Zuccarello Scores Twice, But Rangers Fall 3-2 In Carolina
The New York Rangers were unable to keep their winning streak alive, and fell to the Carolina Hurricanes this even by a score of 3-2. Aside from the third period, the Rangers played very well, but they were unable to take advantage of their scoring opportunities. Cam Ward also made several key saves while the Rangers were pressuring, and gave the Hurricanes a chance to stay in the game.
Unlike the last few games, the Rangers were able to avoid giving up a goal within the opening minutes, and controlled the play much better. In fact, they were the ones to come away with the first goal, and it took just eight minutes into regulation. Mats Zuccarello started off the scoring with a power play goal, coming off of a mad scramble in front of the Hurricanes net.
Mika Zibanejad was able to locate the puck after chaos broke loose in front of the net, and shoveled a quick pass out. The puck landed right on Zuccarello’s stick and he had plenty of time to pick his spot with tons of traffic in front of Cam Ward. Although, the Rangers wound up giving the goal right back, and Jeff Skinner evened up the score a little over four minutes later.
Skinner was a thorn in the Rangers side all night long, and he started it all off with a beautifully placed shot over the shoulder of Henrik Lundqvist. Skinner carried over his dominance over to the second period, and picked up his second goal just 33 seconds into the middle frame. This time he was able to sneak in behind the Rangers defensemen, and flipped a backhander home after fighting off the backcheck from Marc Staal.
Thankfully, Mats Zuccarello was equal to the task and eventually knotted up the game at two with his second goal of the net as well. In almost identical fashion, Zuccarello slipped in behind the Hurricanes, and broke in on a breakaway after a quick outlet pass from Ryan McDonagh. Zuccarello froze up Cam Ward with a shot fake, and slipped the puck through Ward’s legs to make it a 2-2 game.
Up until this point, the Rangers looked like the better team, and had several chances to take back the lead in the game. However, late in the period, the Rangers were whistled down for a penalty, and that sent the Hurricanes on a crucial power play. Sure enough, Jeff Skinner came back once again and found a way to put the puck in the back of the net.
The puck wound up bouncing in off of Bryan Bickell’s jersey, and gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead with 0.7 seconds remaining in the period. That goal was essentially the back breaker for the Rangers, as they were unable to find another goal for the remainder of the game. Credit to the Hurricanes too, because they absolutely locked down the offensive zone the entire third period and gave the Rangers zero room to breathe.
The Rangers best chances of the period came within the final seconds, including a late stab by Zuccarello that just flipped over the crossbar. Following the short trip to Carolina, the Rangers will return to New York and start a mini three game homestand starting on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.