RALEIGH, N.C. — Playing their second game in less than 24 hours and still searching for their first win of the season, the Rangers knew they would need to score more goals than they had in their first two games. On Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes, they finally did.
The problem this time was that they couldn’t keep the puck out of their own net.
Jimmy Vesey and Chris Kreider each scored two goals, with Vesey’s first coming 49 seconds into the game, but the Rangers lost, 8-5, to drop to 0-3-0.
The Rangers blew four leads, including a 5-4 advantage early in the third period.
“It’s something we talked about the first couple games. It was a matter of time before the floodgates opened for us offensively,’’ said Kreider, who sported stitches over his left eyebrow from a puck taken to the face in Saturday’s game at Buffalo. “But that can’t be at the expense of our D-zone play and our neutral-zone play. These are some trying times. Some good tests. We’re learning a lot. We’ve got to take something away from this.’’
There probably are lots of things the Rangers can take away from this, beginning with the understanding that it’s important to not give the puck away in your own end of the ice. They did that too many times against Carolina, and at least two of the Hurricanes’ goals came directly from pucks given to them by the Rangers.
“We’ve been pretty good in our own end, and tonight we weren’t,’’ coach David Quinn said. “A lot of it was sloppy puck management, making bad decisions down low, vacating the net front.’’
With backup goaltender Alexandar Georgiev playing his first game of the season and Quinn going with a seven-defenseman, 11-forward lineup, the Rangers got off to a good start, taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Vesey and Kreider after 6:02 of the first period. But Carolina tied it on goals by Warren Foegele and Jordan Martinook before the period was over.
Vesey’s second goal, at 2:48 of the second period, put the Rangers ahead 3-2, but Jordan Staal sped past the Rangers’ defense and tied it at 9:25 just after the Hurricanes killed a penalty.
Pavel Buchnevich scored on a power play to put the Rangers ahead 4-3, but a bad giveaway by Georgiev — who tried to whip the puck off the boards and out but succeeded only in giving it to Carolina’s Micheal Ferland — led to Ferland’s tying goal with 30.5 seconds left in the second period.
Kreider’s second goal, at 4:26 of the third, gave the Rangers their last lead, but it didn’t last long. Lucas Wallmark tied it at 5 just 35 seconds later before Andrei Svechnikov, the second overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, scored his first career goal at 10:44. Foegele made it 7-5 at 11:31 and Teuvo Teravainen scored a power-play goal with 31 seconds remaining.
After Svechnikov’s goal, Georgiev slammed his glove on the ice.
“Just frustrated,’’ he said. “But I refocused, as usual, after that. They had a big scoring chance after that — I stayed in the game. Just a second of frustration showing.’’
Georgiev, who made 32 saves, said giving up that many goals is a blow to his ego.
“I didn’t like getting scored on seven times,’’ he said. “But it is what it is.’’