Grabner scores three to lead Rangers in 5-1 win over Hurricanes
New York — Michael Grabner scored three goals, including two late empty-netters, to lead the New York Rangers to a 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
David Desharnais and Paul Carey also scored to help the Rangers win for the ninth time in their last 10 at home and improve to 11-3-0 in their last 14 overall. Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves.
Justin Williams scored 56 seconds into the game to give Carolina the early lead with his 700th career point. Scott Darling finished with 21 saves as the Hurricanes lost their 14th consecutive game at Madison Square Garden, dating back to January 5, 2011.
Desharnais tied the score 37 seconds into the second period with a power-play goal. Darling attempted to play the puck outside the crease, but it puck rolled of his stick back into the crease and Desharnais put it in for his third of the season. Darling also allowed a fluky goal in the previous meeting between the teams at home on Nov. 22.
Grabner put the Rangers ahead at 1:52 when he redirected Kevin Shattenkirk's pass to record his 11th goal of the season. J.T. Miller also assisted on the play. Miller, leads the Rangers in even strength assists with 12.
Jeff Skinner was awarded a penalty shot for Carolina 3:20 into the third period when Shattenkirk was penalized for slashing. However, Lundqvist was able to make a left pad save to preserve the lead.
Grabner then extended the lead with his two empty-net scores 1:01 apart to put the Rangers ahead 4-1 with 1:12 to go. It increased his season total to 13 goals, including six empty-netters.
Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh earned an assist on the first one in his first game back after missing the previous four games due to an abdominal strain.
Carey added a power-play goal with 40 seconds remaining. Carolina was short-handed as a result of losing a coach's challenge on Grabner's second empty-net goal.
Rangers leading scorer Mika Zibanejad was out due to a concussion for the second straight game. Desharnais has been thrusted into his spot at center playing alongside Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich and has four points in the two games. ... New York acquired Peter Holland from Montreal in exchange for Adam Cracknell on Thursday. ... Grabner skated in his 499th career NHL game. ... The Rangers scratched D Steven Kampfer. ... Williams became the third member of the 2000 NHL Draft class to reach the 700-point mark, joining Marian Gaborik and Dany Heatley. ... The Hurricanes scratched D Klas Dahlbeck and F Josh Jooris. ... It was Carolina's second regulation loss this season when scoring first (8-2-1) and first time the Hurricanes lost in the front end of a back-to-back this year (4-1-1).
Rangers: At Pittsburgh on Tuesday night to open a two-game road swing.
Hurricanes: Host Florida on Saturday before a six-game trip.
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