The Hurricanes and eastern conference leading New York Rangers played a physical, checking style game last night and were able to hang out to a late rally attempt from the home team. Both teams seemed to start off slowly, with the Rangers holding a slim 7-6 shot advantage over Carolina after the first period. Cam Ward was big early, stopping a slew of shots around the 16:30 mark of the first period to keep the game scoreless. Brandon Dubinsky took a bad mental penalty towards the end of the first period as he threw the stick of Jiri Tlusty into the glass to receive a minor misconduct penalty. Dubinsky would not return to the game, assuming he was benched by head coach John Tortorella. The Canes made no mistake capitalizing on the power play, as Jeff Skinner took a pass from Eric Staal in the slot and ripped it past Martin Biron to give the Canes a 1-0 lead. Justin Faulk would get the secondary assist on the play. It was Skinner’s 17th goal of the season, which ties him with the injured Tuomo Ruutu for second on the team in goals scored.
The Rangers upped the pressure after the Canes goal and finally cracked Cam Ward at 8:21 of the second period as Artem Anisimov took a pass from Marian Gaborik and beat Ward high glove to tie the game at 1. Both teams battled hard for the next several minutes, as each team had several good chances, including Jeff Skinner making a beautiful move on the power play. New York had a bit of luck on their side as Derek Stephan put the puck towards the net, sending it high in the air and Marian Gaborik was able to poke the puck in past Cam Ward to give the blue shirts a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission. Unfortunately for Carolina, the Rangers kept their foot on the gas and were able to put another one on the board early in the third period. Jaroslav Spacek wasn’t able to get a puck deep into the zone, as the puck hit the linesman, and Ruslan Fedotenko slipped a pass to Brian Boyle, who made a beautiful pass to Brandon Prust, who knocked it past Cam Ward to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead. Staal then had a great chance at 14:51 but hit the post, his second time of the night. The Canes continued to step their game up, but was unable to get any closer until a late surge. Jay Harrison was able to get the rebound off of a Jiri Tlusty shot to bring the Canes within one. It was too little too late, however, as the Rangers held off the late charge and was able to skate away with the victory.
- Shots on goal ended up pretty even for the night, with the Rangers holding a 25-23 advantage.
- The Canes were 1-5 on the power play for the night, and were 3-3 on the penalty kill.
- Eric Staal has been playing some of the best hockey in quite a while and he was arguably the best player on the ice for the Canes last night. Staal had 2 assists, was a +1 and played a team high 24:41.
- Jeff Skinner lead the team with 5 shots on goal, followed by Anthony Stewart and Jiri Tlusty with 3 each.
The Canes are back on the ice Saturday night as they take on their southeast division rival, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Make sure to check back for a preview! Until then, head over to our Facebook page at Cardiac Cane and give us a like!