For Carl Hagelin, it's something about Carolina -- or at least playing against the Hurricanes. In seven career games against them, he has three goals and six assists.
"I guess I like playing against them," Hagelin said after the fourth two-goal game of his career last night in the Rangers' 5-1 victory over the Hurricanes at the Garden. "I don't think about it too much, but now that you say it, I did have a couple good games against them. You know, they have some star players and you want to make sure you're playing well against them."
He agreed that his first goal, at 8:26 of the first period, provided a spark. "We had a rough start,'' he said. "We gave up way too many chances and you could see that after that goal, we started battling harder and did a much better job defensively."
Lundqvist is back
Henrik Lundqvist, now 3-2 with a 1.42 GAA, a .943 save percentage and two shutouts in his last five games, survived at least three knockdowns in the game.
"I feel like the last few games, my focus is back," he said. "It's so important to not get rattled or pay attention to things that don't really matter. Having a lot of traffic and bodies in front, that's part of hockey."
Vigneault: Real dangerous
Derek Dorsett wasn't available after the game for comment on the too-low, open-ice, undercut check from Hurricanes rookie Ryan Murphy that flipped him on a rush at 13:36 of the second period. But coach Alain Vigneault had an opinion.
"That's real dangerous," Vigneault said. "Any time you're going for the knees, you're looking at career-ending injuries, so that was very, very dangerous."
Murphy, who was immediately challenged by Dorsett and other Rangers, was called for clipping.
It was the second career hat trick for Derek Stepan, whose first was in his NHL debut in October 2010. He fired seven shots on goal for the second straight game . . . Mats Zuccarello's three-point game tied his career high . . . Chris Kreider's three points were a career high . . . Ryan McDonagh led all players in ice time at 23:06. His assist gave him a point in three straight games . . . Dan Girardi blocked four shots . . . The Rangers, who had 38 shots, have won nine straight against the Hurricanes.