Hurricanes Storm Past Rangers
The Rangers found out the hard way what the Hurricanes are all about. One of the NHL's biggest surprises this season, Carolina (14-3-1) stormed past the Rangers 5-1 at the RBC Center Thursday night. Kevyn Adams scored his first career hat trick and Martin Gerber finished with 28 saves. It was the Rangers' second loss in a row.
After Eric Staal and Michael Nylander traded unassisted goals 34 seconds apart near the end of the first, Adams started a string of four unanswered goals early in the second. After a Darius Kasparaitis penalty expired, Adams took a feed from Radim Vrbata and jammed the puck through Henrik Lundqvist at 3:30 to give Carolina a 2-1 lead. Earlier in the shift, Gerber stopped Tom Poti and the Canes took advantage of a blown coverage when neither Kasparaitis nor Nylander picked up Adams.
With under three minutes left in the period, Adams scored a backbreaking goal to put his team up two. Off a Maxim Kondratiev turnover behind the net due to a hit, Adams surprised Lundqvist with a backhand wraparound five-hole.
In the third, the Rangers' discipline fell apart. Ville Nieminen, Nylander and Martin Straka all got called for offensive zone penalties, putting the Canes on the power play for almost half the stanza. Briefly after killing off the third minor, another Blueshirt turnover resulted in Adams' third goal of the night. Largely ineffective most of the night, Jaromir Jagr failed to get the puck deep leading to a two-on-one. When Vrbata setup Adams in the slot for a one-time blast, it made the score 4-1 with 8:27 left.
Adding insult to injury, Justin Williams added an unassisted shorthanded goal with less than two minutes remaining to put a stamp on the Rangers' worst game of the season.
In an exciting first period, both teams took turns coming at each other in waves to try to gain an advantage. However, neither Lundqvist nor Gerber gave an inch. Each took turns making big saves. First, Lundqvist robbed Cory Stillman. He would later pokecheck away another chance. With some luck, it was Gerber's turn. Late in the period on a Ranger power play, Straka fed Petr Prucha for a slam dunk but he hit the post. However, the puck trickled off Gerber and right on the goal line before he covered up. Initially, referee Don Koharski ruled it a goal. But video replay reversed the call. That was the closest New York came to a lead.
In his first start in three games, Lundqvist allowed a season worst five goals on 27 shots.
Notes: Rangers lost defenseman Fedor Tyutin to a finger injury early in the first after he blocked a shot. He took only four shifts and will be reevaluated by team doctors back in New York Friday. ... Rangers (11-7-3) finished the road trip 3-2 and return home for a Saturday rematch with Carolina at 1 PM.