|NYR||1||0||1||(0 - 0)||2|
|CAR||1||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
• PHOTO GALLERY
• RANGERS GAME CENTER
Erik Christensen scored his first two points as a Ranger, and Brandon Dubinsky notched the game-winner with 8:11 left in the third period on Thursday night, as the Blueshirts ended the 2009 calendar year with a 2-1 win over the Hurricanes at Carolina.
The victory -- in John Tortorella's 600th game as an NHL head coach -- was an impressive rebound from Wednesday night's shutout loss to Philadelphia at Madison Square Garden. It also gave the Rangers sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference and boosted their record to 5-1-1 over the past seven games.
"It's obvious we competed harder," Tortorella said. "It was the most important thing we had to accomplish after last night. It was important not to lose two in a row, and I thought we answered well in all aspects of the game."
The Rangers dominated the New Year's Eve matchup in outshooting Carolina 35-18. Only Ward's oustanding play kept his team in the contest, as the Carolina netminder finished with 33 saves.
Dubinsky's game-winner came when he collected a loose puck in front of Carolina goaltender Cam Ward and promptly slid it through Ward's pads to break a 1-1 tie. Dubinsky had also notched a third-period winner in the Blueshirts' 3-1 victory over the 'Canes 10 days ago on the same RBC Center ice.
Although Dubinsky got the crucial goal, it was the hard work of linemates Christensen and Marian Gaborik that made it possible. Gaborik started the game-winning play when he brough the puck down the right-wing boards and into the Carolina zone. He then slid a pass to a wide open Christensen, who missed his initial shot but stayed with the play as the puck found its way to Gaborik just to the left of Ward. Gaborik spotted an open Dubinsky, who wasted no time breaking the tie from just outside the crease.
Gaborik, the Rangers' leading scorer with 51 points, picked up two assists in the victory, including one on Christensen's goal at 17:36 of the first period, which tied the game at 1-1. The two-point evening was Gaborik's 17th multi-point performance in 38 games as a Ranger this season.
Christensen's goal, scored on a 5-on-3 power-play advantage, came when the Rangers center picked up the rebound of a Gaborik shot and rifled a wrist shot from the right circle into the top shelf for his first goal and point as a Ranger.
Bumped up to the first line as a result of the injury to Vinny Prospal, Christensen didn't miss a beat in his new role at Carolina and appeared very comfortable skating alongside Gaborik and Dubinsky.
"We had to come back and play well," Christensen said. "It was a tough night last night, and for whatever reason we weren't ready to play and I don't know why. I don't think it was the turkey. The thing (coach John Tortorella) was saying was that we had a good stretch and it's OK to maybe come down a bit, but you can't just plummet and have no effort at all. The sign of a good team is that we came back and showed some character and I thought we played a good 60 minutes."
Carolina's only goal came on a power play at 11:08 of the first period. Joni Pitkanen got the goal on a blast from the high slot.
Two apparent goals were waved off in the game -- one by each team. The Rangers lost a potential Dan Girardi goal when Christensen was called for goaltender interference. Carolina lost a possible Brandon Sutter goal when the puck bounced in off Sutter at the same moment he was colliding with Lundqvist.
|PPG - Joni Pitkanen (2) ASST: Ray Whitney (16), Eric Staal (19)|
1 - 0 CAR
|PPG - Erik Christensen (1) ASST: Marian Gaborik (24), Ales Kotalik (14)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Brandon Dubinsky (7) ASST: Marian Gaborik (25), Erik Christensen (1)|
2 - 1 NYR
|Ryan Callahan Hooking against Tuomo Ruutu|
|Andrew Alberts Roughing against Aaron Voros|
|Brian Boyle Roughing against Andrew Alberts|
|Erik Christensen Interference on goalkeeper against Cam Ward|
|Scott Walker Hi stick - double minor against Brian Boyle|
|Rod Brind'Amour Hooking against Chris Drury|
|Tom Kostopoulos Fighting (maj) against Aaron Voros|
|Aaron Voros Fighting (maj) against Tom Kostopoulos|
|Tom Kostopoulos Hi-sticking against Michael Del Zotto|
|Matt Cullen Hooking against Marian Gaborik|
|Sean Avery Slashing against Joni Pitkanen|
|SA: 18||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 17||EV: 16 - 16|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 2|
|SV%: .944||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 35||TOI: 58:50|
|Saves: 33||EV: 23 - 24|
|PIM: 0||PP: 10 - 11|
|SV%: .943||SH: 0 - 0|