Michael Grabner scored a hat trick – including two empty net goals – to power the Rangers to a 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Friday night at The Garden. Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves for his 418th career win.
It was a rough start for the Blueshirts; Justin Williams scored for the Hurricanes just 56 seconds into the game to make it 1-0. It was Williams’ 700th career NHL point.
The Rangers would score twice in the first two minutes of the 2nd period to take a 2-1 lead. David Desharnais scored 37 seconds into the period to tie the game, 1-1. And Grabner first goal of the night at 1:52, off an assist from Kevin Shattenkirk, made it 2-1.
The Hurricanes gambled, pulling goalie Scott Darling with several minutes to play. Grabner’s first empty-netter at 17:57 made it 3-1. And Grabner completed the hat trick at 18:48 with his 2nd empty net goal. He has 6 empty-net goals this season.
Paul Carey scored a powerplay goal at 19:20 for the final 5-1 margin.
Mika Zibanejad missed his 2nd straight game with a concussion.
The Rangers [now 14-10-2, 30 pts] play the Penguins Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.