RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Try as he might, Kevyn Adams couldn't completely remember the last time he scored three goals in a game. The best he could recall was one about 10 years ago in the minors, soon after he left college.
Not to worry. The veteran center has a more recent memory to talk about.
Adams scored his first three goals of the season for his first NHL hat trick, Eric Staal added his 13th before leaving with an injury and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 5-1 Thursday night.
``My goals were a product of great work around me,'' said Adams, one of the team's alternate captains. ``It's exciting for me, because we won the game, and it's nice to get the fans excited, too.''
Martin Gerber made 28 saves as the Hurricanes (14-3-1) won for the 11th time in 12 games and extended the best start in franchise history. Even with captain Rod Brind'Amour sitting out with a groin injury, Carolina dominated almost from the start with surprising contributions from a host of players.
Justin Williams had a goal, and Radim Vrbata added a pair of assists, but no one was bigger than Adams, a solid veteran who eats up minutes on the penalty kill and rarely gets scoring chances.
``I know my game, I know my role,'' Kevyn Adams said. ``I have to do that every night, just play gritty.''
Yet he gave the Hurricanes the lead for good early in the second period at the end of a nifty give-and-go with Vrbata, a healthy scratch 10 times already this season. Adams skated past defenseman Darius Kasparaitis to poke the puck past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to make it 2-1.
Then veteran Craig Adams, called up from Lowell of the AHL three games earlier, helped get another with a vicious check against the boards on defenseman Maxim Kondratiev. The puck slipped into the trapezoid to Kevyn Adams, and he quickly beat Michal Rozsival to the front of the net to score again.
He later completed a 2-on-1 with Vrbata to give Carolina an insurmountable lead.
``It's something we have to have every night,'' Gerber said. ``Everybody has to push.''
Of course, with the Rangers looking appropriately weary at the end of a five-game road trip, it wasn't that difficult. They took eight penalties and finished with only five shots in the third period, while Lundqvist allowed more than three goals for the first time.
``Even when we weren't behind, I think we had five odd-numbered rushes in the first period,'' Rangers coach Tom Renney said. ``Pretty good teaching opportunities, I suppose. We have to make sure we pay attention to that and rectify it.''
Michael Nylander had the only goal for New York, which won the first three games of the trip before dropping the final two to Toronto and Carolina.
``I think we took too many penalties trying to get back in the game in the third,'' Rangers defenseman Tom Poti said. ``It was penalty, penalty, penalty and that just tires everyone out. You're not going to win too many games if that's the scenario in the third period.''
Staal went to the locker room in the third period with a bruised back, received as he fell backward over the net following a missed scoring chance. The second-year star has 13 goals in 18 games.
The Hurricanes already have center Josef Vasicek (knee) and defenseman Andrew Hutchinson (hip) on injured reserve, with Brind'Amour, defensemen Glen Wesley (groin) and Niclas Wallin (wrist) day to day with various other ailments.
Coach Peter Laviolette doesn't expect Staal to be sidelined long.
``He kind of fell on his backside,'' he said. ``I don't think it's anything major.''
Notes: The teams will meet again Saturday in New York. ... Carolina D Bret Hedican and his wife, Olympic gold medal skater Kristi Yamaguchi, had their second daughter Wednesday night. ... Rangers D Fedor Tyutin left the game early with a finger injury after he blocked a shot. He will be re-evaluated Friday. ... Played was stopped in the second period when the puck got lost in the shorts of New York left wing Ville Nieminen. After a delay of about 10 seconds, he sheepishly handed the puck to the referees.