NEW YORK — Petr Mrazek made 27 saves and the Carolina Hurricanes spoiled a celebration at Madison Square Garden that honoured the last Rangers team to win the Stanley Cup, blanking New York 3-0 Friday night.
Warren Foegele scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period as the Hurricanes ended a 16-game losing streak at the Garden. He took a pass from Saku Maenalanen in the slot and wristed a shot past Henrik Lundqvist at 6:43. Rookie Andrei Svechnikov and Brock McGinn added empty-net goals as Carolina won its third in a row.
In a 45-minute pregame ceremony, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch and the players and coaches from the Rangers’ 1994 Stanley Cup team were introduced. They were seated at centre ice as a sellout crowd cheered the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of that championship.
To honour that club, Lundqvist wore a goaltender’s mask similar to Mike Richter’s with the Statue of Liberty prominently displayed on the front. Lundqvist’s mask also has “1994” painted on the right side with a picture of Richter, his name and number.
“Unbelievable. It’s a humbling thing. What a great statement by him,” Richter said before the game.
“(He) didn’t have to do it. It’s very classy. I was shocked. … Coming from him, look at the career the man has put together. He’s been nothing but consistent from the day he arrived. He’s had just a remarkable career, so it means a lot coming from him.”
Carolina, which is 13-4-1 in its past 18 games, climbed within a point of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference. These Rangers are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
After a tightly played opening period, both teams had better scoring chances in the second.
Kevin Hayes took a pass from Jimmy Vesey and faked Mrazek and attempted to stuff the puck into the net, but Hurricanes defenceman Jaccob Slavin swept it out from the crease.
Mrazek closed the second period by making a stellar stick-side save on Mika Zibanejad with the Rangers on the power play.
Lundqvist kept the game scoreless late in the opening period as he stopped Nino Niederreiter on a breakaway.
NOTES: For the national anthem, the Garden replayed John Amirante’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that he performed during the ’94 Cup Final. … Defenceman Haydn Fleury was scratched for Carolina. Center Brett Howden and defenceman Neal Pionk were scratched by the Rangers.
Hurricanes: At the Devils on Sunday in the fourth game of a five-game road trip.
Rangers: Host Toronto on Sunday to close out a five-game homestand.
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Simmi Buttar, The Associated Press