Nothing Could Be Finer Than Beating Carolina

RANGERS 4, HURRICANES 2

The Carolina Hurricanes have become a very likable team.

Their skaters are young, dynamic and very speedy.

They also are a tonic for the Rangers since — for the second time in a week — they invaded The Garden and exited minus two points while the Blueshirts got the W.

New York’s 4-2 victory was accomplished on a Saturday afternoon thanks to another “Horatio At The Bridge” performance by Henrik Lundqvist who halted endless assaults by the Hurricanes over the first two periods.

Rangers Lundqvist Hurricanes Heritage 12316

Derek Stepan managed to squeeze home a goal in the first period which stabilized the Blueshirts for the homestretch dash in the final stanza.

When it counted most — in the final 20 minutes — the Blueshirts outshot Carolina 12-3 with Chris Kreider igniting a pair of red lights.

OVERVIEW: Mathematicians may be impressed with the decided edge that the visitors enjoyed over three periods, but realists are more focused on which team exits Stage Right with the two points. In this case: Advantage, Rangers!

WHAT WENT RIGHT:

  1. THE STOPPER: It’s getting redundant, but if it wasn’t for Lundqvist, well, you could have forgotten about this one. Although outshot 15-3 in the opening period, the Rangers left the ice with a 1-0 lead on Stepan’s goal, launched by defenseman Kevin Klein.

Dave Maloney and Ron Duguay explain how Derek Stepan got in position to score the Rangers' first goal against the Hurricanes.

  1. AWAKENED GIANT: In a slump, Kreider woke up with a vengeance with not one but two third-period goals. It provided the needed adhesive for New York’s victory. “Chris is a big part of our team,” said Stepan. “We needed him to give us the edge.”
  1. NO FLUKE GRABNER: The thinking among skeptics was that the Michael Grabner Goal Festival had closed. Well, it had — but only momentarily. Kid Lightning notched his Lucky 13th of the season in his club’s terrific third period.
  1. ELASTIC AFTER A LOSS: Granted that losing isn’t fun, but the Rangers invariably do well after a defeat. After the Saturday effort, their record is 8-0-1 following an L.
  1. SLAYING INFRACTIONS: The Blueshirts batted a thousand on the penalty kills going three-for-three. They defused a five-on-three and four-on-three in the second frame.

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT:

  1. BETTER STARTS: Any team that’s outshot 15-3 as the Rangers were in the first period is not going to win many games. Coach Alain Vigneault has to revise the opening frame drawing board.
  1. BREAKING THE TRAP: For two periods, the home club struggled against a Carolina’s “away-game” strategy  that bordered for a while on strangulation.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:

  1. MSG NETWORKS’ JOE MICHELETTI: “The game turned the Rangers’ way in the third period because they got the puck in deep. And when there was trouble in their end, they shot pucks off the glass.”
  1. MSG NETWORKS’ JOHN GIANNONE: “Chris Kreider’s performance was stick-lifting and uplifting.”
  1. MSG NETWORKS’ RON DUGUAY: “If not for Henrik Lundqvist, it would have been a different result.”
  1. LUNDQVIST: “We have confidence going into the third period. We had the will and that was the difference in the end.”

Henrik Lundqvist juxtaposes New York's first two periods versus their third, where the Rangers willed their way to victory.

  1. AV: “We found a way!”
  1. REPORTER PATRICK MCCORMACK: “The Rangers have many players who score in big moments.”

NEXT GAME: The Blueshirts’ next game is Tuesday against the rival Islanders in Brooklyn. Live coverage gets under way at 6:30 p.m. on MSG 2.