Petr Mrazek made 27 saves and the Carolina Hurricanes spoiled a celebration at Madison Square Garden that honored the last Rangers team to win the Stanley Cup, winning by 3-0 on 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 minutes 43 seconds. 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 center ice as a capacity crowd cheered the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of that championship, the team’s first in 54 years.
“There was no escaping the pressure of 1940,” Messier said. “Coming here and understanding what the Original Six franchise was and this history, there was no escaping it. The pressure was real, from the fans, the organization.”
Messier accomplished the task in 1994 as the Rangers ended their title drought by outlasting Vancouver in seven games in the Stanley Cup finals.
“When Mark came across the ice to celebrate the Stanley Cup victory and handed it to me and I looked it over, the first thing that came to my mind is I can’t believe how difficult this trophy is to win,” said Mike Keenan, the team’s coach, who was treated for prostate cancer last year.
“As now time passes, 25 years later, that endorsement of how difficult it is stands even more in my mind.”
Adams Graves said: “When you are in New York, not a day goes by that you don’t run into someone that you get reminded, get smiles. Back then, you never thought you’d be impacting the way we have been; it is very special.”
To honor the champion Rangers, 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,” Richter said. “What a great statement by him.”
For the national anthem, the Garden replayed John Amirante’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that he performed during the ’94 finals.
Carolina, which is 13-4-1 in its past 18 games, climbed to a point behind Pittsburgh for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. These Rangers are nine points behind the Penguins.
“There was definitely a lack of urgency, which was surprising,” Rangers Coach David Quinn said. “It certainly was set up to be a special night. We just didn’t capitalize on it.”