N.Y. Ranger Wojtek Wolski is congratulated by teammates Mats Zuccarello (36) and Brandon Prust (8) after scoring the game-winner during the shootout. CHRIS SEWARD - firstname.lastname@example.org
RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes couldn't hold on and lost more than the game.
With seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings on the line, the New York Rangers held on to their place in the standings with a 4-3 shootout win at the RBC Center Tuesday.
That extended the Rangers' lead over the eighth-place Hurricanes to three points. Had the Hurricanes won in regulation, they would have moved ahead of the Rangers by pulling even in points with a game in hand.
New York wing Wojtek Wolski was the only shooter to convert in the shootout, and he was the last of six skaters, snapping off the winner to beat Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward, who had 42 saves in the game.
A pair of early third period goals from Carolina wing Jussi Jokinen gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead over the Rangers for much of the period, but the Hurricanes couldn't hold on.
The Rangers tied the game 3-3 with 1:50 left in the regulation after bringing a relentless effort in the last 10 minutes.
Rangers defenseman Michael Sauer broke through on a tip-in for his second goal of the season with Wolski earning the primary assist.
This after Jokinen and the Canes came from behind in early in the third period.
Jokinen scored the first of his two goals five seconds after the Hurricanes failed to convert their third power play of the night (they have one goal in their last 30 power plays). Jokinen wristed the puck in at 3:32 mark after defenseman Jamie McBain passed down into the slot.
Then Jokinen, again in the slot, took a pass from Carolina defenseman Jay Harrison and worked around New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist before wristing another goal at 6:10.
Jokinen hadn't scored a goal since Jan. 20, which also came against the Rangers.
The Rangers had taken a 2-1 lead heading into the third period, scoring on the power play with 13.8 seconds left in the second period when Rangers forward Ryan Callahan directed in Mats Zuccarello's shot.
It was moments after the Canes killed off the first of two penalties, the first of which was a delay of game call against Erik Cole.
The Rangers still had 31 seconds of a two-man advantage after Joni Pitkanen was called for hooking New York defenseman Marc Staal, who a moment later was knocked to the floor after his brother, Carolina's Eric Staal, clobbered him with a clean hit. That likely
Harrison doubled his season goal total in the first period to tie the New York Rangers 1-1.
Carolina's Brandon Sutter made a play along the Rangers' blue line and he tapped the puck over the line, allowing Harrison to get a jump.
Harrison, who seconds before had hit New York wing Vinny Prospal, wristed the puck, which tumbled into the goal after Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist deflected the shot at 16:35 in the first period.
It was Harrison's second goal of the season.
The Rangers had taken an early lead. New York wing Brandon Prust buried a wrap-around attempt by wing Sean Avery to the Rangers a quick 1-0 lead over the Carolina Hurricanes at the 2:08 mark of the first period.
It's the last time the two teams will face each other during the regular season, and it's essentially a battle for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
The Canes had two scratches: center Ryan Carter, who's missed five games with an upper body injury; and defenseman Derek Joslin, a healthy scratch. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen, who missed Saturday's game against the New Jersey Devils with a lower body injury, was back in the lineup.