Fox, Lundqvist lead Rangers to 3-2 win over Hurricanes
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Rangers have put together a three-game winning streak with a different script in each contest.
Mika Zibanejad scored in his return after missing 13 games with an upper body injury, Brendan Smith also had a goal and Artemi Panarin added two assists to help the Rangers improve to 9-4-1 in their last 14 games.
“It’s a fun feeling when you win in different ways,” Lundqvist said. “I thought the other night (against Minnesota) it was more the skill that helped us. Tonight, I thought it was more the will. You’re going to have different things to help you win games along the way, tonight was definitely the will and our mindset in the third.”
Fox capped a strong first period when he deflected Panarin’s one-timer past Mrazek with 1:40 left to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead.
“This is a guy that has taken bigger players on, closing on them quickly and has great hockey strength,” Rangers coach David Quinn said of Fox. “He’s made the transition to the National Hockey League look a little bit easier than it should be.”
Panarin’s second assist of the game gave him at least two points in 10 of the last 12 games. .
Dzingel got Carolina on the scoreboard with 5:31 left in the second when he redirected Dougie Hamilton’s shot from the point. Andrei Svechnikov assisted on the play, extending his point streak to nine games.
Just 1:29 later, Foegele pushed a loose puck in front past Lundqvist to pull Carolina within one.
“We weren’t ready to start, we were a little sluggish,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Then, bing, bing, bing and now you have to dig yourselves out of a hole and we weren’t able to do that. We dug in after that but it’s too late.”
Lundqvist made his best save of the night late in the second period when he robbed Martin Necas to preserve New York’s 3-2 lead. Necas fired a sharp-angled wrist shot but Lundqvist somehow knocked the puck out of mid-air with his stick.
Zibanejad opened the scoring at 2:54 of the first when Fox delivered a perfect cross-ice pass to set up the power-play goal. Zibanejad played for the first time since sustaining his injury against Boston on Oct. 27. The Rangers were 8-4-1 without their top center, including come-from-behind victories in their previous two games.
“He just gives up so much more depth,” Quinn said. “It’s amazing what one center can do to your whole lineup. Your lineup looks a lot longer and a lot deeper.”
Smith got his second of the season when his shot sailed past Mrazek at 4:12 after the puck was deflected by a Hurricanes skater. Smith, a natural defenseman, has spent the majority of this season playing forward but skates on the blue line during the penalty kill. Rangers defensemen have recorded 21 goals this season, the most in the NHL.
NOTES: Lundqvist, who earned his 456th win, became the sixth player in Rangers history to skate in 1,000 NHL games (regular season and playoffs). ... Panarin has at least one point in 15 of the last 16 games. ... New York has registered three or more goals in 10 of the past 11 games. ... Hurricanes D Haydn Fleury returned to the lineup after being scratched in the previous five games.
Rangers: At Boston on Friday.
Hurricanes: Host Nashville on Friday night.