In a well-balanced game statistically, the goaltending made all the difference as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Rangers 4–1 at the RBC Center in Raleigh on Thursday night.
The Rangers used up all their scoring against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night, winning 7–0 as Carolina’s difference maker Cam Ward stopped 39 of 40 Rangers shots.
The Hurricanes were able to jump out to an early lead when Chad Larose scored at 5:39 of the first period. In the first 10 minutes, Ward was tested numerous times and came up with big saves on newcomer Chad Kolarik and Matt Gilroy.
Kolarik was brought up from the American League’s Hartford Whalers after the Rangers scoring leader Brandon Dubinsky was placed on the injured list due to a stress fracture in his left leg.
Kolarik may very well be a diamond in the rough. He played an aggressive game and crashed the front of the net, showing no hesitation. He even stole a puck out of midair in front of Ward to put a shot on goal.
Even with all the efforts from the Rangers’ rising stars, the Hurricanes were too much to handle. They barely missed any opportunities and seemed to be very much in sync. At one point during the second period their passing accuracy and puck handling skills were so precise it was reminiscent of a video game.
The Rangers did come to play and fought for the one goal they had scored on Ward. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist could have had a better game.
Credit must also be given to the talents of Carolina with the likes of Eastern Conference All-Star captain Eric Staal. Brandon Sutter also had a solid game for the Hurricanes scoring his ninth goal of the season. Sutter’s goal was a beautiful one that beat Lundqvist low to the stick side.
Brandon Prust scored the only goal of the night for the Rangers at 11:40 in the third period. The Hurricanes were quick to respond with a goal by rookie Jeff Skinner who was set up nicely in front of the goal by a Larose pass.
This was the start of a three-game road trip for the Rangers against three Southeast Division teams. Next up for the Blueshirts is the Atlanta Thrashers who the Rangers lead by three points in the Eastern Conference.
Carolina is in ninth place, currently two points out of a playoff spot.