There’s just something about playing the Hurricanes that makes the Rangers win.
With their 6-3 victory in the books, the Blueshirts have now beaten Carolina 15 straight times at MSG.
But that’s just one of the many subplots in tonight’s win.
Alexandar Georgiev got the start. And like he has in his previous starts, he ran with it.
And boy oh boy, did he run with it.
Over the course of the game, Georgiev was pelted with 44 shots. And he saved 41; the second 40+ save performance of his young career.
“I think it’s easier to play when there are so many shots,” said Georgiev. “You’re in the game and you don’t have to keep refocusing.”
That’s a pretty mature statement for a rookie goalie. And it exemplifies why the Rangers are so high on him.
But back to the game.
Mats Zuccarello was a man on a mission; scoring twice. Over the last three games, Zuccarello now has four goals; the last one being the 100th of his NHL career.
A Teuvo Teravainen goal late in the first period negated Zuccarello’s first goal.
But 1:52 into the second period, Jimmy Vesey began his march towards history.
Vesey found himself open in front of Scott Darling’s net and buried his first goal of the night; giving the Blueshirts the 2-1 lead.
Former-Ranger, Lee Stempniak countered with one of his own. But it wasn’t enough.
Roughly four minutes after Stempniak tied the game, Vladislav Namestnikov joined in on the goal-scoring party; redirecting a Pavel Buchnevich shot from the point past Darling to give the Blueshirts the 3-2 lead.
The power-play goal was Namestnikov’s first as a Ranger at MSG.
Alas, not all leads can last forever.
8:23 into the third period, Victor Rask scored a power-play marker of his own; knotting the score at three.
That was as far as Carolina got, as Vesey undid the tie four minutes later; his second of the game.
Empty-netters by Zuccarello and Vesey salted away the game. And both empty-netters carried a little extra meaning.
Zucc’s was the 100th goal of his career. And Vesey’s completed his first career hat-trick.
“It’s something you definitely want to accomplish,” said Vesey. “I was just saying I remember it took me all four years in college to get one. It’s nice to have one. Everyone dreams when they are a kid of scoring the big goal or scoring a hat-trick. It’s something I will always remember.”
BLUESHIRT BULLET POINTS
PAPA JOHN’S (X2): For the sixth time in seven games, the Rangers tallied three or more goals. And tonight, they essentially did it twice. Too bad the discount is only applied once.
DOUSING THE STORM: Dating back to January 5, 2011, the Blueshirts have won 15 straight games against Carolina at MSG. It’s the longest such streak against any one opponent in franchise history.
GETTING THE JOB DONE: The Blueshirts are a perfect 20-0-0 when holding a lead entering the third period. That’s what’s known as slamming the door.
The Rangers face Sidney Crosby and the Penguins Wednesday (March 14) at MSG. Game time: 8 p.m. ET. Broadcast: NBCSN.
“It was a good team win for us tonight,” said Brady Skjei.