Marian Gaborik scored a goal and added an assist, pacing a balanced New York attack which saw 14 players register at least one point, as the Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 Thursday night for their fourth consecutive victory.
Martin Biron got the start in net for the Rangers, spelling Henrik Lundqvist, and made 28 saves in running his season mark to 4-1-1. Biron outdueled Cam Ward, who made just 22 saves on 27 New York shots.
Tlusty opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the year just 35 seconds into the game, ripping a wrist shot past Biron off a clean offensive zone faceoff win by Brandon Sutter.
After Callahan tied the game with his 10th of the season on a power play rebound, Carolina took a lead late in the first. Joni Pitkanen's point shot was blocked, and the puck eventually came to Skinner in the slot. He knocked it down to his skates with his glove, then proceeded to send a shot over Biron's blocker and into the net with less than nine seconds remaining in the opening frame.
Under those circumstances last year, the Rangers would have folded the tents and gone away quietly. But this season's version of the club has proven they are a much different team than in previous campaigns, better suited to handle adversity and apt to show resiliency in coming back.
Much the same way they did Wednesday night by scoring four goals in a 10 minute stretch of the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers netted three goals in just under a five minute span of the middle frame to calm the Hurricanes. The three goal flurry turned a 2-1 New York deficit into a 4-2 Rangers lead.
Less than three minutes after McDonagh's point shot found its way past Ward to tie the game at 2-2, Artem Anisimov led a New York rush that turned into a two-on-one down low with Gaborik. Anisimov sent a pass to the Rangers' sniper, and he made no mistake in potting his team-leading 12th goal of the season to give New York a 3-2 lead.
Just under two minutes after scoring one of his own, Gaborik was the set up man for the next Rangers' tally. Gaborik sent a pass from behind the 'Canes cage to Avery at the right side of the slot, and he showed he can do more than agitate as he beat Ward for his third of the year to increase the lead to 4-2.
Carolina got close with 2:13 left in the second when Joslin's soft point shot had eyes and snaked its way through traffic in front and past Biron for his first of the year, giving the Hurricanes a chance by making it a 4-3 game heading into the third period.
But that was as close as Carolina would get, as Sauer's point shot found its way past Ward for his first of the season to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead just 5:42 into the stanza to provide the final margin.
The loss was the second in two games for new head coach Kirk Muller since taking over for Paul Maurice, who was let go by the club on Monday.
The two teams are heading in polar opposite directions, as the Rangers have the least amount of regulation losses in the NHL with just five, while Carolina has suffered the most with 15. New York has yielded the lowest amount of goals in the Eastern Conference with 49, while the Hurricanes have given up a League worst 91.