Fans of the Carolina Hurricanes have been down this road before. The team played well, was in the game most of the time, made a couple of mistakes which ended up in the back of the net, then failed to capitalize on opportunities in the opponent's zone as an evenly matched game turned into yet another loss last night at the RBC.
The New York Rangers defeated the Hurricanes by a score of 3-1. While the first two periods of the game were almost dead even and the third was very close, the New Yorker's were clutch. The Carolina players were not.
The Canes had three powerplay chances and failed to score. They had numerous odd man advantages and failed to score on them.
Bottom line, Henrik Lundqvist out-played Cam Ward and New York's franchise player out-performed Carolina's. That's not to say Eric Staal had a bad game, he played well. But Marian Gaborik was better.
After a scoreless first period in which the stats were almost dead even, Sergei Samsonov opened the scoring with a wrap around chance just 46 seconds into the second period.
Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, the Rangers answered back almost immediately. Cam Ward aggressively played a puck outside the crease which took an unfavorable bounce and got by him, then Tim Gleason got the puck in front of the open Carolina net, but hit it right to the league's premier sniper, who made no mistake.
The tally was number 25 for Gaborik, which leads the NHL. It took the Rangers just 28 seconds to tie the score.
That would be the end of the scoring for the Hurricanes, although they would have ample opportunities in the game. Later in the second, Scott Walker and Rod Brind`Amour had a tremendous two on one chance, but Walker's pass was a bit off and Brind'Amour could not handle it.
In the third period, Staal got behind the New York defense and had the puck with a point blank chance, but could not lift it past Lundqvist.
On the other side, the Rangers scored on their best chance of the third period as Vinny Prospal passed to Marian Gaborik who fed a wide open Brandon Dubinsky in front of Ward. The forward lifted a perfectly smooth backhander over the unsuspecting Carolina goalie as if he were a 30 goal scorer. It was Dubinsky's fourth goal of the year.
That was the difference in the game. Winners find a way to win. And the Hurricanes are not in last place in the league by accident.
Marc Staal finished up the scoring on a long empty-netter with just 33 clicks left.
Next up will be a rematch with the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
- The Hurricanes powerplay was 0-3 making it three games in a row the team has failed to score with the man advantage, (0-7). Although having just seven powerplay chances in three games is certainly not an over-abundance of opportunity.
- Tim Gleason started out with a visor but took it off after the first intermission. The defenseman has had better games as he misplayed the puck on Gaborik's score and was on the ice for all three New York goals. He finished with a -3, but it was his first game back after about a week off due to concussion-like symptoms.
- The Hurricanes were credited with 39 hits compared to 20 for the Rangers. Andrew Alberts, Tuomo Ruutu, and Scott Walker led the way with six each.
- Carolina had 33 shots on goal led by Staal and Ray Whitney with five each.
Aaron Ward and Ray Whitney had three blocked shots each.
- After the game, coach Paul Maurice said that it felt like a playoff game. Neither team made many mistakes. It was a tightly contested affair throughout.
- The team won 45% of faceoffs led by Brind'Amour's 83%, (5 of 6). Staal won 33%, (7 of 21).