But Friday's aches turned into Saturday's glory as Nylander and
his linemates rebounded from a dismal performance and turned the
tables on the high-flying Carolina Hurricanes.
Nylander had a goal and three assists, and Jaromir Jagr set up
three goals to lead the Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the
Hurricanes on Saturday that gave New York a home-and-home split.
"I felt good this morning," Nylander said. "It was fun and it
worked out well."
Carolina lost for just the second time in 13 games and had a
five-game road-winning streak snapped. Eric Staal, Niklas Nordgren
and Justin Williams scored for the banged-up Hurricanes (14-4-1),
who rallied late with two goals.
"With a team like that, that's that hardworking and that well
coached you know that they're going to continue to come at you,"
said Rangers goalie Kevin Weekes, who made 28 saves. "We were
trying to stem the tide, we didn't want to give them any
opportunity to get back in."
New York went 3-for-5 with the man advantage after not netting a
power-play goal in eight straight chances. They were 2-for-18 in
the previous three games and lost the last two to finish the
longest trip of the season 3-2.
"I thought they worked a lot harder," Carolina defenseman Mike
Commodore said. "Their puck pressure, right from the first
faceoff, they were on us right away. I don't think they had that
when we were playing in Raleigh."
The top line of Jagr, Nylander and Straka made up for a rough
night in Carolina on Thursday to pace the Rangers' sixth home win
in 10 games. The trio recorded just one point -- a goal in the 5-1
loss -- and were a minus-8, but they combined for a goal and six
assists in the rematch.
"We scored on chances we got. That was the key," Nylander
said. "It was important to come back and show that we could play a
Straka gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead just 4:14 in by squeezing a
shot in between Martin Gerber's left leg and the right post after
taking a pass from Jagr.
But Staal, who injured his back in Thursday's victory, showed no
effects when he stole the puck in the Carolina zone and raced up
ice on a 2-on-1 with Erik Cole. Staal let the puck go from the left
circle to tie it 1-1 at 10:34 of the first period.
Staal went sliding headfirst into the end boards but got up to
celebrate his 14th goal of the season in his 100th NHL game.
Hurricanes defenseman Aaron Ward also reached a milestone by
playing in his 500th game, but he had nothing to celebrate.
Already playing with an ankle injury, Ward added to his woes.
Nylander fired a shot that bounced off Gerber, and Ward rushed
toward the goal. But instead of steering the puck out of harm's
way, he pushed it into the net to give New York a 2-1 lead with
4:38 left in the period.
He was also called for roughing in the second period and then
got shaken up while delivering a check.
The Hurricanes couldn't afford more injuries as they were
without Niclas Wallin (wrist), Rod Brind'Amour (groin), Glen Wesley
(groin), and Josef Vasicek (knee). Erik Cole was gone for the third
period after taking a shot in the foot.
"Guys showed up and played hard a couple of nights ago and guys
showed up and played hard tonight," Hurricanes coach Peter
Laviolette said. "It's frustrating and disappointing not to get a
The Hurricanes' deficit grew to 3-1 when Jagr and Nylander set
up Prucha's fourth goal, scored on a power play at 9:22 of the
Jagr and Nylander hooked up again during another power play in
the third, getting Rozsival his first with the Rangers at 9:10.
Nordgren cut Carolina's deficit to 4-2 at 11:47 and Williams
made it a one-goal game with 1:26 left.
Rangers D Fedor Fedorov cleared waivers and was assigned to
Hartford of the AHL. ... Jason Strudwick, scratched the previous
six games, was in the New York lineup in place of injured D Fedor
Tyutin. Tyutin is day to day due to a non-displaced fracture of his
left ring finger, an injury sustained Thursday. ... Carolina,
1-for-6 on the power play, has at least one man-advantage goal in
nine of 10 games. ... Rangers LW Chad Wiseman was recalled from
Hartford but didn't play