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(Friday, March 7th)
Final Score: NY Rangers 4, Carolina 2
Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Derek Stepan's power-play goal with 2:46 remaining highlighted a third-period rally that lifted the New York Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
All four New York scores came in the final 12:35 of play, with the newly acquired Martin St. Louis setting up Stepan's tally on a 5-on-3 power play that snapped a 2-2 deadlock.
Both Stepan and Rick Nash finished with a goal and an assist in the Rangers' 10th straight win over Carolina, with Ryan McDonagh adding a shorthanded marker and Carl Hagelin sealing the outcome with an empty netter.
Henrik Lundqvist posted 22 saves to help New York halt a three-game skid.
The Hurricanes were dealt a sixth loss in seven outings despite Anton Khudobin's 40-save effort and goals from Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner.
Khudobin was sensational over the first two periods as well as the early part of the third, enabling Carolina to carry a 1-0 lead it had a chance to extend when New York's Mats Zuccarello was sent off for holding stick at the 6:36 mark.
However, Nash dug the puck out of his own end and started a transition rush that McDonagh joined and soon ended with a blast that went through the pads of Khudobin to tie the game on the Rangers' 31st shot of the night.
"We talked about in between the second and third periods not to change the way we were playing," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault remarked. "It's a funny game. We were shorthanded and Mac gets an opportunity that goes through their goaltender. From there it just seemed to give us a little bit of momentum."
A penalty shot awarded to Skinner, hooked from behind by Anton Stralman on a breakaway created by a New York turnover, put Carolina back in front when he beat Lundqvist glove-side with 7:53 to go.
The lead lasted only 77 seconds, however, as Nash's shot from the right circle deflected off the stick of Hurricanes' defenseman Andrej Sekera and past Khudobin to forge a 2-2 tie with 6:36 left.
Penalties by Ron Hainsey and Brett Bellemore 32 seconds apart for shooting the puck over the glass gave New York a two-man advantage with just under four minutes to play. The 5-on-3 chance also led to St. Louis' first point as a Ranger when he drew in the defense from the right slot and fired a pass across the crease that a wide-open Stepan jammed home.
"He made a nice pass," said Vigneault of St. Louis. "[The power play] is something that we haven't practiced since Marty's been with us, but he did a good job of explaining what we were looking for and he made a great play."
Khudobin was pulled for an extra skater with just over a minute remaining, but a Carolina giveaway set up Hagelin's backhand clincher that came with 41 seconds on the clock.
"To have a lead that late, you've got to be able to hold that off and win the hockey game and we didn't do it," said Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller.
The Rangers peppered Khudobin with 15 shots during the opening period, but he turned away them all and was given a 1-0 edge later on in the frame.
Alexander Semin dumped a pass into the New York zone that Staal took in to create a 2-on-1 situation, then rocketed a riser over Lundqvist's glove 2:11 prior to the first intermission.
The Rangers did nearly come up with the game's initial goal less than four minutes in, but Zuccarello's deflection that snuck over the line as he fell into the crease was ruled to have come after the whistle had blown.
Khudobin continued to shine in the second period, making 11 more saves that included a sprawling left-pad stop on Carl Hagelin's follow-up try in close midway through the session.
Carolina lost for only the second time in regulation this season (15-2-3) when leading after two periods ... McDonagh has now scored in three straight games, including another shorthander in Wednesday's home loss to Toronto ... Lundqvist registered his 299th career victory, two shy of matching Mike Richter's franchise mark for wins by a goaltender ... Zuccarello returned to the Rangers' lineup after sitting out the team's first four games following the break due to a broken hand he sustained while playing in the Olympics ... Sekera skated in his 400th career NHL game.
03/07 23:00:18 ET
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