice on power plays against the New York Islanders.
The Rangers have benefitted from some good starts.
"It helps when you get the lead," Lundqvist said. "I think the last few weeks I've been playing a little bit more aggressive."
The Hurricanes haven't always excelled early in games, but that is something that is emphasized.
"Part of our foundation is starting on time," Carolina coach Bill Peters said, pointing to Sunday's game when his team posted two goals in the first four minutes.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said part of his team's recent success has come through better "understanding our opponent and what we need to do."
The Rangers have tallied three or more goals in six of their last seven games.
"It's an opportunity for us to build off what we've done so far," forward Mika Zibanejad said.
On the flip side, Carolina has allowed more than two goals only twice in the last eight games.
The game marks a meeting of brothers -- Rangers defenseman Marc Staal and Carolina center Jordan Staal.
This will be the second game of a four-game homestand for Carolina. For the Rangers, it's the only road assignment during a six-game stretch.
Lundqvist is 25-11-1 with two shutouts, a 2.11 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage in his career vs. the Hurricanes.