Perhaps the best part -- and most encouraging sign for the future -- about the New York Rangers' 5-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night was how it was accomplished. Not only did the Rangers erupt for four goals after ceding a one-goal lead late in the second period, they also received scoring from across the board -- lead by firsts from Sean Avery and Brandon Dubinsky. It was New York's sixth straight win and it is 9-2-1 over the last 12 games.
New York may not have had its best energy periods in the first and second frames, but they were close to really breaking through as Canes goalie Cam Ward made some terrific stops. What coach John Tortorella may come to realize, though, is that when his squad is lacking energy, Sean Avery almost always steps up to provide a burst. Avery scored the first goal of the game, breezing past a Carolina defender for a short breakaway and roofing a very pretty goal. Avery had his best game of the year, also drawing two back-to-back penalties in the second, and it was nice to see him rewarded with just over 10 minutes of ice time. He even concluded the game on a line with Brad Richards. Not too shabby.
The Blueshirts didn't have all that bad of a second period, but they couldn't find that important second goal, instead allowing Alexi Ponikarovsky to tie the game. It was really an unfortunate goal as the Hurricanes' forward took advantage of Richards' inability to get off on a line change at the end of a power play, effectively taking advantage of a scrambled 'defense' that included a forward.
But the Rangers 'stuck with it' as Tortorella likes to say and the third period was a sight to behold. Dan Girardi scored what was the game-winner on a patient pass from Richards and Dubinsky collected his first of the year off a bad-angle shot from Ryan Callahan that left Dubinsky with a half-vacant net to shoot into. Callahan potted the third tally of the frame off of some strong work by Dubinsky, and Richards topped it off with one of his own after he stole the pock from Ward behind the net. The Blueshirts finished the game with a season-high 40 shots on goal, while Henrick Lundqvist kicked away 34 shots of his own.
The Rangers kick off a four-game road trip on Tuesday against the New York Islanders.