It was already deja vu all over again with the Carolina Hurricanes visiting Madison Square Garden for the second time in less than a week.
But the New York Rangers experienced the best from of the phenomenon in the latter stages of the game, using a dominant third period once more in a 4-2 victory on Saturday afternoon.
The Rangers (17-8-1) got off to a slow start, outshot 15-3 by the Hurricanes in the opening frame. However, Henrik Lundqvist, after a rough outing in Thursday’s loss to the Buffalo Sabres stood strong, stopping every first period shot, which paid off when Derek Stepan put in his fifth goal of the year.The shot was originally ruled to be stopped by Michael Leighton, but video review gave Stepan the goal and the 1-0 lead.
However, an old friend turn enemy in Viktor Stalberg put in yet another goal against his former comrades to knot things up. Stalberg entered the week with four goals on the season, but brought his total up to seven after visiting MSG, also scoring a pair on Tuesday night. He had nine in 75 games with the Rangers last season.
The Rangers got the lead back in the aforementioned third, as Michael Grabner, still
among the league leaders in goals, put in his team-high 13th of the season. Carolina (9-10-5) managed to tie things up on a goal shortly after by Victor Rask, but the Rangers took over from there. Chris Kreider, scoring his first goal since November 20, to give the Rangers the lead. Just under the three minute mark, Kreider scored again, making establishing the final margin. Stepan assisted on both Kreider goals, while Mats Zuccarello added two assists as well.
With the win, the Rangers improved to 7-0-1 after a loss this season.
The Rangers continue their December slate on Tuesday night, when they take on the New York Islanders (7:00, MSG+).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490.