It didn't take long for the Rangers to get on the board. Martin Straka put a great shot behind Gerber stick side from an impossibly tough angle to make it 1-0 at the 4:14 mark.
Minutes later, at the 10:34 mark, Eric Staal erased any doubts about his health by ripping a wrist shot bomb from about 40 feet out near the top of the left faceoff circle. Weekes, who had already made some quality saves on Radim Vrbata, couldn't answer the bell this time. Staal went by the old rule when playing against Weekes: go high, stick side. The goal came unassisted as he and Erik Cole came charging in on a two-on-one.
At the 15:22 mark, Aaron Ward earned the Tevvy by putting the puck in his own net as the Rangers were applying smothering pressure on their first power play. They accredited the goal to Nylander, simply because he was the last Ranger to touch it, but it was clearly off of AWard's stick.
AWard would also take a very stupid roughing penalty in the second, which was followed by an undisciplined cross-checking penalty to Bred Hedican, putting the Rangers on a five-on-three. Just as the Ward penalty expired, but before he could get back into position, Petr Prucha made it 3-1 at the 9:22 mark of the second. Jagr beautifully set Prucha up, who was waiting on the doorstep. Jagr's pass was right on the tape, and there was nothing Gerber could do about it.
Carolina had a few power play opportunities in the second, but the Rangers were outstanding on the kill. Our best chance came on an Adams Family collaboration, Craig pounding away at a rebound from Kevyn's shot. Shady 80, though, was up to the task.
At 9:10 of the third, Michal Rozsival made it 4-1, tapping in a centering pass from Jagr. Nylander got the secondary assist on that, their third power play goal of the game.
At 11:47, Mikey C unleashed a slapshot from the blue line that was incidentally re-directed by Nik "Evil Swede" Nordgren. As I'm writing this, the goal is credited to Commy, but I'm sure they'll eventually change it, as replays showed that Nordgren redirected it.
At 18:34, Carolina finally connected on a power play. They had actually pulled Gerber, giving them a six-on-four advantage. After Eric Staal barely missed out on a golden opportunity about 30 seconds prior, Justin Williams tapped in a rebound to make the score 4-3. Watching the replay, Justin Williams had to make a brilliant move to set himself up. The rebound kicked out to his left skate, and he very calmly kicked it over to his forehand and he put it in the net no problem.
Despite a frantic effort in the final 90 seconds, we just couldn't tie it up.
Some potentially bad news for the Canes: Erik Cole had to leave the game with a foot injury in the second period and did not return. His status for tomorrow's tilt with City of Tampa is unknown.
One HUGE factor that might go unnoticed in the scoresheet is that Carolina only won 33% of the draws. Our Captian, Rod Brind'Amour is best in the league at faceoff per centage, and we really demonstrated how weak the rest of us are at that very thing. Sometimes winning the draw directly leads to goals, and sometimes it's just a nice intangible. Either way, we like it better when we have that on our side. We're still not sure when Roddy will return.
If something crazy has happened and Colesy is unable to play for Sunday, we might see Andrew Ladd or Chad LaRose called up from Lowell and pressed into immediate service.
Incidentally, Andrew Ladd scored two goals in Lowell's 4-3 loss to Portland on Friday night. He now has 11 points (7/4) on the season. Meanwhile, LaRose has 14 (8/6) and Keith Aucoin, who I once referred to as "schmuck" has 17 (8/9).
Once again, Mikey C finished with a +2 rating, which was tops in the game. Remember: power play goals do not count in the +/- column.
AWard gets his first official Tevvy, to Ray Whitney's two. If I get to feeling inspired, I might go back and issue retroactive Tevvies, but I doubt I'll do that. If I keep up with issuing the Tevvies, I'll post a running tab of who's got them.
Up next: a Southeastern division showdown with the Bolts. As a precaution ... The hockey game is at 7:00, not 1:00. Also, there will be two basketball games played in the arena earlier in the day, and they'll have a very fast changeover time. The ice may be shitty tomorrow night.