The New York Rangers have enjoyed playing the Carolina Hurricanes this season, and Friday’s victory was New York’s third victory against them of the 2019-20 season. Through each of the three victories there has been one constant, and that is Henrik Lundqvist making a ton of saves at key moments.
Lundqvist stopped 39 of 42 in the victory, and was one save away from finishing the calendar year with three 40-save performances against the Hurricanes. In the first tilt of the season, Lundqvist stopped 45 shots, and in the second tilt he stopped 41.
The Blueshirts found the back of the net five times vs. the Canes, including once in the first, three times in the second, and one in the third. Carolina took a lead early on in the game after the Blueshirts mismanaged the puck, but Mika Zibanejad made things level on the powerplay near the end of the period. The goal was his 13th of the season, and was assisted by Chris Kreider and Tony DeAngelo.
Early on in the second, Kreider and Zibanejad hooked up and gave the Blueshirts a 2-1 lead. It was Zibanejad’s second point of the game, and another multi-point game for him since returning to the lineup from injury. Artemiy Panarin followed up with a goal of his own six minutes later on a play in which Filip Chytil was indecisive with the puck. Chytil looked like he didn’t know if he wanted to shoot or pass, but it all worked out in the end.
Zibanejad would score the Rangers’ third and final goal of the period on the power play, his 14th of the season, and Tony DeAngelo and Panarin each picked up their second points of the night. Late in the period the Rangers got sloppy which resulted in Brett Pesce taking advantage of an odd-man-situation, and both sides entered the dressing room with the score sitting 4-2 in favor of the Rangers.
Carolina came out hungry in the third period, and it took just 100 seconds for Sebastian Aho to make it a one-goal game. He picked up his 22nd of the season, and with a pretty much full period to go it looked like the Rangers were in trouble.
The Blueshirts were able to weather the storm, no pun intended, which saw Carolina out shoot them 14-5 for the totality of the period. Ryan Strome, playing in his 100th game as a Blueshirt, scored the final goal of the game after receiving a beautiful feed out of the corner by Panarin who picked up his third point of the game, and 48th point of the season.
New York walked out of the game victorious, but it was yet another game which saw them getting pinned in their own zone more often than not, and lose the shot battle. They will be in action on Saturday vs. the Maple Leafs in Toronto, and luckily the Leafs were in action on Friday vs. the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center, so both sides will be playing in the second game of a back-to-back.
The Rangers will likely be making a recall as David Quinn revealed that Brendan Lemieux fractured his hand during the game.
More details on that front will surely come in the next 24 hours or so.