WHAT IT MEANS: The Rangers snapped their two-game losing streak and finished the first half of the season on a strong note with a 2-1 overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. Mats Zuccarello scored the game winner.
MEMORABLE FIRST: Zuccarello's game-winning goal was the first of his career. With 1:51 remaining in overtime, Zuccarello beat Carolina goalie Cam Ward from the left side with a wrist shot that he blasted to the top-right corner of the goal.
FIRST BLOOD: The Rangers scored the first goal of the game 8:46 into the third period when Matt Gilroy tallied off an assist from Zuccarello and Brandon Dubinsky. Zuccarrello moved the puck to the Hurricanes side of the ice where, from hehind the net, Dubinsky was able to feed Gilroy for the goal from about 10 feet out.
RETALIATION: Carolina tied the game just over five minutes later. After Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist couldn't corral a shot, the puck rebounded to Eric Staal, who beat Lundqvist while he dove at the Rangers goal.
WHY CAN'T IT STILL BE 2010?: The Rangers have struggled to get going offensively in 2011. Before their third-period goal, the Blueshirts had notched just one goal in their last 168:59 of playing time in the new year (eight full periods, 8:40 of Wednesday's third period and 19 seconds in a overtime period on Jan. 1 ).
I GOT YOUR BACK: While the Rangers offense was M.I.A for almost all of the game, Lundqvist had another masterful day in the net. He allowed just one goal on 32 shots in regulation to stop the Rangers skid.
EVERYBODY LOVES A GOOD FIGHT: Brandon Prust and Troy Bodie brought the Garden faithful to its feet with a fight early in the first period. Prust won the fight by landing more blows than Bodie, which pleased the crowd
IMPROVEMENT: The Rangers are 23-15-3 at the midway point of their season, having totaled 49 points, which has them in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. That is a six-point improvement from the midpoint of last season.
UP NEXT: The Rangers hit the road for a two-game road title, facing the Pacific Division-leading Dallas Starts on Friday night and then battling in St. Louis against the Blues on Saturday night.