Rangers outlast Hurricanes, win 3-2 in shootout

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes couldn’t hold on and lost 3-2 in a shootout to the New York Rangers at PNC Arena on Saturday.

Chris Terry and Jeff Skinner scored for the Hurricanes while Cam Ward made 32 saves in the losing effort.

While J.T Miller and Kevin Klein led the Rangers during regulation, it was Mats Zuccarello who scored the deciding goal during the shootout to secure the second point and the win for the Rangers.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 18 shots and extended his team’s current win streak to five games.

New York outshot Carolina 34-20 and dominated play for the majority of the first 60 minutes of play

The Hurricanes’ special-teams play struggled, finishing 0-for-4 on the power play with only two shots on net, while giving up a goal to the Rangers during the two man-advantage opportunities they were provided.

It was a goaltender’s duel from the start as a partisan crowd of 13,329 witnessed an impressive display from Ward and Lundqvist.

Having won 12 of the last 13 games between the two teams, including a 2-1 shootout win at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 16, the Rangers were seeking to continue their dominance over the Hurricanes.

They eventually did so.

New York generated the pace of play early and put Ward to work during the first five minutes.

A sliding pad save on Matt Hunwick highlighted the Carolina netminder’s early stops.

Even while getting outworked, Carolina managed to took a 1-0 lead thanks to Terry.

The winger finished a 2-on-1 that he and Nathan Gerbe set up as they broke into the Rangers zone with defenseman Ryan McDonagh splitting the ice between them.

Gerbe saucered a pass over to Terry who one-timed the puck past Lundqvist to score his sixth goal of the season.

Carolina came close to going up by two during their first power play sequence as Martin St. Louis sat in the box for hooking.

Elias Lindholm worked in close to Lundqvist’s crease along the goal line, drew the puck into the paint, but the keeper got his pad on the the forward’s shovel-shot attempt.

Ward followed up with a number of critical saves that kept Carolina ahead and carrying its one-goal lead into the first intermission even while being outshot by the the Rangers 11-6.

New York didn’t let up any during the second period and Ward continued to deny numerous scoring chances from long and close range.

“We just seemed to be a step behind tonight,” Ward said.

Rick Nash beat three Hurricanes players and still got a shot off, but Ward managed to get his body in front of.

During that play, Carolina’s Brad Malone was penalized for hooking and gave the Rangers the opportunity they needed to tie the game.

Zuccarello found J.T. Miller breaking in the neutral zone to the Hurricanes’ blue line and zipped a tape-to-tape pass that left him all alone to face Ward.

He deked the Carolina keeper cleanly, drawing the puck from backhand to forehand, and tied the game 1-1 four minutes into the third period.

It didn’t take long for the Hurricanes to regain the lead as Skinner powered down the right boards to score his eighth of the season just 26 seconds later.

With the puck pushed up in the neutral zone by Faulk, Skinner eventually got a short chip pass from Lindholm just outside the New York blue line.

He then fended off McDonagh long enough to catch Lundqvist off guard with a backhander that stayed on the ice and caught the inside of the far post.

“Faulker did a great job steppin’ up there,” Skinner said.

“Then Lindy makes a nice little play to me. I fanned on the shot, but sometimes those are the bounces you get. I just tried to go wide on him and throw it on net.”

With Carolina leading 2-1, the period didn’t avoid controversy as New York thought it had tied the game with 7:36 remaining.

As the Rangers pressed in the Carolina zone, a collision of bodies caught Ward out of position and deep in his net and subsequently he caused his mask to come off while a shot on goal came from the left point.

The puck ended up in the net, but after the referee had already blown his whistle due to Ward’s mask coming off.

Though not scoring on that play, Klein eventually evened the score 2-2 with 2:23 to go.

The goal drew a loud cheer from the strong New York contingent in the stands while the Carolina crowd sat in stunned silence.

“Through the first three periods, I thought they outskated us,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.

“The game’s fair for the most part, so they were comin’. We never had the puck. I didn’t think we were very dangerous. We didn’t hang on to it very much. We didn’t make many plays, so you’re just hangin’ on – you’re holdin’ on. That’s not the way you wanna’ play. That’s not the way we have played. For some reason we never got started; we never skated. They skated us from opening shift on.”

Carolina put together strong offensive sequences during overtime.

Outchancing New York 3-2, Carolina couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities it had in the 4-on-4 competition.

In the shootout, after Skinner was denied his opportunity to beat Lundqvist a second time, Zuccarello beat Ward with a wrist shot and gave New York the advantage.

That became the eventual game-winner as the Rangers’ Derek Stepan missed on his chance while both Gerbe and Terry couldn’t beat Lundqvist, and the Rangers claimed their second shootout victory over the Hurricanes this season.

Notes: Terry’s goal was his second in as many games and second against the Rangers in two career games played against them..In 18 starts spanning back to Nov. 1, Ward has posted a 2.13 goals-against average and .923 save percentage…With the assist on Skinner’s goal, Lindholm extended his current point streak to three games (1g, 2a)…With four power play opportunities, Carolina only generated two shots on net…It was a physical game as both teams dished out a total of 74 hits – 41-33 in the Rangers’ favor…Brad Malone (8) and Patrick Dwyer (6) dished out the most contact for Carolina while Dan Girardi (7) and Zucarrello (6) did the same for New York.