|NYR||0||1||2||(0 - 0)||3|
|CAR||0||1||0||(0 - 0)||1|
On a normal night, during a normal season, you would chalk this one up to running into a hot goalie while nothing fell on your end.
But this has been anything but a normal season for the Carolina Hurricanes, who are mired in last place in the NHL as they try to play catch-up with the rest of the league with one week left in 2009.
Cam Ward was plenty good enough to come up with a “W” as he seemed to be swatting away a shot by New York star Marian Gaborik every minute, but so was Henrik Lundqvist on the other end as he maintained his poise as the Canes poured it on late en route to a 3-1 victory for the Rangers.
Eric Staal had his share of chances, especially late, but came up scoreless, having to watch younger brother Marc salt the game away with an empty-net goal with 33 seconds left.
“It was a painful game and we’re not in a position to wash those away, but it was a well-played game that turned on a goal,” coach Paul Maurice said. “There was a good crowd in the building, there were some good hits and both teams played smart and didn’t take stupid penalties. There was a lot of intensity in that game.”
A playoff type of game indeed, except the Rangers are in the Eastern Conference hunt, while the Canes are still searching for double-digit wins as Christmas approaches, sitting in the NHL basement as their three-game home winning streak came to abrupt end Monday night.
“We realize we’ve got to put a string of wins together in order to make a push,” said Ward, who stopped 28 shots. “It’s like every other game, we’re been in the battle but we just haven’t been able to come out on top. It’s not from a lack of effort. We’ve just got to put that puck in the net and try to keep on going here.”
Sergei Samsonov scored goals in consecutive games for the first time since last February when he gave the Canes a 1-0 lead just 46 seconds into the second with a wrap-around score.
The lead didn’t last long as the Rangers scored 28 seconds later when Tim Gleason lost the handle in front of the net after a wide shot caromed off the back wall as NHL goal leader Gaborik easily netted his 25th of the season.
“Things have been awfully weird this year,” Ward said. “I think I was a little too aggressive and I went out for a clean shot, and I don’t know if the (New York) player shot it wide intentionally or misfired the shot, but it was like Plinko, I was going back and forth and the next thing you know I’m out of the net and it’s a tap in.”
Brandon Dubinsky scored 1:21 into the third after taking a quick pass from Gaborik, and the goal stood up as the Canes couldn’t get a shot on Lundqvist after pulling Ward with 1:08 left for an extra attacker.
Ward had to be sharp early to keep the Rangers off the board in the first as New York put together consecutive 2-on-1 breaks midway through the period with the Carolina goalie stoning Gaborik on the second opportunity.
“He’s such a talented player,” Ward said of Gaborik, who had six shots – all top-notch scoring chances. “You’ve got to treat him like Crosby and Ovechkin – you’ve got to play him tough and I thought we did a good job.”
Michael Del Zotto also hit the post with about two minutes left in a 0-0 first period as the Canes dodged several New York scoring chances as the Rangers carried much of the play in the opening 20 minutes.
“There were good chances at both ends and both teams needed tennis racquets tonight around the net, but there were a lot of bodies and stick swinging and it was a pretty physical game,” Maurice said. “It was a very fast game – one of the quickest games of the year.”
Gleason returned after missing three games, logging 21 minutes in front of Ward.
“It’s nothing new with Cam, he’s always there for us,” Gleason said of Ward’s stellar play in goal. “We had a couple of breakdowns and it was in the back of our net.
“I felt like it was the first game of the year,” Gleason added when asked how he felt returning to the lineup. “I just tried to play it simple, play steady and play my game.”
NOTES: Carolina had beaten the Rangers in eight of the last 10 at the RBC Center before Monday night. … Andrew Alberts moved within one of 300 NHL games. … Staal lost 14 of 21 faceoffs. … Gleason was a minus three. … Rod Brind’Amour has now gone 30 straight games without a goal. … Rookie defenseman Brett Carson logged 22 or more minutes for the third time in the last five games. … The Canes managed just five shots on three power plays.
|Sergei Samsonov (6) Wrap-around - ASST: Brandon Sutter (6), Brett Carson (2)|
1 - 0 CAR
|Marian Gaborik (25) Wrist shot - ASST: Brandon Dubinsky (9), Michal Rozsival (9)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Brandon Dubinsky (4) Backhand shot - ASST: Marian Gaborik (22), Vinny Prospal (24)|
2 - 1 NYR
|EN - Marc Staal (4) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE|
3 - 1 NYR
|Marc Staal Hi-sticking against Ray Whitney|
|Matt Gilroy Hooking against Sergei Samsonov|
|Vinny Prospal Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Eric Staal Interference on goalkeeper against Henrik Lundqvist|
|SA: 33||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 32||EV: 27 - 28|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 5|
|SV%: .970||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 30||TOI: 59:29|
|Saves: 28||EV: 22 - 24|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 5|
|SV%: .933||SH: 1 - 1|