- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - For the second time this week, the New York Rangers used a strong third period at home to beat the Carolina Hurricanes.

Chris Kreider scored twice 4:46 apart late in the third period to lift the Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday.

“We found a way in the third period,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “When the game was on the line, to play our best hockey to get two points, we’ll take it and get ready for the next game.”

On Tuesday night, the Rangers trailed 2-0 before pulling within one in the second and scoring twice in the third to beat Carolina 3-2.

Derek Stepan had a goal and two assists and Michael Grabner also scored, and Mats Zuccarello had two assists for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 21 shots to bounce back from a shaky outing at Buffalo two nights earlier and pick up his 11th win of the season.

New York is also now 8-0-1 after a loss this season, and has not lost consecutive games in regulation. The Rangers also improved to 21-3-0 in the last 24 meetings with Carolina at Madison Square Garden.

“We’re like all the teams, we need our goaltender to be one of our best players and we need our other best players, whether they’re Ds or forwards, to play at the level they’re supposed to,” Vigneault said. “There’s no doubt that Kreids (Kreider) did that tonight.”

Kreider scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:35 left as he knocked in a rebound past Hurricanes goalie Michael Leighton. Kreider then made it a two-goal game with 2:49 remaining as his shot from the left side rang off the post and deflected back in off Leighton,

“There was a big difference in our game, more energy, more speed to our game,” Lundqvist said of the Rangers’ play in the final period compared to the first two. “It felt like they wanted it a little bit more for two periods, but I think in this league a lot of times games are decided in the third. Teams try to stay close and then in the third you try to make that final push to make the difference”

Viktor Stalberg and Victor Rask scored for Carolina and Leighton finished with 24 saves in his second start of the season. The Hurricanes concluded a three-game road trip and fell to 1-4-1 in their last six games.

“You got to be able to spend more time in the offensive zone,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. “When you are not in the offensive zone that means you are going to spend too much time defending. And we did that in the final 20 minutes.”

Carolina (9-10-5) had a strong first period, outshooting the Rangers 15-3, but Stepan’s goal 4:05 in gave New York a 1-0 lead. Kevin Klein joined the rush and crashed the net which allowed Stepan to control his own rebound and open up the scoring. The referee initially waived off the goal, but it counted after a review.

Stalberg, who scored twice in the Hurricanes’ loss here Tuesday night, tied it as he beat Lundqvist with a wrist shot on the glove side. Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh tried to skate the puck out of trouble but turned it over in the neutral zone leading to Carolina’s odd man rush.

“He fits the modern game, a big guy, that can skate well,” Peters said of Stalberg. “That’s what he does. He’s a guy that makes it hard (on the opponent).

Defenseman Brett Pesce, a native of suburban Tarrytown, picked up the primary assist on Stalberg’s goal.

Grabner picked up his 13th of the season to put the Rangers up 2-1 at 5:54 of the third.

Peters challenged the goal, claiming the play was offside before New York entered the zone, but the referee announced the video review was inconclusive.

Rask tied it just 32 seconds later with his ninth goal of the season and 99th career NHL point as his slap shot from the point beat Lundqvist.

NOTES: The Rangers’ 13-game home winning streak against Carolina is the longest home winning streak the Rangers have posted against one opponent in franchise history. . D Adam Clendening and F Oscar Lindberg were healthy scratches for New York. . F Mika Zibanejad missed his seventh consecutive game with a broken left fibula. F Elias Lindholm did not suit up after leaving the Hurricanes last game against Boston with a lower-body injury. . F Bryan Bickell missed his 16th straight game with multiple sclerosis. . Carolina scratched D Klas Dahlbeck and D Ryan Murray.

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host Tampa Bay on Sunday

Rangers: At the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.


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