This is what you want, for victories to feel matter of fact, just the way the Rangers’ 5-1 triumph over the Hurricanes at the Garden on Saturday night seemed routine. “This type of effort is what we should expect from ourselves,” Marc Staal said after the Blueshirts’ third straight victory and fourth in the past five games. “I feel as if our forwards have a boatload more confidence than they did a few weeks ago insofar as making plays, and I guess that goes for all of us. “It’s amazing how much of a factor confidence is in playing this game.” The victory that pushed the Rangers to 6-7 was not without blemishes. The Hurricanes dominated the opening minutes, controlling play in the New York zone, forcing Henrik Lundqvist to make a series of outstanding stops. But when Carl Hagelin got the first of his two goals at 8:26 by whipping a backhand past Justin Peters, the Blueshirts took over the match. Hagelin got another and Derek Stepan recorded the hat trick — the second of his career and first since his first NHL game on Oct. 9, 2010, in Buffalo — as the Candy Canes dropped their fifth straight. “You’re not going to play perfect hockey for 60 minutes, but you can handle tough stretches when you have confidence,” said Lundqvist, who has surrendered a sum of three goals in his past three games. “We didn’t panic at the start tonight, and then when we got that first goal, it was huge.” The Rangers never did came close to being pristine in their own end — and with the score 3-1 with 8:03 remaining in the match, Lundqvist lectured J.T. Miller at a stop in play following a coverage blunder that allowed Carolina to generate a couple of glorious opportunities — but the Rangers made their opportunities count at the other end. “The first goal was really important,” said Hagelin, with whom the club is unbeaten since his debut on Tuesday at Long Island after 10 games on long term injury. “We gave them way too many chances, but after we took the lead we battled harder and played much better.
Stepan’s hat trick sparks Rangers past Hurricanes
New York Post | Nov 3