The Carolina Hurricanes seemed to pick up right where they left off during the Boston game on Tuesday night and were buzzing right from the start as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead, then rolled on to defeat the New York Rangers, 4-1 in front of 15,861 on Thursday night at the RBC Center.
The Canes almost scored the opening goal just two minutes and change in as a shot got by Henrik Lundqvist and the goal horn sounded, but the puck was stopped right at the goal line by Dan Girardi.
But Chad LaRose got another puck under the goaltender 5:39 into the game and that one counted as the home team jumped out to an early 1-0 lead.
That's not to say that the Rangers were pushovers. They were creating their own chances as well as both teams went back and forth, full tilt for most of the first period.
The Hurricanes got the game's first powerplay later in the first and extended their lead to 2-0 during the man advantage when Jussi Jokinen tipped in a Joe Corvo blast from the point.
Carolina ended the period outshooting New York, 16-11 and outhitting them, 19-11.
At 5:41 into the second period, Brandon Sutter took in a nice pass from Sergei Samsonov, broke into the clear, then made a nice move on Lundqvist to make it 3-0. It was the first goal in 16 games for Sutter.
The defense had clamped down a bit on the Rangers at this point and Cam Ward looked like he was on top of his game. While there were a couple of breakaways and odd man rushes against the goalie in the opening period, those chances were limited later on although the visitors were controlling the puck along the outside of the Carolina zone for long stretches.
The Rangers did not give up and ruined Ward's shutout bid when Brandon Prust gathered in a loose puck in front of the net and beat Ward, to make it 3-1 with 8:20 left in the game.
The Hurricanes struck back a bit later when LaRose broke down the defense, skated behind the net, and found Jeff Skinner headed to the crease. LaRose made a perfect pass and Skinner knocked in his 17th of the season to close things out.
Sean Avery got fired up about something with two minutes and change left in the game and whacked Erik Cole in the back of the leg. Cole took exception and both of them tangled, but never came to blows. Avery was given a slashing and game misconduct while Cole was also given a misconduct.
There will be no practice on Friday before the team leaves for Pittsburgh to do battle with the Penguins on Saturday night.
Quick Thoughts and Stats:
- While the Rangers were a tired and depleted team, the Canes didn't take anything for granted and skated hard, especially early, to get the win. Both goalies played well and the score could have been higher for either side.
- Carolina is now 15-0-0 when leading after two periods. The team is 15-1-3 when scoring first in a game.
- The Rangers ended up getting one more shot than the Canes did, 40-39. Ward helped out his season percentages with 39 saves on those 40 shots. Eric Staal led the way with eight shots while LaRose was next with six.
- The Canes got 42 hits for the game compared to 26 for New York. Tim Gleason had six, Ruutu had five, and five other players had four each. Ruutu also picked up two assists for his night's work and has 30 points in his last 30 games.
- The team won 44% of their faceoffs. Staal finished at 56%, Jokinen 57%, Sutter 50%, Ruutu 31%, and Carter 22%.
- Joni Pitkanen had a team high four takeaways. The new dad had one of his better games in recent nights. He also played a game high 27 minutes.
- Jussi Jokinen stays red hot and has six goals in his last six games. He also has four powerplay goals in his last four games.
- A timeout was taken at an odd time midway through the second period and it was announced as a Carolina timeout. That was mistake and was corrected up in the press box. The timeout was actually New York's.