Zibanejad, Lundqvist lead Rangers to 6-2 win over Hurricanes
NEW YORK (AP) — With players up and down the lineup producing multiple points, the New York Rangers broke through for a confidence-building victory they desperately needed.
Mika Zibanejad had two goals and two assists to help the Rangers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-2 on Tuesday night.
Pavel Buchnevich and Tony DeAngelo also scored twice for New York. Mats Zuccarello had three assists and Chris Kreider added two as the Rangers won for only the second time in eight games.
Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves for his 444th win, one behind Terry Sawchuk for sixth place on the NHL’s career list.
“I think we played faster, played simpler,” Zibanejad said after tying his career high with four points. “We scored on the power play, took advantage of the chances we had. It was a good response from the guys.”
Saku Maenalanen had two goals and Curtis McElhinney stopped 22 shots but the Hurricanes lost for just the second time since the new year.
Zibanejad scored his first goal after McElhinney misread a long carom off the end boards. Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk sent the puck deep from just inside the red line and Kreider controlled it a few feet in front of the goalie. McElhinney misjudged the bounce and came out too far, allowing Zibanejad an easy tap-in opportunity at 12:41 of the first period.
“I don’t think we had enough guys emotionally invested,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Special teams killed us. We needed a little more from some guys. Just didn’t have it tonight.”
Zibanejad scored again when Zuccarello delivered a backhand pass from below the goal line at 14:22 to give New York a 3-1 lead. Kreider got his second assist of the game on the play.
Zuccarello has six points in the past three games.
“You just see a little bit more of a bounce in his step. His personality is back. He is playing with a lot of passion and enthusiasm,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “Best hockey he’s played since the season started, for sure.”
DeAngelo, skating in his 100th NHL game, opened the scoring when a fluttering wrist shot sailed past McElhinney at 1:16 of the first. Jimmy Vesey and Boo Nieves assisted.
“The big thing when you have a good start and cash in a couple of goals is not to have a letdown,” Lundqvist said. “We continued to push hard and keep our focus. It’s a step for us in becoming a better team.”
Carolina knotted the score at 9:24 when Maenalanen benefited from Brett Howden’s turnover. The rookie center struggled to control a pass in his own end and Maenalanen took advantage, scoring his third career goal. Howden skated on the fourth line for the second consecutive game after spending a majority of the season on one of New York’s top three offensive trios.
Maenalanen also redirected Victor Rask’s wrist shot at 11:51 of the third period. Justin Faulk assisted on the play.
Buchnevich scored the first of two power-play goals at 3:41 of the second when Zibanejad found the Russian all alone at the top of the crease. Zuccarello also had an assist.
Buchnevich added his second of the game and ninth this season early in the third period. Zibanejad and Zuccarello assisted on the goal.
DeAngelo scored his fourth of the season at 12:55 of the third to extend New York’s lead to 6-2. Nieves and Vladislav Namestnikov helped set up the goal.
“We have to keep building off this,” Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei said. “One game is not going to change the season.”
NOTES: Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren made his NHL debut. The 20-year-old Minnesota native was acquired at the trade deadline last season from the Boston Bruins as part of a package for recently retired Rick Nash. ... Zuccarello passed Anders Hedberg for the most assists by a Rangers player born and trained outside North America. ... Kevin Hayes missed his seventh straight game with an upper-body injury but skated in a non-contact jersey at the most recent practice. ... Rangers defenseman Neal Pionk missed the game due to a lingering lower-body injury. ... New York scratched defenseman Brendan Smith. Carolina scratched forward Clark Bishop.
Hurricanes: Host the Ottawa Senators on Friday.
Rangers: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.