- As Steven Tyler belts out, it’s the same old story, same old song and dance for the Carolina Hurricanes – another strong effort that sees the team out-shoot and out-chance their opponent, only to fall 4-1, this time to the New York Rangers. It was the team’s seventh straight loss at home, tying a franchise record for the longest home losing streak set from Dec. 27, 2002 to Jan. 20, 2003 (0-6-0-1). “Losing is not fun,” Eric Staal said. “It’s not fun for anybody to watch, and it’s not fun for anybody to play.”
- More Staal on the Canes’ recent slide, in which the team seems to be losing games by the exact same blueprint: “Seems to be kind of a theme here in the last couple. We came ready to play, we came to compete and we came to work. We played for each other and played a good game. We didn’t get the result that we wanted.”
- Had it not been for Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the result could have very well been different. The Swedish netminder stopped a season-high 48 of 49 shots. Tonight marked the sixth time the Canes have registered 40 or more shots and the second consecutive game in which the team has thrown 45 or more shots toward the net. “That’s a lot of rubber at the net for a team. He came up with some big saves,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “I don’t know what more our guys can do. There were great scoring chances. We asked them to go to the net and get second and third rebounds.”
- At this point, the second period has become a recurring nightmare that the Hurricanes simply cannot escape. New York tallied three goals in the middle frame, including two on the power play. The Canes have now been outscored 21-3 in the second period since leading Washington 2-0 after one period on March 14. Prior to this recent 12-game stretch, the Canes outscored opponents 34-15 in the middle frame.
- Zac Dalpe, who returned from a month-long injury just a week prior in Charlotte, notched the Canes’ lone goal. He finished off a tape-to-tape centering feed from Jeff Skinner in one-timer fashion, his first goal in eight games this season. Dalpe posted 11:54 of ice time, including nearly two-and-a-half minutes on the power play. “He was skating well, and he’s got a goal-scoring shot. It was great execution on the play,” Muller said. “He had a good game.”
- Dalpe was recalled to fill a roster spot vacated by Alexander Semin, who missed his first game of the season with an upper-body injury. Semin is day-to-day.
- Tonight marked the sixth and final third jersey night at home this season. The Canes posted a 1-5 record in their alternate sweaters. The black jerseys will make one more appearance this season, as the Canes will don them on the road on April 21 in Tampa Bay.
- Despite generating more chances for the team, the power play hasn’t done the Canes many favors lately. The team finished 0-for-5 on the man advantage tonight and came up empty when the Canes sorely needed a boost. On the other side of the special teams token, the penalty kill surrendered two goals, both in the second period.
- Starting intently at the face of adversity, the Hurricanes will attempt to snap their winless April, as they travel to Boston to do battle with the Bruins on Monday before taking on Jussi Jokinen, Brandon Sutter and the Pittsburgh Penguins at PNC Arena on Tuesday. “To start pointing fingers and start blaming certain things, that’s not going to make you a better person or a better player. We’re after something bigger here,” Staal said. “The type of attitude and work ethic we had tonight we can live with. Not the result. Not that we’re going to accept losing, but the effort was there.”
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - After stopping 74 shots in a little over 24 hours, Henrik Lundqvist was nearly too exhausted to talk.
His play on the ice said plenty.
Lundqvist made a season-high 48 saves, and the New York Rangers gave the Carolina Hurricanes their club-record-tying seventh straight home loss, 4-1 on Saturday night.
"I'm just so tired, I don't know what to say right now," Lundqvist said with a smile. "I don't know what I'm saying. Short answers today."
Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan scored 31 seconds apart, and Rick Nash added a goal and an assist during the Rangers' three-goal second period. Brian Boyle added an empty-netter just before the buzzer.
New York has earned seven points during a 3-0-1 run to move into seventh place in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are tied in points with the eighth-place New York Islanders, but own the tiebreakers. More importantly, the Rangers lead ninth-place Winnipeg by two points.
Division and area rival New Jersey is three points back in 10th place.
"Everything's important. The belief in here has held strong, we've held together and we've seen some things that we're improving along the way," Rangers center Brad Richards said. "Now we're getting some points. No matter how you get them, we need them desperately."
Zac Dalpe, called up from Charlotte of the AHL earlier Saturday, scored with 10:33 left for Carolina, which had a season-high 49 shots but couldn't convert on two late power plays.
"That's a lot of rubber at the net for a team, and (Lundqvist) came up with some big saves," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "I don't know what more our guys can do. There were great scoring chances. We asked them to go to the net, get second and third rebounds. We did everything you're supposed to do, and were only able to beat him once."
The Hurricanes lost their fourth straight and for the 11th time in 12 games while matching the mark for consecutive home losses set in the 2002-03 season - a record that could fall Tuesday night when the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins visit.
"Losing's not fun. It's not fun for anybody to watch. It's not fun for anybody to play," captain Eric Staal said. "But I think you start pointing fingers, start blaming certain things, it's not going to make you a better person or better player. We're after something bigger here, and the type of attitude and work ethic we had tonight, we can live with. Not that we're going to accept losing, but the effort was there."
Since taking a 2-0 lead against Washington on March 14 - a game the Hurricanes lost 3-2 to start their slide - Carolina has been outscored 45-16 while tumbling from the Southeast Division lead.
Lundqvist finished with a career high for saves in regulation, surpassed only by his 50-save performance in an overtime loss to Pittsburgh in 2010.
"That's the best I've seen him play since I've been here," Rangers coach John Tortorella said.
Lundqvist took a shutout bid into the third period one night after he made 26 saves in a shootout loss to the Penguins that had all the intensity of a playoff game.
"The key for me today was, I was patient," Lundqvist said. "I was waiting for the shots, and obviously as the game moved on, I gained some confidence, knowing I could stay deep and play my game and wait for the puck."
Muller has repeatedly lamented the fragility of his team's mental state during its skid, and it reappeared during the first few minutes of the second period.
New York's first goal came on a power play after three Hurricanes followed Richards to the goal line. The Rangers center backhanded a pass to a wide-open Stepan between the circles, and he beat Ellis at 2:00.
On New York's next shift, Ellis had his pocket picked while playing the puck behind the net. Nash slipped it to Callahan, who buried a shot into an open net to make it 2-0 at 2:31.
Nash then added a spin-and-shoot goal from between the circles on the power play with 8:41 left - the Rangers' fifth goal in three games with the man advantage.
"They get that puck in the slot," Carolina left wing Jeff Skinner said, "and there's not much you can do."
That was more than enough offense to take care of a Hurricanes team playing for the first time without Alexander Semin, a key component of a top line that has been the lone bright spot of an otherwise rough month. He was scratched due to an undisclosed upper body injury.
"He's been pushing it for a bit and just couldn't do it," Muller said.
NOTES: Skinner had his first assist since March 9 when he helped on Dalpe's goal. ... The Rangers have won eight of nine in the series. ... New York improved to 11-0 when leading after two periods.
Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at (at)JoedyAP.