Rangers 5, Hurricanes 1
The New York Rangers are winning at home at their best pace in
almost two decades thanks to players who were in early grade school
Defenseman Dan Girardi netted a power-play goal midway through
the third period and Brandon Dubinsky scored 9 seconds later to
break open a tight game and send the Rangers to their sixth
straight win, 5-1 over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
Girardi sent a wrist shot from the top of the right circle past
goalie Cam Ward, off a perfect cross-ice pass from Brad Richards,
for a power play goal at 10:47 of the third. Dubinsky’s tally, his
first of the season, came off the ensuing faccoff.
The Rangers are 5-1-1 at Madison Square Garden, their best start
there since 1992.
”Getting a power-play goal when we did was huge,” said
Girardi, who scored while Hurricanes captain Eric Staal was in the
penalty box for high-sticking him. ”Then Dubie scores right away.
We knew he couldn’t go all season without scoring.”
The 25-year-old Dubinsky, who scored 24 goals last season,
celebrated his first of this season with a skyward scream of relief
before he was mobbed by teammates.
”It’s certainly a good weight off your shoulders,” Dubinsky
said. ”You can’t hope for a better gift than a wide open net with
the puck on your stick.”
Callahan and Brad Richards scored late in the third to cement
”It’s 3-1, and we probably needed a timeout,” Hurricanes coach
Paul Maurice said. ”I’m very disappointed with our effort. That
was the turning point for sure.”
The Rangers (9-3-3) haven’t lost since squandering a three-goal
third-period lead against Ottawa on Oct. 29. They last won six
straight in October 2009. The Hurricanes (5-8-3) lost their fourth
straight and for the fifth time in six games.
”We found a way to get another win,” Rangers coach John
Tortorella said. ”It’s such a long season. A game of momentum.
It’s important for us to keep at the details.”
The game marked the first meeting between the teams since Eric
Staal checked his brother, Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, in the
head during a game on Feb. 22 in Raleigh.
Marc Staal hasn’t played this season because of post-concussion
symptoms. He finished last season but has yet to be cleared to
skate through the first month of this campaign. He started having
headaches during the offseason, a problem that hasn’t subsided.
Eric Staal was booed every time he touched the puck.
Sean Avery’s breakaway goal midway through the first period put
the Rangers ahead 1-0. It was his first tally since returning to
the Rangers after a stint in the minors. Avery picked up a loose
puck after defenseman Jeff Woywitka banked it off the boards,
skated behind the Hurricanes defense, and roofed the puck over
”Sure it feels good,” said Avery, who received a sustained
cheer from the Garden crowd. ”I’m proud to play here. That’s why
you play hard. Getting two points and winning six games in a row is
The 31-year-old agitator had been sent to the minors before the
season. He was recalled from Connecticut of the AHL last week to
replace injured forward Wojtek Wolski.
”I think that was the exact type of game that I need to play
and try to get it done every night,” Avery added.
Alexei Ponikarovsky scored Carolina’s lone goal at 16:22 of the
second with a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Henrik
Lundqvist low to the glove side. Defenseman Jamie McBain set up
Ponikarovsky for his third goal of the season with a pass from
”Obviously, there is confidence that comes with a winning
streak,” Callahan said. ”We just have to keep the pucks crashing
the net and good things will happen.”
NOTES: The Rangers are seven wins shy of 2,500 in franchise
history, dating to 1926. . Since joining the NHL in 1979 as the
Hartford Whalers, the Hurricanes franchise has won only 19 times in
58 visits to Madison Square Garden. . The Rangers improved to
133-89-31 with Avery in the lineup since he was acquired from Los
Angeles on Feb. 5, 2007.