The Rangers ended a three-game skid Friday night, rallying back to erase two one-goal deficits with a 4-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Stymied by Anton Khudobin in the first 40 minutes, the Rangers finally solved the Canes netminder with a trio of goals in the third period.
Rick Nash answered recent pleas from coach Alain Vigneault to step up his game, notching the equalizer in the third period to tie the game 2-2 at 13:24, and then Derek Stepan delivered a power-play marker with 2:46 to play to give the Blueshirts the late-game, go-ahead goal.
Stepan’s man-up goal came after a pair of delay of game penalties on Carolina -- trade deadline acquisition Martin St. Louis recorded his first point as a Ranger with an assist on the play -- and Carl Hagelin put the finishing touches on the win with an empty-net goal with less than a minute remaining.
Mats Zuccarello played for the first time since suffering a broken hand in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, finishing with 18:19 in his anticipated return.
Get shorty: Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh knotted the score at 1 at 7:25 in the third period, spoiling Khudobin’s shutout bid with his 11th goal of the season. The short-handed marker was the Rangers’ third consecutive short-handed goal. The Blueshirts also tallied a pair of goals while down a man in Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was also McDonagh’s third straight game with a goal, a career high.
Sibling rivalry: Hurricanes center Jordan Staal got the best of the brotherly showdown in the first period, ripping a shot past Henrik Lundqvist to break a scoreless tie with 2:11 remaining. In doing so, the 25-year-old forward snapped a 10-game goalless streak that dates back to Jan. 28. Eric Staal, the eldest Staal brother, had a relatively quiet game until slashing Rangers veteran Brad Richards on the hand early in the third period.
Stralman stung: Defenseman Anton Stralman was struck by Alexander Semin’s shot in the second period, which left him limping in pain as he returned to the Rangers bench. Stralman, one of the team’s pending unrestricted free agents, returned to the game, however, and took a costly hooking penalty in the third period. Dragged down by Stralman on a solo breakaway, Canes forward Jeff Skinner sizzled one past Lundqvist on a penalty shot for a 2-1 Carolina lead with 7:53 remaining.