- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Chad LaRose and Rod Brind’Amour scored 28 seconds apart late in the third period, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 4-2 on Thursday night for their club-record 10th straight home victory.

LaRose finished with two goals, and Eric Staal had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes. They extended their season-best winning streak to seven while surpassing the nine consecutive home-ice wins they had in 2005-06, when they went on to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.

They haven’t been to the postseason since, but they took another step toward wrapping up a playoff berth, jumping past idle Pittsburgh and Philadelphia into fourth place in the East with 93 points.

Corey Potter and Dan Girardi scored for the Rangers. They held a 38-23 shots advantage but have lost four of six.

But just when this game seemed headed to overtime, LaRose and Brind’Amour turned a 2-2 game into a comfortable win for Carolina.

LaRose broke a 2-all tie when he took a feed from Jussi Jokinen as he skated across the net and tapped it past Henrik Lundqvist with 7:35 remaining. The crowd had yet to settle down after that goal when Brind’Amour made it a two-goal game by beating Lundqvist with a wrist shot from the left circle.

Cam Ward, making his career-best 25th straight start, improved to 17-6-2 in that stretch by turning aside 36 shots. Lundqvist stopped 19 shots for the Rangers before he was pulled for an extra attacker.

LaRose briefly put Carolina up 2-1 midway through the second with a pretty tap-in of Ray Whitney’s rebound, before Girardi tied it at the 5 1/2-minute mark when he beat Ward with a slap shot on the power play _ only the Rangers’ third goal in 34 chances with the man advantage.

Staal gave the Hurricanes an early lead about 4 1/2 minutes in on their first power play _ and just their second shot on goal _ of the night. He unloaded a hard slap shot from behind the circle that appeared to click off younger brother Marc Staal’s skate and past Lundqvist for his team-leading 35th goal.

Potter’s first career goal tied it with 2 1/2 minutes before the first break, a slap shot from the right point that got past a screened Ward _ who was being pestered by noted antagonist Sean Avery. It was New York’s first goal this season in Raleigh; Ward shut them out 3-0 on March 9.

The Rangers controlled much of the early action this time, outshooting Carolina 13-3 largely because the Hurricanes, the NHL’s least-penalized team, were whistled four times during an intense, physical opening 20 minutes. But as the Rangers’ power-play struggles mounted, so did their frustration, with an agitated Gomez at one point slamming his stick into the ice.

Notes:@ LaRose rang the crossbar with a wrist shot about 20 seconds before his goal. … New York RW Ryan Callahan has points in three straight games. … Carolina RW Scott Walker returned after missing 11 games with an upper-body injury. … Rangers D Michal Rozsival missed his fifth straight game with an injured left leg. … The Rangers got an early scare when Lundqvist collided with Hurricanes C Tuomo Ruutu midway through the first. The goalie sprawled on the ice and flexed his left arm for a few minutes, but stayed in the game.

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