It’s safe to say that the Hurricanes should change their name whenever they’re coming to Madison Square Garden.
With the Rangers’ 5-1 win over the ‘Canes, the Boys in Blue extended their franchise record to 14 straight wins against Carolina when playing at MSG.
The streak stretches back to January 5, 2011.
The story of the game was two-fold and the authors were Henrik Lundqvist and Michael Grabner.
After surrendering a goal to Justin Williams just 56 seconds into the game, Lundqvist slammed the door on the Hurricanes. The King stopped the final 31 shots that came his way.
His Majesty’s biggest save came early in the third period on a penalty shot by noted Rangers’-killer Jeff Skinner. Skinner weaved in on Lundqvist but the King flung his leg out and stopped the shot; preserving the Rangers’ 2-1 lead.
His co-author Grabner took it from there. Michael’s first goal came at 1:52 of the second period. But it was in the waning minutes of the third-period where Grabner wrote his part of the story.
With 2:13 remaining in the game, Carolina pulled goalie Scott Darling for an extra attacker.
Grabner continued his march towards history by depositing the puck in the vacated net. The goal gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead, but more importantly, it gave Michael five empty-netters on the year.
The NHL record of nine was set by Pavel Bure during the 1999-00 season.
Just four from the record, the “Austrian Rocket,” decided his night wasn’t done.
With the help and willingness of his teammates, Grabner potted his second empty-netter of the game; completing the hat-trick. And moving him ever closer to Bure’s mark.
The Rangers lead was 4-1, but Carolina coach Bill Peters challenged, saying that Grabner’s third-goal was offsides.
Therefore the Blueshirts went back to the power-play with 1:12 remaining in the game.
Paul Carey saw to it that the 7th Avenue Skaters and their fans witnessed one more goal. Carey batted home the loose puck for his second goal of the year.
Armed with a 5-1 lead the Blueshirts ran down the last 40 seconds of the game and finished off their impressive win.
BLUESHIRT BULLET POINTS
PAPA JOHN’S: For the 16th time in 20 games the famous pizza chain will be giving out discounted pizza. Remember to thank the Boys In Blue for scoring three or more goals when you’re chowing down.
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE: The Rangers have won nine of their last 10 at MSG and are now 11-5-2 at home. It’s safe to say that the World’s Most Famous Arena has become the Friendly Confines to its tenants. Oh, and the 11 home wins lead the NHL, not too shabby.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Two-for-seven on the power-play and two-for-two on the penalty kill give the Rangers a combined success rating of 128.57. For judgement purposes, good teams have a rating of over 100.
The Rangers face Sidney Crosby and the Penguins Tuesday (Dec. 5) at PPG Paints Arena. Game time is 7:30 p.m. ET and the broadcast is on NBCSN.
5-1 tonight and 6-1 on November 22, give the Rangers two very impressive wins over Carolina.
There are two similarities in these games.
One is the stellar play of Lundqvist.
On November 22, it was Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast that led the way with two-goals apiece. Tonight it was Michael Grabner with his fifth career hat-trick — third as a Ranger.