Rangers Rock Hurricanes, 5-1

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Nov. 11, 2011) – Deadlocked at 2-apiece after two periods of play, the New York Rangers notched a four-goal third period, which included two in a nine-second stint, to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes in an Eastern Conference tilt, 5-1, at Madison Square Garden on Friday night in New York, N.Y. As a result, the Blueshirts pushed their winning streak to six straight games. They are also now 9-3-3 overall. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes slipped to 5-8-3 overall, and have extended their losing skid to four in a row.

During the opening period, in which Carolina outshot New York, 14-8, it was the Blueshirts that departed for the break with a slight 1-0 advantage. After Jeff Woywitka put the puck out of the defensive zone, a misplay off the stick of Bryan Allen became a breakaway chance for Sean Avery. Avery, who the fans anxiously awaited to be recalled from Connecticut, skated down the right wing, and put a shot over Cam Ward’s shoulder, and gave the New York faithful the lone score of the period with 10:17 left. The goal was Avery’s first of the year.

Prior to the tally, the hosts had several quality chances, but Ward saved seven of the eight tries. Derek Stepan and Marian Gaborik, two members of the newly-famed G.A.S. line, combined for five shots. Ryan McDonagh in addition to Brian Boyle contributed a shot apiece. Carolina had a pair of early opportunities, with Jamie McBain pacing the Hurricanes. He put two tough ones on Henrik Lundqvist, but the Sweden native stopped both shots and steered them away. Carolina also had the lone power play, which saw only three shots on goal.

In the second period, the rolls reversed in the shot department, until the Hurricanes broke through, and lit the lamp with 3:38 remaining. On the tally, a long pass was played through center ice, and deflected its way to the long stick of Alexei Ponikarovsky. Ponikarovsky, like Avery’s marker, beat the opposing goalie, Lundqvist, on a breakaway. After three-plus minutes of action that followed, the two squads went into the break at a 1-1 tie. The Hurricanes held a 26-23 edge in shots through two periods, while the Rangers owned an 18-16 clip in faceoffs.

New York earned two power-play opportunities in the stanza, with the second nearly producing a tally. Stepan’s brilliant play of late continued, but his shot was saved. Michael Del Zotto had a one-timer that sailed wide of the net, while Gaborik had a try in front knocked aside by Ward’s glove. Del Zotto, along with fellow defenseman Ryan McDonagh, both put up chances early in the period, but their respective shots were stonewalled by the body of Ward, who had made 22 saves up to that point. His counterpart, Lundqvist, accounted for 26 stops.

During the third period, it was the Rangers that broke out offensively, registering four goals in the final nine-plus minutes to earn a 5-1 result over the ‘Canes. With the hosts down Ryan Callahan due to a two-minute tripping penalty, Eric Staal, who was flaunted with constant jeers for the massive hit last year on his brother Marc, was sent to the sin bin for high sticking. After the 4-on-4 time ended, and New York picked up the extra man, Dan Girardi made the visitors pay, firing a Brad Richards pass into the top shelf, giving the Rangers a 2-1 edge.

New York wasn’t done there. Right off the ensuing faceoff, Callahan controlled the puck, and put a shot off the pads of Ward, which rebounded to Dubinsky for an open-net marker, his first of the campaign. “Those are the goals you need,” said Dubinsky. “It felt great to get it.” Shortly after, Callahan tacked on his seventh goal of the season off a scramble in front of Ward. On the play, Michael Sauer attempted a shot from the circle, which was soon chipped in by Callahan, as the puck was loose in the wickets of last year’s all-star Carolina goaltender.

“We stuck with it,” Callahan described about the overall play. “We battled in the second period, and did what we had to do to get the win. We started off slow, but kept working, and eventually felt comfortable.”

Brad Richards capped off the scoring on the evening, as he stuffed home a turnover by Ward into a wide-open net with 1:34 to go. Between the pipes, Ward stopped 35 shots, while Lundqvist made 34 saves. Overall, the Rangers owned a 9-4 advantage in takeaways, and a 17-10 margin in blocked shots. In the faceoff circle, the Hurricanes sported a 28-25 edge in faceoffs. Both squads had six giveaways apiece.

“We are grabbing points, and that’s what is important,” stated Head Coach John Tortorella. “We know how we have, and want to play…Just trying to stay with our game, and we are also seeing the ice better.”

New York now opens up a four-game road trip, commencing on Tuesday evening on Long Island against the arch-rival Islanders at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. The puck drops at 7 p.m. In their first meeting of the season on October 15, the Isles edged the Blueshirts at the Coliseum by a final score of 4-2.

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