Carolina holds off Rangers for 3-1 win

Chris Baird - TSN via Baird Photography

Chris Baird – TSN via Baird Photography

RALEIGH, N.C. – Jordan Staal scored the eventual game-winning goal at the 18:18 mark of the second period as the Carolina Hurricanes topped the New York Rangers 3-1 at PNC Arena on Tuesday.

The victory ended the Hurricanes’ recent two-game losing skid, having posted only one win in their last seven, and also broke a 10-game losing streak to the Rangers.

“We looked at the last game we played them and said, ‘listen, when we came back from the West coast, we didn’t have jam to our game, but if we were goin’ to beat this team that’s given us some tough times, we gotta’ play harder, we gotta’ win more one-on-one battles’, and I thought our guys’ compete level was really high tonight,” Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said.

“We won a lot of the races, a lot of the battles and we played smart.”

Jiri Tlusty, who assisted on Staal’s marker returned the favor after Staal set him up to open the game’s scoring 33 seconds into the second period.

Just under four minutes later, Kevin Klein tied the game for the Rangers as his point shot beat Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward who earned his first win in regulation since Dec. 31, making 24 saves on 25 shots faced.

“It was a good game,” Staal said afterwards.

“We did a lot of good things on both sides of the puck. Fortunately enough, Sems and Jiri played really well and our line was good.  Hopefully, we’ll keep that goin’.”

Rookie Elias Lindholm scored the insurance goal for Carolina at 14:31 of the third period.

Lindholm was at the top of the crease to tuck in a rebound off a Jeff Skinner shot attempt, and beat fellow countryman, Rangers goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist, who faced 35 Hurricanes shots throughout the game.

“We had a lot of guys that showed they’re not gonna’ quit,” Muller continued

“They feel that we can keep goin’ and I think that third period showed that we were just confident with our game. It’s nice when you put the 60 (minutes) together.”

The win brought the Hurricanes two points closer in the NHL’s Eastern Conference wildcard race, sitting eight points back of the Philadelphia Flyers, while holding the same margin behind the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Metropolitan Division standings.

The team will practice on Wednesday at PNC Arena in preparation for its next game against the visiting Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.