The New York Rangers struck quickly Wednesday against the Carolina Hurricanes and then let goalie Henrik Lundqvist take care of the rest.
The Rangers’ Chris Kreider scored 52 seconds into the game, then 20 seconds into the third period as New York came away with a 6-1 victory at PNC Arena. Lundqvist, the old pro who always has given the Canes fits, made 31 saves and notched his 10th victory of the season.
The Canes’ Scott Darling, however, suffered a goalie’s worst nightmare in the first period. New York’s Mika Zibanejad, about to make a line shift, flipped the puck the entire length of the Canes’ zone toward Darling, who somehow had it go off his glove and into the net — a stunning muff that Canes coach Bill Peters later said had a deflating effect.
The Canes (9-7-4) responded from the bizarre goal as Sebastian Aho, on a power play, scored his fifth goal in five games. The Canes had other power-play chances but Lundqvist was too tough in net, twice robbing Carolina’s Jordan Staal of goals, and the Rangers’ defensive coverage was too tight.
Jesper Fast also had a pair of goals for the Rangers (11-9-2) and Paul Carey scored his first of the season.
The Canes were 5-1-1 in the seven games before Wednesday as the line of Staal, Aho and Teravainen piled up goals and points. But they were outplayed, outskated and outexecuted by the Rangers, who were playing without defenseman and captain Ryan McDonagh, out with a muscle strain.