What it means: Carolina's Jay Harrison scored with less than a minute left to whittle the Rangers' lead to one goal, but New York held on for their third straight victory with a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes in Carolina. The Rangers' top line combined for a pair of goals while backup goaltender Martin Biron made 21 stops to record his first win since February 9 as the Rangers retained their comfortable nine-point lead in the Eastern Conference standings. Already without captain Ryan Callahan for the first time this season, the Rangers suffered another concerning loss, however. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto was forced from the game with a hip injury and did not return.
Top line takes care: Trailing 1-0 in the second period, the Rangers’ top line chipped in for two straight goals. Marian Gaborik picked up a helper on Artem Anisimov’s wrister from the left circle at 8:21 and tallied his 30th of the season later in the frame for a 2-1 edge heading into the third. Derek Stepan also finished with a plus-2 rating and two assists.
Del Zotto hurt: Defenseman Michael Del Zotto left the game with a hip injury and did not return. Del Zotto suffered a bruised hip in the team's 3-2 OT win against Buffalo Saturday but did not miss any action; he appeared to re-aggravate the injury after taking a hit from Canes defenseman Derek Joslin Thursday and did not play for the entire third period.
Dubinsky benched: Brandon Dubinsky, whose name surfaced in trade rumors earlier this week, was benched after taking an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the first period that led to Carolina’s first goal. Dubinsky did not play for the remainder of the game after Jeff Skinner gave the Canes a 1-0 lead with his power-play tally 58 seconds into the second period.
30 for Gaborik: Gaborik’s second-period goal marked his 7th NHL season with 30 goals or more and second in three years with the New York Rangers. The 30-year-old sniper, who leads the team with 55 points, matched his career-high 42 goal mark in his first season on Broadway in 2009-10.
Battle of the brothers: In the first meeting of brothers Marc Staal and Eric Staal since the fateful hit that sidelined the former for ten months with post-concussion symptoms, Marc got the best of the sibling rivalry as the Rangers left with the win. Eric finished with two assists, extending his point streak to ten games.
Missing their captain: The 26-year-old captain missed his first of 62 games this season with a bruised right foot suffered in the team’s 2-0 win against New Jersey Monday. Callahan told reporters in Carolina that all x-rays taken after Monday’s game came back negative, although it appears unlikely he’ll return Friday against Tampa.
Ouch: Canes assistant coach John MacLean left the bench briefly during the second period after taking a puck to the head. The ex-Ranger and former Devils coach returned minutes later, however, and appeared to be okay.
Up Next: Rangers at Lightning, Thursday @ 7:30 p.m.