Two goals from the suddenly-sizzling Viktor Stalberg gave the Carolina Hurricanes an early lead on Tuesday night, but they couldn't hold on as the New York Rangers came back for a 3-2 win at Madison Square Garden.
The Hurricanes played their first game without center Jordan Staal, who is out indefinitely with a concussion. This was the second of four meetings this season between the two teams after Carolina won the first matchup in their home opener on October 28th.
Stalberg recorded his first multi-goal game of the season and of his Hurricanes career, and has scored a goal in three of his last five games. He began the scoring 5:22 into the game with the Hurricanes’ first shot on net, beating Henrik Lundqvist five-hole with a snap shot between the two faceoff circles. Stalberg added his second 12:55 into the first on a rebound off a Jay McClement shot.
The Rangers got on the board in the second period after Nick Holden found the back of the net for his third goal of the season after a scramble in front of Cam Ward. The Rangers controlled play throughout the remainder of the second period, generating chance after chance and forcing Ward to make plenty of saves to preserve the lead.
Only 24 seconds into the third period, Rick Nash streaked in from the right circle and roofed a backhand to tie the game at 2.
Things then got a bit chippy, with Noah Hanifin and Oscar Lindberg going off for matching roughing penalties. Near the end of the four-on-four sequence, Ron Hainsey took a hooking penalty that had no business being called, then got an extra two for voicing his displeasure. Rookie Jimmy Vesey made the Canes pay on the ensuing power play, scoring the game winning goal with five minutes to go.
Cam Ward stopped 18 of 21 shots in the loss, his personal third straight defeat, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 of 28 shots in earning the win for the Rangers.
The Hurricanes will need to assess the loss and move on in a hurry as they take on Brad Marchand and the Boston Bruins on Thursday night at TD Garden. The Bruins are desperate for wins as well as they are losing ground in the Atlantic Division. The Canes will conclude their road trip by getting a second shot against the Rangers on Saturday afternoon after New York takes a one-game trip to visit the Red Wings on Thursday.
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