New York Rangers-4 Carolina Hurricanes-1
Both teams hit the ice moving fast and ready to play a very uptempo game. It took Carolina’s Patrick Dwyer only 3:22 to get a loose puck past Henrik Lundqvist and to take the early lead. Benoit Pouliot had the puck stripped away along the boards leading up to the floating shot over Lundqvist’s glove side shoulder. Brian Boyle had a great opportunity to tie the game but he hit the post, again, for who knows how many games in a row now. Carolina was all over Lundqvist after that first goal snuck in, he shut the door and kept the puck out of his net. The first power play of the game favored the Rangers as Alexander Semin tripped John Moore in a play for the puck against the boards. Brad Richards nailed the back of the net on the short side of Cam Ward, beating his blocker, after only nine seconds. Mats Zuccarello was absolutely robbed of the go ahead goal that defies logic by not getting to the back of the net. Jesper Fast really got involved in some great plays, including setting up a shot for Richards and covering for Raphael Diaz who was really over pinching, to make a case for keeping himself in the line-up. The teams headed to the dressing rooms tied, in goals, at one and, in shots, at 10.
The teams returned to the ice ready to play and Zuccarello set up Pouliot for a beautiful goal 50 seconds into the period. Both players extended their point streaks and kept the third line chemistry going. The Rangers kept a spring in their step and Brian Boyle had a really strong presence on the back check. The period was very fast paced and both teams played a strong north-south game. Both goalies kept their teams holding strong until Carolina’s Jeff Skinner went to the box for elbowing Zuccarello at 13:08. Once again Richards nailed the power play goal at 13:36 to put the Rangers up by two goals. With so many great shots during the period. The period came to a close with the teams tied in shots at 11.
Carolina came out of the dressing room still fighting to regain some ground. They moved well and were strong on the puck. Despite several great shots it took Derek Stepan 4:38 to make his mark by tipping in a shot from Martin St. Louis. The period was rather fast paced and Ward was under regular fire from the Rangers. The only penalty of the period came at 10:26 when Justin Faulk (not the Ranger) tripped Zuccarello. It was the only power play the Rangers did not convert. So many times the puck seemed sure to go in the net but Ward stood tall and kept fighting until the end. The Hurricanes bested the Rangers in draws but it wasn’t enough to make up for the 7-14 shot deficit. The Rangers ended the game on a high note, in front of mom and dad Staal. The Rangers had 35 shots in the game, and several posts. The Hurricanes registered only 28 shots.
The Rangers next host the Buffalo Sabres at 7:00pm ET