Adams, Gerber help Carolina down hapless Rangers

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Try as he might, Kevyn Adams couldn't
completely remember the last time he scored three goals in a game.
The best he could recall was one about 10 years ago in the minors,
soon after he left college.

Not to worry. The veteran center has a more recent memory to
talk about.

Adams scored his first three goals of the season for his first
NHL hat trick, Eric Staal added his 13th before leaving with an
injury and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 5-1
Thursday night.

"My goals were a product of great work around me," said Adams,
one of the team's alternate captains. "It's exciting for me,
because we won the game, and it's nice to get the fans excited,

Martin Gerber made 28 saves as the Hurricanes (14-3-1) won for
the 11th time in 12 games and extended the best start in franchise
history. Even with captain Rod Brind'Amour sitting out with a groin
injury, Carolina dominated almost from the start with surprising
contributions from a host of players.

Justin Williams had a goal, and Radim Vrbata added a pair of
assists, but no one was bigger than Adams, a solid veteran who eats
up minutes on the penalty kill and rarely gets scoring chances.

"I know my game, I know my role," Kevyn Adams said. "I have
to do that every night, just play gritty."

Yet he gave the Hurricanes the lead for good early in the second
period at the end of a nifty give-and-go with Vrbata, a healthy
scratch 10 times already this season. Adams skated past defenseman
Darius Kasparaitis to poke the puck past goaltender Henrik
Lundqvist to make it 2-1.

Then veteran Craig Adams, called up from Lowell of the AHL three
games earlier, helped get another with a vicious check against the
boards on defenseman Maxim Kondratiev. The puck slipped into the
trapezoid to Kevyn Adams, and he quickly beat Michal Rozsival to
the front of the net to score again.

He later completed a 2-on-1 with Vrbata to give Carolina an
insurmountable lead.

"It's something we have to have every night," Gerber said.
"Everybody has to push."

Of course, with the Rangers looking appropriately weary at the
end of a five-game road trip, it wasn't that difficult. They took
eight penalties and finished with only five shots in the third
period, while Lundqvist allowed more than three goals for the first

"Even when we weren't behind, I think we had five odd-numbered
rushes in the first period," Rangers coach Tom Renney said.
"Pretty good teaching opportunities, I suppose. We have to make
sure we pay attention to that and rectify it."

Michael Nylander had the only goal for New York, which won the
first three games of the trip before dropping the final two to
Toronto and Carolina.

"I think we took too many penalties trying to get back in the
game in the third," Rangers defenseman Tom Poti said. "It was
penalty, penalty, penalty and that just tires everyone out. You're
not going to win too many games if that's the scenario in the third

Staal went to the locker room in the third period with a bruised
back, received as he fell backward over the net following a missed
scoring chance. The second-year star has 13 goals in 18 games.

The Hurricanes already have center Josef Vasicek (knee) and
defenseman Andrew Hutchinson (hip) on injured reserve, with
Brind'Amour, defensemen Glen Wesley (groin) and Niclas Wallin
(wrist) day to day with various other ailments.

Coach Peter Laviolette doesn't expect Staal to be sidelined

"He kind of fell on his backside," he said. "I don't think
it's anything major."

Game notes
The teams will meet again Saturday in New York. ...
Carolina D Bret Hedican and his wife, Olympic gold medal skater
Kristi Yamaguchi, had their second daughter Wednesday night. ...
Rangers D Fedor Tyutin left the game early with a finger injury
after he blocked a shot. He will be re-evaluated Friday. ... Played
was stopped in the second period when the puck got lost in the
shorts of New York left wing Ville Nieminen. After a delay of about
10 seconds, he sheepishly handed the puck to the referees.