The Rangers came out hard and got the puck past Cam Ward at 58 seconds. Unfortunately, it was clearly kicked in by Michael Del Zotto, who later had his rising shot just tipped away by Ward’s glove. Marc Staal, coming off a lousy game on Wednesday, hit the crossbar. And Alex Frolov, alone in front after Stepan curled down the right side and behind the net, was robbed by Ward, who absorbed his wrister.
Behind in shots, 9-2, the Canes found their legs. Both PKs had been superb, with Dan Girardi blocking two shots and a stickless Brandon Dubinsky diving to clear the zone with his gloved hand. Artem Anisimov’s skating created a shorthanded chance and almost connected with Ruslan Fedotenko in the slot.
But with Steve Eminger off for interference at 13:44 Tuomo Ruutu deflected an Anton Babchuk shot from the right circle and put in the rebound past a reaching Lundqvist for the 1-0 lead at 15:29. Carolina led in shots 12-11 to close out the first 20 minutes.