RALEIGH, N.C. -- Worried that the Rangers, after three rousing wins against top conference foes, couldn't get excited for Thursday night's game against the struggling Carolina Hurricanes in a half-empty building?
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"Well, it's our job," coach John Tortorella said before the Rangers beat Carolina, 5-3, at the RBC Center. "Night in and night out, if you want to be consistent as a hockey team, you need to continue to try to improve. You need to learn the good and bad from the prior game and get ready to play the next one."
The Rangers (14-5-3) were ready Thursday night, using a three-goal second period, five different goal-scorers and 14 different point-getters to top the Hurricanes (8-15-4), who have lost their first two under new coach Kirk Muller.
Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist and Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, Sean Avery and Michael Sauer (first of the season) also scored for the Rangers, who started this streak with wins against Washington, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh after a pair of losses.
"I'm happy the way the guys stopped a two-game losing streak early in the season," Tortorella said. "Really, two lousy games against Florida and Montreal. Lousy games. They regrouped and found a way to get back on to another winning streak here. I'm happy with the club because they're playing really well now as a team."
Gaborik is playing well, too. He has 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in his last 15 games. With the game tied at 2, he beat Cam Ward off a centering pass from Artem Anisimov at 11:50 of the second period to give the Rangers the lead for good. It was his team-leading 12th goal.
"His legs are always moving," Tortorella said. "Not just with the puck. Without the puck. I think he's been one of our better players without the puck.''
Martin Biron made 28 saves for the Rangers, who fell behind 1-0 just 35 seconds into the game but tied it 1:07 later on Callahan's power-play goal.
John Mitchell and Derek Stepan blocked shots in the third period as the Rangers nursed a 5-3 lead. Stepan was hit in the ankle and returned; Mitchell needed seven stitches to close a gash above his right eye but was OK after the game.
Notes & quotes: Ducks F Bobby Ryan, whom the Rangers reportedly have shown interest in acquiring via trade, said Thursday that he was told by Anaheim GM Bob Murray that he is off the market for now. "Bob told me things should settle down now for the time being," Ryan said. "I'm looking forward to pressing restart on this season." . . . Andre Deveaux cleared waivers and was assigned to Connecticut (AHL).