EditorsNote: changed “his” to “its” in 7th graf
Mika Zibanejad scored a power-play goal in his return from an upper-body injury and Henrik Lundqvist made 41 saves in his 1,000th career appearance for the Rangers, counting the regular-season and postseason, as New York built a three-goal lead in the opening period and held on for a 3-2 victory over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.
In his first game since Oct. 27 when he was injured on a hit by Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, Zibanejad made his first appearance when Carolina took two penalties in the opening 2:39.
Zibanejad scored his fifth goal of the season but the first since getting a hat trick at Ottawa on Oct. 5. He scored by positioning himself at the left side of the crease, where he waited for a cross-ice pass from defenseman Adam Fox and lifted the puck into the vacated side of the net before Carolina goaltender Petr Mrazek could get back in position.
Brendan Smith and Fox also scored for the Rangers, who won a third consecutive game for the first time this season. Artemi Panarin collected two assists for his ninth multi-point game in his last 11 contests.
The Rangers improved to 9-4-1 in their last 14 games.
Lundqvist joined Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur as the second goaltender to appear in 1,000 games (postseason and regular season) with the same team. He became the sixth player in Rangers’ history to reach the milestone.
Ryan Dzingel and Warren Foegele scored in the second period for Carolina, which is 1-14-3 in its last 18 trips to Madison Square Garden. Despite the loss, the Hurricanes are 6-2 in their last eight games.
Mrazek made 22 saves.
Lundqvist made four saves on Foegele in a span of about four seconds midway through the first after the Rangers went up 2-0. After allowing two goals in 89 seconds on Dzingel’s tip-in and Foegele jamming his own rebound in, Lundqvist dove across the crease to make a stick save on Martin Necas with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the second.
In the third, Lundqvist withstood a late Carolina power play by making consecutive point-blank stops on Dougie Hamilton and Andrei Svechnikov to preserve the one-goal lead.
—Field Level Media