RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Adam Fox created excitement for the New York Rangers even though he said the best way to beat the Carolina Hurricanes is to keep things on he quiet side.
Fox ended a 24-game stretch without a goal and the Rangers overcame the Hurricanes for a 2-1 victory Thursday night.
“To beat them, it kind of has to be a boring game,” Fox said. “It has been a while (since I scored), but it’s not my game to put the puck in the back of the net.”
The Hurricanes picked up a nice consolation prize because shortly after the final horn they secured a spot in the playoffs.
Fox scored at 4:01 of the third period and the Rangers forged a split of a two-game set this week among Metropolitan Division contenders.
Artemi Panarin also scored and assisted on the goal-ahead goal. Mika Zibanejad had two assists for the Rangers. Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves.
Sebastian Aho had Carolina’s goal and Frederik Anderson stopped 14 shots. The Hurricanes clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot when the Florida Panthers lost to Winnipeg.
Carolina will be in the postseason for the fifth year in a row, all since Rod Brind’Amour became coach.
“Proud of the way we played in the game and I think if we play like that, most nights you’re going to get a win,” Brind’Amour said.
The Rangers have points in eight of their last nine games (7-1-1).
The Hurricanes scored three third-period goals to rally for Tuesday night’s 3-2 victory at New York.
Shesterkin was too spectacular this time.
“Shesterkin was the difference, for sure,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said.
Fox, a defenseman, gave the Rangers their first lead Thursday night with his 11th goal of the season. Panarin’s pass set up the goal.
“You’re going to have to move the puck against them to have your chances,” Fox said.
New York didn’t have a shot on goal until nearly 11 minutes into the game. That attempt came during a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 1:49 and resulted in Carolina fans roaring at a playoff-like volume.
“We needed to get more out of it,” Brind’Amour said of the opening period. “We couldn’t do much better from a period standpoint. Honestly, the whole game we were doing exactly what we had to do.”
Aho’s team-high 31st goal came at 16:47 of the first period as Carolina began a four-game homestand.
The Rangers had enough patience to weather the storm.
“We’re a good team,” Gallant said. “We got a lot of good hockey players. You find a way to stick around and win a hockey game.”
Panarin tied it at 10:33 of the second on just the eighth shot of the game for the Rangers.
Rangers forward Vincent Trocheck played with the Hurricanes last season, so this is his first season as Shesterkin’s teammate. He said he’s still surprised by what the goalie does.
Gallant is more used to seeing this.
“He gives you a chance to win and puts a lot of pressure on the other team and the other goaltending,” Gallant said.
NOTES: Rangers D Ryan Lindgren was out of the lineup. He returned from an 11-game absence with an upper-body injury to play Tuesday night. … Carolina’s first-period penalty kill marked its longest with a two-man disadvantage in 6½ years. … The Rangers, who eliminated Carolina in the 2022 playoffs, won three of four meetings with the Hurricanes this season.
UP NEXT Rangers: At Florida on Saturday,
Hurricanes: Host Toronto on Saturday.
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