Derek Stepan scored his first three goals of the season, and Carl Hagelin added his first two as the New York Rangers’ had their best offensive output of the season in a 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves and grabbed first star honors for New York (6-7), which is on a season-high, three-game winning streak.
Hagelin scored the Rangers’ first two goals of the game, and Stepan netted the final three.
Andrej Sekera scored a power-play goal with 37 seconds left in the second period to provide the only offense for the Hurricanes. Justin Peters made 33 saves in the loss and fell to 0-5.
Hagelin opened the scoring 8:46 into the game with his first. Brad Richards sprung Hagelin and Benoit Pouliot with a clearing pass. Hagelin cut to the slot before beating Peters with a backhander.
Before Hagelin’s goal, the Hurricanes had outshot the Rangers 6-2. New York finished the game with a 38-28 edge.
Hagelin increased New York’s lead to 2-0 at 8:16 of the second period. As the Rangers finished killing Hagelin’s hooking penalty, Taylor Pyatt fired a clearing pass from the defensive zone that ricocheted off of Peters pads to the corner. Hagelin corralled the loose puck, then cut toward the net before slipping his second goal of the game through Peters legs.
Stepan pushed the advantage to 3-0 with a power-play goal at 15:54 of the second. Stepan found a rebound of Ryan McDonagh’s point shot through a maze of players before beating Peters with a high shot.
New York, which went 1-for-4 on the advantage, has scored power play goals in three straight games. The Rangers are 4-for-11 on the power play in that stretch.
Outside of Sekera’s goal, not much went right for the Hurricanes (4-7-3), who have lost five straight.
Sekera scored with a seemingly harmless shot that hit Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman and found its way past Lundqvist.
Stepan scored his second of the game 9:09 into the third to complete a strong forechecking sequence by his line. Chris Kreider’s hit on Tuomo Ruutu in the offensive zone forced a turnover which Mats Zuccarello corralled behind the net before feeding Stepan.
Stepan completed his hat trick at 14:37 when his attempted pass to Kreider hit Sekera and deflected in off the goal post. It was Stepan’s first three-goal game since Oct. 9, 2010, against Buffalo, where he made his NHL debut.
NOTES: New York is 63-48-7-2 against the Hurricanes. … Carolina activated D Brett Bellemore from the injured list. Bellemore had missed three games with a lower-body injury. … Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he had ”mixed emotions and mixed feelings,” about Manny Malhotra’s return to the NHL. The veteran center signed a one-year deal with Carolina on Thursday. Vigneault was Malhotra’s coach with Vancouver when Malhotra was struck near the left eye in a 2011 game. … Rangers LW Rick Nash missed his 10th straight game with a head injury. There is no timetable for his return.