Associated Press
Friday, February 21, 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists, and the New York Rangers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 on Friday night.

Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome each had a goal and an assist for New York, which won for the eighth time in 11 games. Jesper Fast and Brady Skjei also scored, and Igor Shesterkin made 27 saves in the Rangers’ seventh straight road victory.

“The last two, three weeks we feel like we’ve been playing really well,” Skjei said. “We’re playing with a lot of confidence.”

New York swept the four-game season series. The Rangers have won 31 of their past 37 games with the Hurricanes since February 2011.

“For whatever reason, they usually play well against us,” Carolina captain Jordan Staal said. “We have to find ways to get points right now and whatever team we’re playing against, it’s got to be better.”

Brock McGinn and Sebastian Aho scored for Carolina, which dropped to 5-4 since the All-Star break. The Hurricanes are fighting for a wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Petr Mrazek stopped 31 shots in his third loss of the season to the Rangers.

Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour was disappointed in his team’s lack of urgency at the start.

“They were good,” Brind’Amour said. “They were desperate, a little more than we were. That to me is the bigger issue. We needed to have a little more desperation early in the game to kind of set the tone and we never did.”

New York typically dominates Carolina with Henrik Lundqvist in net. But the veteran goaltender got the night off so the Rangers could stay with Shesterkin’s hot hand.

The 24-year-old rookie earned his eighth win in nine NHL appearances. He made a spectacular glove save on Nino Niederreiter in the first period.

“He made some big-time saves to keep it 0-0 and then we got the goal,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “I thought after that, we really played well.”

New York jumped in front on Zibanejad’s unassisted breakaway goal with 3:19 left in the first.

After McGinn tied it 3:25 into the second, the Rangers got a pair of goals that deflected in off the skate of a Carolina player.

Fast got his ninth goal at 9:48 when he attempted to pass the puck back to Panarin and it bounced off the skate of Brett Pesce past Mrazek.

Skjei made it 3-1 at 3:51 with a pass that hit off Jake Gardinder’s skate.

“When we were struggling to score, we couldn’t get any of those (bounces),” Strome said. “We had guys going to the net, we had guys playing hard.”

Zibanejad set up Panarin with a beautiful behind-the-back pass just 70 seconds into the third for a power-play goal and a 4-1 lead.

Aho, who has scored an NHL-best 10 goals this month, was able to get a power-play goal by Shesterkin 5:12 into the third. But Strome tacked on an empty-netter with 1:48 left.

NOTES: Panarin got his 50th assist of the season. It’s his third straight season with at least 50 assists. … Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba had a hard time staying out of the penalty box. He was called for a pair of interference penalties in the first period and a roughing penalty in the second. … Aho has at least a point in 11 straight games and 36 points in the past 31 games. … The sellout crowd of 18,680, the 11th of the season for the Hurricanes, was aided by healthy chunk of transplanted Rangers fans wearing blue.


Hurricanes: Visit Toronto on Saturday.

Rangers: Host San Jose on Saturday.


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