NEW YORK – Jaromir Jagr acknowledges his confidence took a hit during a 10-game slump without a goal.
Jagr broke out with two tallies and Brendan Shanahan set up a pair of third-period power-play goals to help the New York Rangers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 on Wednesday night.
“I know it had been a long time,” Jagr said. “It’s not easy for the confidence. When you have chances and you haven’t scored for a long time, sometimes you do things you wouldn’t when you’re hot, on a streak. You hit posts or try to make sure it’s a perfect shot. Hopefully, it’s behind me.”
Rangers coach Tom Renney was relieved to see Jagr finally hit the net.
“He has been trying,” Renney said. “You have to avoid the frustration that seeps into your game.”
Chris Drury and Dan Girardi also scored for the Rangers, who snapped a three-game losing streak, winning for only the third time in the last 11 games.
“We all have higher expectations and we all want results,” Shanahan said. “I think tonight we all had an anger and an urgency. It’s one thing to say we’re doing the right thing and we had good spurts of hockey, but we had to get a win.”
Scott Walker and Eric Staal scored for Carolina, which had won 3-of-4.
The Rangers started strong, grabbing an early 10-3 shot advantage. Cam Ward was equal to the challenge, making all the stops, even on a power-play sequence when he lost his stick. The Rangers finished the scoreless opening period with a 13-5 shot advantage.
In the second, Walker scored a short-handed goal and Stall got a power-play tally as the Hurricanes took a 2-1 lead.
Jagr got the game’s first score at 2:28, ending a 10-game drought without a goal.
The lead didn’t last long as Walker connected at 4:38.
The game took a nasty turn midway through the period when New York’s Colton Orr levelled former Ranger Matt Cullen with a forearm/elbow to the face. Cullen appeared to be momentarily unconscious, falling face-first to the ice while Carolina’s Mike Commodore challenged and fought Orr.
Cullen was eventually helped off the ice, clutching a towel to a facial cut.
“I believe he has a broken nose,” said Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette. “It’s hard to say if he has a concussion. A mild one, maybe. I’m not sure. When you get knocked out like that and your face hits the ice, if you can walk away with just a broken nose, that’s a good thing. It’s too early to say if he has a concussion or not.”
Commodore got a major penalty for fighting; Orr got majors for fighting and interference and a game misconduct. The Ranger penalty killers performed admirably, killing off the five-minute penalty to keep the score tied at 1.
They weren’t as fortunate on the next penalty when Michal Rozsival was whistled for high-sticking at 14:23. Stall cashed in the man-advantage at 16:19, slipping Dennis Seidenberg’s rebound past Henrik Lundqvist.
In the third, a pair of a hard shots by Shanahan produced rebounds that led to power-play goals by Drury and Girardi as the Rangers took a 3-2 lead and control of the game.
After Drury scored at 1:38, Girardi, a defenceman, attacked the Carolina net and was in position to slam home the rebound at 7:06.
Jagr followed with his second goal at 9:55. Scott Gomez assisted on both of Jagr’s goals, stretching his point-scoring streak to 10.
“Jaromir is starting to dominate like he used to,” Gomez said. “We’ll just keep it going to help the team win.”
Lundqvist made several dazzling stops in the final minutes as the Hurricanes attacked 6-on-3. Carolina pulled Ward for an extra attacker and the Rangers picked up a pair of penalties. Lundqvist finished with 20 saves.
Notes: The Rangers now begin a five-game stretch against Canadian opponents starting with Toronto on Saturday. … The Hurricanes Glen Wesley moved into sole possession of seventh-place among defensemen in games played. Wesley has appeared in 1,417, one more than Hall of Famer Al MacInnis. … Commodore returned to lineup after missing 13 of the previous 14 games with finger and foot injuries. Hurricanes D David Tanabe missed a third-straight game with a concussion.