Carolina scores three for first time in month

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Eighteen games had passed since Josef 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

Vasicek scored twice in Carolina's three-goal second period,
lifting the Hurricanes to a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.

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 over 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."

Ron Francis assisted on Vasicek's second goal and passed Marcel
Dionne for fourth place on the NHL's career scoring list with 1,772
points. Rod Brind'Amour, Danny Markov and Aaron Ward each added
assists, and 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, having scored just 70
goals before 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 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."

Game notes
Rangers defenseman Greg de Vries injured his right knee
early in the second period. Coach Glen Sather said de Vries would
have an MRI, but that he likely sprained his medial collateral ligament and
could miss a month. ... Carolina won for just the fourth time in 17
games when trailing after the first period. ... Carolina has been
outscored 25-18 in the first period this season. ... Before a 5-0
loss to Calgary on Monday, the Rangers had won four of six games,
scoring 23 goals during that stretch.