The Carolina Hurricanes lost to the New York Rangers last night 5-3, as new head coach Kirk Muller is still seeking his first NHL victory. The scoring came early, as Jiri Tlusty took a face-off win by Brandon Sutter and slipped it top corner past Martin Biron to give the Hurricanes a lead at 0:35 into the first period. It didn’t take long for the Rangers to rebound, as Justin Faulk took a tripping penalty 1:00 in to send the Rangers on the power play. Brad Richards put on a shot on goal and Ryan Callahan got the easy rebound and got it past Cam Ward. Both teams exchanged chances in the first period until about 11 seconds left in the first period when Eric Staal won a face-off back to Joni Pitkanen, who attempted a shot and it eventually found it’s way to Jeff Skinner who made no mistake and scored at 19:51 to give the Canes a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. The second period was all Rangers as they had goals by McDonaugh, Callahan and Avery within about 5 minutes of each other to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead. Derek Joslin kept the Canes in it late in the second period as his wrist shot went off of a Rangers’ stick and past Biron at 17:47. The Canes tried to mount a comeback in the third period, but to no avail as Michael Sauer scored his first of the year as the insurance marker to lead to a 5-3 Rangers victory.
Some notes and observations from the game:
- I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but with Jay Harrison being out with a day-to-day injury, Justin Faulk has stepped in nicely and, in my opinion, has been one of our best defensemen over the last 5 games. He was the only Hurricane with a +2 rating and was the only defenseman in plus territory after playing 21:21 of ice time.
- Eric Staal now has 4 points (1G, 3A) in his last 3 games, including two assists last night. After a very tough start to the year, has he started to turn the corner under the new coach?
- Anthony Stewart got a lot of praise from his teammates for sticking up for Jeff Skinner after he received a (very) questionable hit to the head along the boards from Brian Boyle. I would expect Boyle would get a call from NHL disciplinarian Brendon Shanahan today.
- The Canes won 53%-47% in face-offs, with Eric Staal (60%), Brandon Sutter (64%) and Tim Brent (60%) all above the 50% mark.