RALEIGH — Adam Fox generated buzz for the New York Rangers even though he said the best way to beat the Carolina Hurricanes is to keep things cool.
Fox ended a 24-game scoreless streak as the Rangers beat the Hurricanes 2-1 on Thursday night.
“To beat them, it has to be a boring game,” Fox said. “It’s been a while (since I scored), but it’s not my game to put the puck in the back of the net.”
The Hurricanes got a nice consolation prize because shortly after the final buzzer they clinched a playoff spot.
Fox scored at 4:01 of the third period and the Rangers split a two-game set this week between the Metropolitan Division contenders.
Artemi Panarin also scored and assisted on the go-ahead goal. Mika Zibanejad had two assists for the Rangers. Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves.
Sebastian Aho had the goal for Carolina and Frederik Anderson saved 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 straight year, all since Rod Brind’Amour became coach.
“I’m proud of the way we played the game and I think if we play like that, most nights you’ll get a win,” Brind’Amour said.
The Rangers have points in eight of their last nine games (7-1-1).
The Hurricanes scored three goals in the third period to bounce back from a 3-2 win Tuesday night in New York.
Shesterkin was too spectacular this time.
“Shesterkin was the difference, for sure,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said.
Fox, a defenseman, gave Rangers their first lead on 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 get your chances,” Fox said.
New York didn’t have a shot on goal until almost 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 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, throughout the game we did 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 have a lot of good hockey players. You find a way to stay and win a hockey game.”
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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, making this his first season as Shesterkin’s teammate. He said that he is still surprised by what the goalkeeper does.
Gallant is more used to seeing this.
“It gives you a chance to win and it puts a lot of pressure on the other team and the other goalies,” 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 kick marked the longest with a two-man deficit in 6 1/2 years. … The Rangers, who eliminated Carolina in the 2022 playoffs, have won three of four meetings with the Hurricanes this season.
Rangers: In Florida on Saturday,
Hurricanes: Host Toronto on Saturday.