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Rangers take down Hurricanes
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Brad Richards potted a pair of power-play goals to back a 27-save effort from Henrik Lundqvist in the New York Rangers' 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden.
Benoit Pouliot and Derek Stepan also scored to help the Rangers halt a two- game losing streak, with Martin St. Louis contributing three assists to the victory.
"We talked before the game that we have been playing good hockey for a long time, and we want to go into the playoffs feeling good about our game," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said.
Patrick Dwyer accounted for the lone Carolina goal and Cam Ward finished with 32 saves in the loss, which officially eliminated the Hurricanes from playoff consideration.
"I thought three of the four goals that they scored were too easy," Ward said.
The Rangers struck for four unanswered goals to overcome an early 1-0 deficit, with Richards beginning the stretch on the team's first power-play chance of the evening.
Left all alone in the left circle, the veteran forward took in a pass from St. Louis before rifling a shot over Ward's right shoulder with 4:16 remaining in the first period.
Pouliot put New York ahead a mere 50 seconds into the second, cradling a Mats Zuccarello feed while streaking up the left side and firing the puck past a diving Ward for his 14th goal of the season.
An elbowing call on the Hurricanes' Jeff Skinner allowed the Rangers to extend the margin later in the period. Richards again converted the 5-on-4 opportunity, this time with a one-timer from the point that found its way through traffic 6:24 prior to the second intermission.
Lundqvist followed up an 11-save second period with a spotless third, during which Stepan all put put the contest out of reach with a close-range stuff of a St. Louis give with New York on an odd-man rush with just over 4 1/2 minutes elapsed in the final frame.
The Hurricanes generated few good chances after Dwyer crashed the net to put home Brett Bellemore's centering pass 3:22 into the game, in part due to the Rangers not being whistled for a penalty over the entire length of the matchup.
The Rangers have now prevailed in 11 of the last 12 meetings between the clubs, while Carolina has mustered just seven goals during a six-game losing streak (0-4-2) at Madison Square Garden ... New York went 2-for-3 on the power play ... Pouliot extended his point streak to six games, while Zuccarello has four goals and four assists over a five-game streak ... Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman recorded two assists ... Richards reached the 20-goal mark in a season for the 10th time of his career.
04/09 00:38:56 ET
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