RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) --
Carolina captain Ron Francis assisted on Josef Vasicek's second goal, lifting the Hurricanes to a 3-2 win over the Rangers, and passing Marcel Dionne for fourth place on the NHL's career scoring list with 1,772 points.
Francis, 40, has played 16 seasons with the Hurricanes organization and seven with Pittsburgh, winning two Stanley Cups with the Penguins in the early 1990s.
Francis' 1,230 assists are second only to Wayne Gretzky's 1,963.
Eighteen games had passed since Vasicek scored a
goal, a drought that seemed to illustrate the Carolina Hurricanes' offensive
struggles this season.
On Thursday night, Vasicek finally found the back of the net again, scoring twice in Carolina's three-goal second period.
Kevyn Adams also scored for the Hurricanes, who have won two straight.
Carolina, the NHL's lowest-scoring team, got three goals in a game for the
first time since beating Edmonton 3-2 on Dec. 9.
Vasicek last scored in a 2-0 win against the New York Islanders on Nov. 26,
giving him nine goals in Carolina's first 22 games. With Vasicek going
scoreless in his next 18, Carolina scored three or more goals just twice.
"He's a big guy that's got some talent," said Hurricanes coach Peter
Laviolette, who improved to 6-5 since replacing Paul Maurice last month. "It
was nice to see him get on the board tonight. He picked up his game."
Brind'Amour, Danny Markov and Aaron Ward each added assists, while Kevin Weekes
stopped 21 of 23 shots for Carolina.
Eric Lindros and Alex Kovalev scored for the Rangers, who have lost two in a
row. New York went 1-for-4 on the power play, making it 4-for-38 with the man
advantage in its last nine games.
Carolina has struggled offensively all season, scoring just 70 goals
entering Thursday's game. But for the second straight meeting, the Hurricanes
found the back of the net several times against the Rangers.
Carolina scored a season-high six goals in a win against the Rangers on Nov.
6. On Thursday, the Hurricanes had their first three-goal period since beating
Pittsburgh 4-3 on Nov. 29.
During that second period, Carolina outshot the Rangers 13-7 and constantly
pushed the puck into the Rangers' zone.
"They have a great offense. They have so many guys who can score a goal and
a lot of playmakers," Vasicek said. "If you're going to play good defense,
obviously we're going to get good offense off of that. We got a lot of
three-on-twos and odd-man rushes, and that's what you're shooting for."
With Carolina trailing 1-0 on Lindros' first-period goal, Adams made a
terrific move to tie it, sidestepping Boris Mironov on the right side and
backhanding the puck past Mike Dunham at 2:44.
Vasicek then connected for two goals in less than two minutes.
On the first, he corralled a tipped pass by Brind'Amour and beat Dunham from
between the circles at 10:19. Vasicek scored his second when he grabbed a
rebound off the boards from Francis' deflected shot and slid the puck
underneath Dunham at 11:58 for a 3-1 lead.
"They got that first goal, and then all of a sudden they got the second
goal that was lucky and they just kept coming," Dunham said. "The second
period, they played well. They won the game in the second period."