Following a last minute loss last game to the Florida Panthers, the New York Rangers rebounded this evening and got back into the win column. Henrik Lundqvist, who turned away 32 shots on the night, held the fort down for the Rangers as they grabbed two huge points from their Metropolitan Division foes.
The Rangers came out with a relatively quick start tonight as Jimmy Vesey hustled into the zone with an early chance on the breakaway. Scott Darling was able to poke Vesey before he got the shot off and as a result, the score remained tied at zero. The Hurricanes had their own scoring chance just a short time later after Justin Williams wound up for a slap shot coming down the right boards.
From the difficult angle, Williams’ shot somehow found a way through Henrik Lundqvist on the far side, and made it 1-0 Carolina. The puck appeared to take a slight bounce off of Brendan Smith’s stick as it came in on goal, which may have fooled Lundqvist just enough.
Following the early goal against, the Rangers continued to grind away in the offensive zone and also had two power play opportunities. Unfortunately, the Rangers were unable to find a way to solve Scott Darling with their chances and trailed by a goal heading into the first intermission.
The Rangers wound up scoring a quick goal of their own in the second period with David Desharnais converted on a miscue in the crease by Scott Darling. The goaltender attempted to shoot the puck down ice, but instead, the puck slipped off his stick as he surveyed the ice. Desharnais was able to quickly pounce on the loose puck and chipped home the power play goal to make it a 1-1 game.
A little over a minute later, the Rangers converted yet again following a perfect centering feed from Kevin Shattenkirk to Michael Grabner. The goal came with the teams skating 4-on-4 after Desharnais was sent off for interference. The Rangers would carry that one goal lead into the third period, as they looked to build off of their impressive second period effort.
While they weren’t able to convert on the several early chances they had in the third period, the Rangers did an excellent job of limiting the Hurricanes at the other end. With a little over two minutes remaining in regulation, Michael Grabner picked up his second goal of the night on the empty net goal. Grabner would also net his third, for the hat trick, exactly a minute later with his second empty netter of the game.
Carolina would challenge for offsides on the play, but it was ruled a good goal and the Hurricanes were also assessed a delay of game penalty. With the game all but locked up at this point, Alain Vigneault put his fourth line on for the power play opportunity and none other than Paul Carey netted the Rangers’ fifth and final goal on the evening. Jimmy Vesey did an excellent job of finding Carey camped out in the high slot and Carey buried his second goal of the season.
Despite the early goal against which came off of a weird shot, the Rangers responded well and rallied around Henrik Lundqvist to preserve the victory. The Rangers will be off until Tuesday night before beginning a six in nine night stretch starting next Friday against the Washington Capitals.