The New York Rangers topped the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-1 tonight, and they earned two big points in the standings tonight. Henrik Lundqvist played his best game of the season tonight, as he faced well over 50 shots, and only allowed a single goal. The Rangers power play also went 2-for-5 tonight, as they continued to put together a useful power play.
If you watched the first period, you can easily tell that the Rangers played a hard fought game last night, and needed a little bit of time to get their legs back under them. However, the Rangers did rebound in the second half of the period, and were able to generate a decent amount of scoring chances to keep Dan Ellis on his toes. The first period would end in a scoreless tie, before the Rangers finally got going in the second period.
Jiri Tlusty took an early interference penalty, which sent the Rangers to their first power play of the night. Just as the power play was about to expire, Ryane Clowe made a great chip play along the boards, and it went down to Brad Richards. The Hurricanes blew the coverage, and all centered their attention towards Brad Richards. Richards found Derek Stepan streaking right down the middle, and it one-timed it to give the Rangers the early 1-0 lead in the second period. Just thirty seconds later, Dan Ellis went to play the puck off of the ensuing faceoff, but Rick Nash came in with some speed, and challenged him behind the net. Nash got a piece of the puck, and shoveled it out in front of the net were Ryan Callahan was swinging by. Callahan chipped the puck into the empty net, and just like that the Rangers made it 2-0.
The Rangers eventually received their second power play of the game, and once again, made the best of their chances to go up by a score of 3-0. Mats Zuccarello has continued to impress since returning with the Rangers this season, and his great vision allows the Rangers to get better looks on the power play. Zuccarello faked the slap shot in the high slot, but passed up the opportunity, and passed it off to Rick Nash in front of the net. With three guys converging on him in front of the net, he turned his back and whipped a quick wrister on net, and beat Dan Ellis right over the blocker.
After giving up three goals in the second period, Dan Ellis' nigh was over after the second period, and Justin Peters came in to start the third period. Henrik Lundqvist continued his stellar play in the third period, and was a key reason why this game remained 0-0 after the third period. He has been giving the Rangers a chance in every game this season, and he continued that again tonight. Unfortunately, Henrik Lundqvist still has yet to record a shutout this season, and still couldn't grab one tonight. Zac Dalpe converted on a great centering pass from Jeff Skinner to get the Canes on the board, and cut the Rangers lead to two goals.
Following the goal, the Rangers began to get themselves in some trouble as they took two penalties in the final ten minutes of the game, and allowed the Hurricanes a chance to jump back into the game. But luckily for the Rangers, their penalty kill has been perfect over the last three games, and it came up big again tonight. They were able to stave off the remaining power plays, and Henrik Lundqvist played a huge part in that as well.
Brian Boyle would eventually put the icing on the cake as he slipped in an empty netter just as time expired, and the Rangers went on to win the game 4-1. It was a huge win for the Rangers, and they continue to hold on to the seventh playoff seed. They are also only two points out of the sixth seeded Ottawa Senators, and are slowly climbing back into the thick of the playoff race. The Rangers will be off tomorrow, before they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in yet another home-and-home series on Monday and Wednesday.