Inquirer Daily News

Rangers host Flames seeking to snap home skid

(SportsNetwork.com) - Madison Square Garden has been anything but a home-ice advantage for the New York Rangers this season.

The Blueshirts look to snap a four-game slide and win for the first time on the longest homestand in club history as they play host on Sunday night to the Calgary Flames.

The Rangers have lost four straight (0-3-1) at the head of their nine-game residency. They are 5-9-1 as the hosting team this season.

New York's latest setback came on Thursday, a 4-2 defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets scored three goals in the first period, chasing Henrik Lundqvist out of net following 11:10 of action.

Lundqvist made just 10 saves before being lifted. Cam Talbot saved 13-of-14 shots upon taking over for Lundqvist, who was making his fifth straight start and is expected to be in net again tonight.

Dominic Moore and Dan Girardi each scored for New York, while Rick Nash failed to log a shot in his first ever meeting with his former club.

"It's tough," Rangers forward Brad Richards said of his team's struggles. "It seems like everything is going the wrong way."

New York was without Ryan Callahan (sprained knee), Marc Staal (concussion) and Derick Brassard (lower body) due to injury, though the latter returned to practice on Saturday and is expected to play tonight.

The Flames won the opener of a five-game road trip on Saturday, getting past the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in overtime. Matt Stajan had the winner 42 seconds into the bonus frame.

Paul Byron scored in regulation and set up Stajan's winner, finding his teammate near the point, where Stajan looked like he might take a shot before skating into the left circle.

"I had just come off the bench and he saw me coming in. I was actually looking to one-time it, but he threw the pass to me pretty hard," said Stajan. "It was actually a good thing because it was almost like a fake shot."

Karri Ramo made 26 saves in the Flames' first win at Buffalo since March 15, 1996. They had eight losses and one tie in their previous nine trips.

The Flames won their second straight and for the fifth time in the past seven overall.

Calgary also got a boost when rookie center Sean Monahan returned to action for the first time since suffering a hairline fracture in his foot on Nov. 27.

Ramo will get the start again tonight for Calgary and has faced New York once before. He picked up a victory on Jan. 8, 2008 with Tampa Bay after stopping 31-of-34 shots faced.

Lundqvist is 2-2-0 with a 2.71 GAA in four career starts versus the Flames.

The Rangers have won two straight over the Flames and have won seven of the past 11 meetings at home.

12/15 10:42:50 ET