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Wolski Rescues Rangers Down In Raleigh

Goal Late In 3rd Sets Stage For Shootout Winner In 4-3 Victory
Rangers Brandon Prust

New York Rangers’ Brandon Prust (8) scores on Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward during the first period on Feb. 22, 2011, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The New York Rangers are getting their wins in heart-stopping fashion lately as they try to hold onto a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Regulation victories? They have been scarce for coach John Tortorella’s team, which is living on the edge with a slim lead over the eighth-place Carolina Hurricanes.

Wojtek Wolski tied the game late in regulation, and then scored the only goal in the shootout to lift New York to a 4-3 victory over the Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

The Rangers had lost eight of 10, but they kept fighting after Jussi Jokinen scored two third-period goals to give the Hurricanes their only lead.

“We felt we were getting a lot of scoring chances, felt that we were playing well,” Tortorella said. “We just stayed with it, we just kept on playing, and I thought as the third period went on, we kept on grinding and shifted all the momentum playing in their end zone.”

New York won in a shootout for the fourth time since Jan. 22, which accounts for all but one of the its victories in that span. The Rangers contend the results haven’t been a good measure of their effort.

“Everybody felt we could come back, and it was nice to finally get that bounce in the third period,” forward Ryan Callahan said. “It’s good for our morale and it shows character to stick with the game plan.”

Henrik Lundqvist stopped the shootout attempts of Jeff Skinner, Jussi Jokinen and Sergei Samsonov for Carolina, which squandered a 43-save night by Cam Ward and missed a chance to tie New York for seventh in the East.

Erik Christensen and Mats Zucccarello missed their attempts before Wolski won it for New York.

“I was happy to be put in that position, and even more excited that we won,” Wolski said.

The Hurricanes left the ice feeling they had wasted a chance to gain on the Rangers, especially with Lundqvist denying the Hurricanes on two 3-on-1 rushes late in the game.

“It’s frustrating, for sure,” said Carolina coach Paul Maurice, whose team is three points behind New York.

Wolski’s goal was originally credited to defenseman Michael Sauer, but a replay showed the puck went in off a Hurricanes player.

Callahan and Brandon Prust also scored for New York, 21-0-0 when leading after two periods.

New York carried a 2-1 lead into the third period, but Jokinen scored two goals less than three minutes apart on rebounds. First, he corralled Jamie McBain’s shot off Lundqvist and scored the tying goal at 3:32. Then, after Lundqvist knocked away Jay Harrison’s shot, Jokinen swooped in with a backhand for his 14th of the season.

Notes: New York RW Marian Gaborik missed the game after being diagnosed with a concussion on Sunday. Rangers D Marc Staal was forced to leave the game early because of a knee injury. He had absorbed a hard hit from his brother, Eric — a Hurricanes forward — in the second period. … Carolina has just one goal in its last 29 power-play chances. Jokinen’s goals were his first since scoring in a Jan. 20 win over the Rangers.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)