Tracking the Storm: Analysis
It’s no secret why the New York Rangers sit atop the Eastern Conference, but the Carolina Hurricanes never let them out of their sight tonight. A late goal from Jay Harrison
pulled the Canes within a goal, but they couldn’t close the gap and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Rangers. “I thought our guys played hard,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “We pushed, they pushed us back in the second and we had to come back in the third. We were there, we just fell short.”
continues to be the team’s best offensive player, as he extended his point streak to 10 games with two assists tonight. He’s also riding a nine-game assist streak, the longest such of any player since Carolina franchise relocation. Finally, tonight was Staal’s fifth multi-point game in his 10-game point streak stretch.
Twice Staal came within inches of adding to his point total, as he rung a couple of shots off the post. One came late in the first period on the power play and the other in the third period, as the puck bounced off the inside of the post and out the opposite side. “I don’t even know how that was possible,” Staal said. “Sometimes that’s the way it goes.”
netted a power play goal in the second period, the fifth straight game in which the team has recorded a power play tally. Not converting on power play chances in the third period, especially the four-minute advantage with John Mitchell in the box for New York, ended up being the difference. New York stifled the Canes at every point of entry and denied any good scoring opportunity. “You’re down by two, and you at least want to get one on it and go from there,” Staal said. “But, I’ll give credit to their penalty kill. I thought they did a pretty good job of getting in lanes and blocking shots. We probably could have executed a little better on our plays, but they’re a good defensive team.”
To find the last time the Hurricanes lost by more than a goal, you have to go back to Jan. 31 in a 5-2 loss to the Islanders – and even then, the Islanders scored two empty-net goals late to pad the final result. The team has to be pleased with how close they kept the score with the Rangers, despite at times seeming inundated by New York’s stingy defense. “We’re with every team,” said forward Brandon Sutter
. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”
The Canes will wrap up their six-game homestand on Saturday when the Tampa Bay Lightning come to town. It will be the latter-half of a back-to-back set for the Lightning, who face off with the Rangers tomorrow night in Florida. The Canes will regroup on Friday and look to secure points in five of six games on the homestand come Saturday. “The result wasn’t there, but the effort was, and that’s all we can ask,” Muller said.
Recap (Associated Press)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Marian Gaborik scored his 30th goal of the season and Brandon Prust netted the game-winner in the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers' 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Gaborik reached the 30-goal mark for the seventh time in his NHL career. He gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead with 5:07 left in the second period when he poked the puck in at the left post after it sailed high and landed in the crease.
New York won its third straight despite playing without captain Ryan Callahan, who missed the game because of a bruised right foot. Backup goalie Martin Biron (11-3-2) made 21 saves. No. 1 netminder Henrik Lundqvist is expected to play Friday night when the Rangers visit Tampa Bay.
Artem Anisimov also scored for the Rangers (41-15-6), who have a nine-point lead in the East. New York has 21 home wins and 20 road wins this season.
The Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead on Jeff Skinner's power-play goal 58 seconds into the second period. Anisimov tied it with a rising slap shot that beat goalie Cam Ward on the glove side at 8:21.
Prust made it 3-1 at 1:57 of the third when he finished off a 2-on-1 break with Brian Boyle.
Jay Harrison brought the Hurricanes back within a goal when he scored with 40 seconds left, after Ward was pulled for an extra attacker.
Ward finished with 22 saves.
NOTES: Carolina captain Eric Staal has assists in nine straight games, the longest streak since the team moved from Hartford. He has points in 10 consecutive games. ... The Rangers are 26-0-2 when leading after two periods. ... New York's Derek Stepan had a pair of assists. ... Callahan missed his first game of the season.