The New York Rangers were able to snap their three game losing streak tonight as the erupted in the third period to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-2. Martin St. Louis picked up his first point as a New York Ranger in the game, when he set up Derek Stepan for the gaming winning goal with a little under three minutes remaining. Henrik Lundqvist also picked up his 299th career win, and will play for number 300 Sunday afternoon against the Detroit Red Wings.
If you watched the first two periods of this game, you were likely thinking "here we go again." , as the Rangers did everything but score in the opening forty minutes. All the credit to Anton Kuhdobin though as he robbed the Rangers blind on the many different chances that they had throughout this game. Unfortunately, the Hurricanes were able to catch the Rangers making a mistake, and they were able to take advantage. Ryan McDonagh wound up getting caught at his own blue line, and allowed Jordan Staal to walk in on a 2-on-1. With Dan Girardi playing the pass, Staal quickly ripped the shot from the face-off dot, and beat Henrik Lundqvist over the shoulder for the 1-0 lead.
It wound up remaining 1-0 for the remainder of the first period, and all throughout the second period, as the Rangers failed to generate quality scoring chances. When they did, Kuhdobin was there to clean up the mess, and keep the Hurricanes clinging to a 1-0 lead. Finally, at the 7:25 of the third period, the New York Rangers finally solved Kuhdobin as Ryan McDonagh blasted a hard, low shot through his legs to knot the game at 1-1.
It wound up coming shorthanded as well, as Rick Nash made a great a play to find the trailing McDonagh, and gave him plenty of space to tee up the shot. With the goal, McDonagh picked up his 11th goal on the season, and it's his third goal in three games, included his second straight shorthanded goal.
However, in normal Rangers fashion, the Rangers found a way to give the goal right back shortly after tying the game up. Just like the first goal, Marc Staal found himself stranded at center ice, and allowed Jeff Skinner to streak up the middle on a breakaway. Anton Stralman was able to hustle back and catch Skinner, but he was forced into take a hooking penalty which result in a penalty shot.
On the ensuing shot, Skinner flew down the right wing, and ripped a quick, high shot over the glove hand of Lundqvist, and the Hurricanes regained a 2-1 lead. It was a massively deflating goal, especially since it took the Rangers almost 47 minutes to score a single goal. However, the Rangers didn't hang their heads, and quickly jumped back on the attack in the offensive zone. Luckily enough, Rick Nash was able to catch the Hurricanes defensemen sleeping, and banked in a shot off Ron Hainsey to tie the game back up at 2-2.
After almost 50 minutes of scoreless hockey from the Rangers, it was certainly quite the surprise to see them surge late in the third period. Shortly after Nash tied up the game, the Hurricanes shot themselves in the foot, and took two back-to-back delay of game penalties. It wound up resulting in a massive 1:30 of 5-on-3 time for the Rangers, and they had a perfect opportunity to take their first lead of the evening.
At the 17:14 mark, the Rangers took full advantage of the power play as Derek Stepan snapped home a slam dunk pass from Martin St. Louis on the far post. A lot of people originally questioned the move to bring in St. Louis, but that play he makes at the end of the game is exactly why. He makes big plays a big times, and he came up absolutely massive for the Rangers tonight to give them their first win in three games. At the same time though, you can't take away from Stepan as he made a perfect play to corral that puck in close, and snap it over the shoulder of Kuhdobin. It was just two huge plays from two big time players for the New York Rangers.
Carl Hagelin wound up closing out the scoring as he deposited the puck into the empty net, and locked up the 4-2 victory for the New York Rangers. This was a huge win for the Rangers as every single point matters at this point, and the way they responded in the game was a breath of fresh air. The Rangers will have a day off tomorrow before they head back to Madison Square Garden for a Sunday afternoon matinee against the Detroit Red Wings.