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Recap: Canes Fall to Rangers

Maenalanen scores two goals in 6-2 loss

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

NEW YORK - Saku Maenalanen scored two goals in the first multi-goal game of his young career, but the Carolina Hurricanes fell, 6-2, to the New York Rangers.

Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich and Tony DeAngeleo each netted a pair of goals for the Rangers.

Here are five takeaways from tonight's game at The World's Most Famous Arena.

One

It sure feels as though the curse is real at Madison Square Garden.

The Hurricanes are now winless in 16 straight games (0-13-3) at the Garden. Their last victory came on Oct. 29, 2010, and they've been outscored 60-22 since.

It's a strange, quirky streak because so many iterations of these two teams have faced each other since that last W in New York. In fact, no one who dressed in that 4-3 victory more than eight years ago is even still on the team today.

But, irrelevant to each next game as it may be, the streak lives on. The Hurricanes' next chance to snap it will be in less than a month on Friday, Feb. 8.

Streak aside, let's take a step back from the immediacy of the result of this game and look at it through the lens of this recent stretch.

The Canes have still won seven of their last nine games, and this clunker of a 60-minute segment followed large chunks of solid, 60-minute segments.

"We weren't ready. We weren't the better team," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "It's something that's frustrating this time of year when we need the points, but it's a long year. We've got to regroup and put it behind us."

Two

This one seemed ill-fated from the start.

Just 76 seconds into the game, Tony DeAngelo scored on a point shot that beat Curtis McElhinney through traffic.

"We just got off to a bad start," Brind'Amour said. "We never got going, it felt like."

Prior to the game, Brind'Amour cautioned against a fast start from the Rangers, who took a verbal lashing from their head coach following a 7-5 loss in Columbus on Sunday.

"I thought it was more that we were not as emotionally invested as we needed to be," Brind'Amour said. "We need 20 guys. We've been saying that all year. If we don't have everybody dialed in, it's going to look like that. We just didn't have everyone going."

"Opportunities are there for us every night," Justin Williams said. "To not come through with the two points that we wanted and came here to get is disappointing and stings. We don't have the luxury of having those games, certainly with where we're at."

Three

There was a moment, though, that it seemed the Canes might overcome the Rangers' early lead.

Maenalanen evened the score at one at the 9:24 mark of the first. Rangers defenseman Brett Howden couldn't handle a pass and coughed it up right in the slot, where Maenalanen hopped on the loose puck and buried his shot for his second goal in as many games.

Video: CAR@NYR: Maenalanen capitalizes on turnover

"He's been solid since he's been called up," Brind'Amour said. "He's one of those guys you notice every shift he's out there he's making things happen."

That optimism for the Canes, though, was short-lived. Mika Zibanejad scored twice in a span of 1:41 to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead that they carried into the first intermission.

"Little breakdowns ended up in our net. We weren't as sharp as we needed to be early. Just a little bit off," Williams said. "We got down early and couldn't close the gap quick enough."

"We weren't as emotionally invested as we needed to be," Justin Faulk said. "They capitalized on a few of our mistakes and got a couple bounces, but we just didn't have the jam needed for two points tonight."

Four

Maenalanen netted his second goal of the night in the third period, as he tipped in a shot from high in the zone from Victor Rask.

Video: CAR@NYR: Maenalanen tips in second of the game

"He's big, he's strong, he makes smart plays with the puck, he's got good hands. He's got a lot of tools," Williams said. "He's been great for us. He's really given a spark to that line, creating opportunities and creating goals."

Faulk recorded the secondary assist on that goal, the 240th point of his career, which ties Dave Babych for the most points by a defenseman in franchise history.

Five

The Hurricanes' penalty kill had a night to forget, as it surrendered three goals on three power-play opportunities for the Rangers.

"I think we were pretty sloppy," Faulk said. "We just weren't very sharp, and that goes with being mentally engaged and aware of what's happening out there. They took advantage."

"I don't think we had enough guys emotionally invested. It was a little flat. The special teams just killed us," Brind'Amour said. "Once we got behind the eight ball, it was tough to get rolling. We needed a little more from some guys who just didn't have it tonight."

Up Next

The Hurricanes host the Ottawa Senators on Friday night before departing for a three-game trek through Western Canada prior to All-Star Weekend.

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