RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Henrik Lundqvist made a season-high 48 saves, and the New York Rangers gave the Carolina Hurricanes their club-record-tying seventh straight home loss, 4-1 on Saturday night.
Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan scored 31 seconds apart, and Rick Nash added a goal and an assist during the Rangers’ three-goal second period. Brian Boyle added an empty-netter just before the buzzer.
New York has earned seven points during a 3-0-1 run to move into seventh place in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are tied with the eighth-place New York Islanders, and more importantly lead ninth-place New Jersey by three points.
Carolina’s Zac Dalpe, called up from Charlotte of the AHL earlier Saturday, scored with 10:33 left, but the Rangers killed two penalties after that.
Dan Ellis stopped 27 shots in two periods for the Hurricanes and was replaced by Justin Peters, who made eight saves.
Despite a season-high 49 shots, the Hurricanes lost their fourth straight and for the 11th time in 12 games while matching the mark for consecutive home losses set in the 2002-03 season.
That record could fall Tuesday night when the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins visit.
Since taking a 2-0 lead against Washington on March 14 _ a game the Hurricanes lost 3-2 to start their slide _ Carolina has been outscored 45-16 while tumbling from the Southeast Division lead.
Lundqvist finished with a career high for saves in regulation, surpassed only by his 50-save performance in an overtime loss to Pittsburgh in 2010.
He took a shutout bid into the third period while playing 24 hours after a 2-1 shootout loss at Pittsburgh that had all the intensity of a playoff game.
Carolina coach Kirk Muller has repeatedly lamented the fragility of his team’s mental state during its skid, and it reappeared during the first few minutes of the second period.
New York’s first goal came on a power play after three Hurricanes followed Brad Richards to the goal line. The Rangers center backhanded a pass to a wide-open Stepan between the circles, and he beat Ellis at 2:00.
On New York’s next shift, Ellis had his pocket picked while playing the puck behind the net. Nash slipped it to Callahan, who buried shot into an open net to make it 2-0 at 2:31.
Nash then added a spin-and-shoot goal from between the circles on the power play with 8:41 left _ the Rangers’ fifth goal in three games with the man advantage.
That was more than enough offense to take care of a Hurricanes team playing for the first time without Alexander Semin, a key component of a top line that has been the lone bright spot of an otherwise rough month. He was scratched due to an undisclosed upper body injury.
NOTES: Carolina LW Jeff Skinner had his first assist since March 9 when he helped on Dalpe’s goal. — The Rangers have won eight of nine in the series. — New York improved to 11-0 when leading after two periods.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)