Coming off of a 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the New York Rangers rebounded this evening with a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Henrik Lundqvist, who got the start just 24 hours after winning the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, made 40 saves and kept the Rangers afloat for most of the night.
Early on in this game, both teams came right out of the gates with multiple scoring chances with the Hurricanes leading in shots 13-11. Unfortunately, neither team was able to make the most of their opportunities and the game remained scoreless heading into the second period. The tie would only remain until the 3:01 mark of the second period with Ryan Sproul scoring his first goal as a Ranger and gave New York the early 1-0 lead.
Nearly ten minutes later, Kevin Hayes doubled up the Rangers lead with a shorthanded goal coming at the 13:23 mark. Jesper Fast created the entire goal with an impressive defensive play and broke in with Hayes on a 2-on-1 rush. Fast quickly found Hayes cutting to the net and he deflected the puck past Cam Ward to make it a 2-0 game.
The Rangers carried their commanding 2-0 lead into the third period, where they transitioned into a more defensively minded game plan. It worked rather flawlessly until Jeff Skinner eventually brought the Hurricanes back within a goal off to the left side of the net. Skinner caught Lundqvist sliding up and chipped the puck over Hank’s blocker hand and made it 2-1 heading into the closing minutes of this game.
Things got interesting with under two minutes remaining in the game as Kevin Hayes was sent off for slashing. Henrik Lundqvist was forced into making several key saves with the time winding down, and Mats Zuccarello iced the game with one final clear to kill off the remaining 10 seconds on the clock. Following tonight’s 2-1 victory, the Rangers will have three games remaining on their schedule starting with Tuesday’s matchup against the New Jersey Devils.