Hurricanes 4, Rangers 1

The Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Rangers had a lot of

chances in a wide-open first period.

The Hurricanes converted two of theirs – and Cam Ward frustrated

the Rangers.

The Carolina goalie made 39 saves, and Chad LaRose, Jussi

Jokinen, Brandon Sutter and Jeff Skinner scored in the Hurricanes’

4-1 victory Thursday night.

”There are certain games that are going to be exciting, and

there are certain games that are going to be dogs,” Carolina coach

Paul Maurice said. ”For whatever reason when the Hurricanes and

the Rangers play, I think they’re very exciting games and lots of

chances and just outstanding goaltending.”

Tuomo Ruutu added two assists to help the Hurricanes snap a

two-game losing streak.

Ward had his highest number of saves in more than a month.

”He’s our wall back there,” LaRose said. ”A lot of times when

we make mistakes, he bails us out and they don’t get noticed as

much. He’s definitely our leader, and we try to play well in front

of him.”

Brandon Prust scored for New York, coming off a 7-0 home victory

over Toronto on Wednesday night.

Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves for the injury ravaged Rangers.

One day after finding out Brandon Dubinsky (stress fracture in left

leg) and Ruslan Fedotenko (separated left shoulder) would miss

extended time, New York struggled to keep up with Carolina

offensively.

”They got off to a good start,” New York defenseman Marc Staal

said. ”We obviously opened up the ice a little bit too much for

them. At the same time, we were getting a ton of chances, too. We

were just unable to bury one.”

The Hurricanes struck early in the first period when LaRose

deflected Jeff Skinner’s shot through Lundqvist’s legs. The

spinning puck looked as if it might stop before crossing the goal

line, but it had enough momentum to make it over. Carolina made it

2-0 with 5:17 left in the period when Jokinen deflected Joe Corvo’s

slap shot from the blue line past Lundqvist on a power play.

Early in the second period, Sergei Samsonov fed a streaking

Sutter near the New York blue line to send Sutter in on a partial

breakaway. Sutter went to his backhand to beat Lundqvist for his

first goal in 16 games.

”I thought the third goal was the biggest one,” New York coach

John Tortorella said. ”That’s a simple rush. It’s not an odd-man

rush – we allow it to turn into an odd-man rush. So we were sloppy

defensively.”

Prust spoiled Ward’s shutout with 8:20 left in the game when he

snapped a wrist shot past Ward’s glove from the slot. Skinner

finished the scoring with 4:09 remaining.

It was an important win for the Hurricanes, who entered the

night three points behind Atlanta in the chase for the final

playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Coming into the game,

Carolina only had five wins all season against the eight teams

ahead of it in the Eastern Conference.

”What I thought you saw tonight was a real good look at the

leadership in our room,” Maurice said.

NOTES: The Rangers hit the post twice in the opening minutes of

the game. … Prust was favoring his left hand after a fight with

Carolina’s Jay Harrison in the second period.