Rangers win on Wolski shootout goal
RALEIGH - That noise rising from Tobacco Road Tuesday night was a sigh of relief. Rangers winger Wojtek Wolski scored with 1:50 left in regulation to tie the Hurricanes, then netted the lone goal of the three-round shootout to give the Rangers a hard-fought 4-3 victory to maintain a slim hold on seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Henrik Lundqvist, stopped Jeff Skinner, Jussi Jokinen and Sergei Samsonov in the shootout.
"We're never going to quit and that's something you need going into the playoffs and definitely during the playoffs," said Wolski, who had four of the Rangers' 46 shots. "We weren't rewarded before in the last couple games even though we were getting the opportunities.''
Michael Sauer created traffic in front of Cam Ward, and Wolski threw the puck to the net and it appeared to hit defenseman Jay Harrison and flutter in.
Then, after Erik Christensen, who had been 4-for-4 in the shootout this year, was stopped by Ward and Mats Zuccarello missed wide, the game was on Wolski's stick.
"When they miss, I thought I really have to bear down here,'' said Wolski, who also scored Sunday against Philadelphia.
The Rangers remained in seventh place with 68 points, three ahead of Carolina.
"It was a gutsy effort,'' coach John Tortorella said. "They should feel good.''
Wolski, acquired from Phoenix on Jan. 10, "was our best forward the other night and probably one of our best tonight," Tortorella said.
The Rangers won without Marian Gaborik (concussion), who did not make the trip, which concludes Friday in Washington. They also played part of the game without Marc Staal, who twisted his knee early in the first period, continued playing, but went off for good at about 3:30 in the third period.
He was blasted by his brother Eric's shoulder to the chin with 36 seconds left in the second period.
"He took a pretty good run at him,'' said Ryan Callahan, who put the Rangers ahead 2-1 on the ensuing power play with a deflection of Zuccarello's shot with 13.8 seconds left. "I don't think it was the cleanest hit.''
In the first, Sean Avery's wraparound try from the left post slid across to Brandon Prust, who beat Ward for a 1-0 lead at 2:08. Jay Harrison tied it with a wrister that beat Lundqvist at 16:35.
Lundqvist, who had 30 saves, stopping several breakaways and denying Jeff Skinner on a wraparound in overtime.
"It's a big relief and a great feeling.'' said Lundqvist, who lost three of his previous five starts. "Mentally, you feel like you're playing well, but you're not getting the points. You have to stick with it and try to stay positive.''