The losing streak for the Carolina Hurricanes grew to three games Friday night, as the New York Rangers held off a Canes’ comeback effort in Madison Square Garden to win 5-3.
The Hurricanes cut a 4-1 New York lead to 4-3 early in the third period, but couldn’t finish off the effort as Ryan Strome put the game away with the Rangers’ fifth goal with a little over six minutes left to play.
Lucas Wallmark led the way for the Hurricanes, finishing the night with a goal and an assist to extend his career-high point streak to five games. Brett Pesce made it 4-2 late in the second period, while Sebastian Aho added his 22nd goal of the year early in the third.
For the Rangers, Mika Zibanejad scored twice on the power play to help lift New York to the win. James Reimer got the start in net for the Canes after getting pulled in the first period Monday afternoon against the Maple Leafs, and he wasn’t particularly strong. Reimer stopped 19 of 24 shots faced, while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 39 of 42 for New York.
Special teams play proved to be a killer for the Hurricanes, as Zibanejad’s two power-play tallies and the Canes’ 0 for 5 performance with a man advantage cost Carolina the game. The Canes have been good on both the power play and penalty kill as of late, but Friday night those units let Carolina down.
Unlike they did Monday against Toronto, the Canes got this one started out on the right foot as Wallmark opened the scoring just over five minutes into the contest. Teuvo Teravainen did a great job to keep the puck in the attacking zone, and then threaded a great pass right to the stick of Wallmark in the slot.
Wallmark beautifully placed a one-timer past Lundqvist, extending his career-best point streak to five games.
Teuvo Teravainen with a no-look centering feed to Lucas Wallmark for the game's first goal. Wallmark's point streak extends to 5 games. 1-0 Hurricanes in New York. pic.twitter.com/oMx5NPi8xA— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) December 28, 2019
After a pair of empty power plays for the Hurricanes, Carolina surrendered an advantage of its own after Warren Foegele was called for an iffy interference penalty. The Rangers made quick work of the man advantage, as Zibanejad netted the game-tying goal just seven seconds into the power play. Chris Kreider made a good pass to Zibanejad from behind the net, and Zibanejad came through with a quality finish.
New York took a 2-1 lead early in the second period, as Kreider beat Reimer with a quick wrister on an odd-man rush. The Rangers got up the ice with numbers, and Zibanejad made a good pass across the ice to Kreider, who finished smoothly for his 11th goal of the season.
The Hurricanes got another go at the power play early in the second period, as Strome went to the box for tripping. Carolina got a couple of good looks during the man advantage, but nothing that really challenged Lundqvist.
However, the Hurricanes went right back to the power play. With three seconds left on the Strome penalty, Brendan Lemieux was whistled for tripping after taking out Reimer behind the net.
This time, though, it appeared the Carolina made New York pay for the penalty. Aho redirected a shot from Teravainen past Lundqvist, for what looked like a goal to tie things up at 2-2. However, New York challenged that Erik Haula was offside when the puck entered the zone, and the Carolina goal was taken away. The Rangers were able to kill off the rest of the penalty following the successful challenge.
New York made it 3-1 shortly after, as Artemi Panarin netted his 21st goal of the year. The Rangers again had numbers on a rush, and after a good initial defensive effort by Pesce, Panarin roofed the puck over the shoulder of Reimer to double the Rangers’ lead.
After the Canes successfully killed off a Joel Edmundson penalty, the Hurricanes went to the box yet again as Jake Gardiner got called for interference. For the second time in the game, Zibanejad scored on the power play. This time, Zibanejad collected a loose puck off a rebound between the circles and slotted it past Reimer.
Carolina wouldn’t go down without a fight in the second period, as Pesce made it 4-2 with a great finish off a beautiful pass from Wallmark. Pesce, who is from nearby Tarrytown, New York, netted the strong wrister for his fourth goal of the year. With the assist, Wallmark has recorded back-to-back multi-point games, the first time he has ever done that in his young career.
Lucas Wallmark collects the puck and finds Brett Pesce for Carolina's second goal tonight. Wallmark has 7 points in his last 5 games and back-to-back multi-point games. pic.twitter.com/lakUsE7Lub— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) December 28, 2019
The Canes cut New York’s lead to just one goal less than two minutes into the final frame, as Aho wristed home a rebound to make it 4-3. After an Edmundson shot caused some havoc in front of the net, the puck bounced out to Aho.
After getting one taken away earlier in the game, Aho made sure he got this one, as his beautiful wrister left Lundqvist with no chance of making a stop.
Sebastian Aho deposits a loose puck and brings the game back within one. 4-3 game after Aho's 22nd goal of the season. Second time tonight he has put a puck in the back of the net (only one counted, though). pic.twitter.com/l5NNAHPqsT— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) December 28, 2019
New York bumped its lead back to two goals with just over six minutes to play, as Panarin threaded a beautiful pass to Strome to make it 5-3. The Rangers yet again got out on an odd-man rush, and Panarin chased down a puck and delivered a perfect pass across the offensive zone to Strome. The finish past Reimer was a simple one for Strome.
The Canes came up short on one final power-play opportunity late in the third period, as the Rangers slammed the door shut to pick up the win coming out of the holiday break.
Carolina will be right back at it Saturday night in Raleigh, as the Canes host the Washington Capitals in a Metropolitan Division clash.