Jeff Skinner had two goals and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Rangers, 3-2, Friday night in Raleigh, despite two goals from Mats Zuccarello. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Blueshirts.
It was Carolina’s home opener after starting the season with six straight road games.
Zuccarello gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 8:31 into the 1st period, scoring a power play goal when he flipped the puck over Carolina goaltender Cam Ward, who was sprawled out on the ice after making an initial save. Skinner tied the game minutes later, skating from out behind the net with the puck and beating Henrik Lundqvist at 12:34 to make it 1-1.
Skinner’s 2nd goal of the game, just 33 seconds into the 2nd period, made it 2-1 Carolina. But the Rangers answered. Midway through the period, Zuccarello, standing at the Carolina blue line, knocked down Ryan McDonagh‘s saucer pass, skated in on Ward and scored at 12:17 to make it 2-2.
Carolina took the lead for good in the closing seconds of the period; With McDonagh in the penalty box after a tripping penalty, Skinner blasted a slapshot from the right faceoff circle that was deflected in by Bryan Bickell at 19:59 to make it 3-2. The fans, thinking Skinner had scored a hat trick, showered the ice with hats.
Neither team scored in the 3rd period.
Ward made 28 saves for the win. Lundqvist finished with 18 saves.
The Rangers [now 5-3-0, 10 pts] host the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night at The Garden.