RALEIGH — It wasn’t a return to Madison Square Garden, but Tony DeAngelo and Jesper Fast made the most of their first game against their former team. DeAngelo had a goal and two assists and Fast scored one of his own as the Hurricanes rolled past the Rangers 6-3 in front of 16,118 Friday at PNC Arena.
“It’s obviously exciting to play them, but I have a lot of good buddies over there,” DeAngelo said. “So it’s not like there’s hard feelings and you hate them or anything like that. … You just want to win.”
For the second straight game, Carolina set the tone early in the first period and rode the wave to a one-sided win over an Eastern Conference contender, following up Tuesday’s 7-1 win in Boston with another convincing victory.
“These last couple of games, for sure, we’ve been on our game right away, and it’s paid off,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
Carolina got the game’s first power play and converted. DeAngelo took a shot from the point that Vincent Trocheck redirected past Alexandar Georgiev (29 saves) for a 1-0 lead at 13:13 of the first.
The Hurricanes followed that up with a second goal when Sebastian Aho, playing his 400th career game, set up Seth Jarvis for his eighth goal of the season on a 2-on-1 at 17:21 to double the lead.
Carolina outshot the Rangers 11-4 — and even that was statistically generous.
Just want to point out that Freddie has 4 saves in the first period from shots distanced 28 feet, 30 feet, 86 feet, and 94 feet
— Canes Stat Boy™ (@CanesStats) January 22, 2022
The Hurricanes followed that up with a three-goal second period.
Fast — also playing against New York for the first time since he signed in Carolina two offseason ago — scored on a one-timer from DeAngelo at 3:33 of the second.
“It’s a game that I’ve been looking forward to even though it’s been almost a year and a half since I was there,” said Fast, who played seven seasons and more than 400 games in New York. “But, of course, very excited and fun game to play and great game for us.”
After Mika Zibanejad scored on the power play for New York, Aho continued to victimize the Blueshirts.
The last time the Rangers saw Aho, Carolina was sweeping New York out of a 2020 playoff bubble play-in series in three games behind Aho’s eight points.
Aho picked up where he left off, scoring his 17th goal of the season and adding a third point with an assist on DeAngelo’s bow-on-top power play goal with 2:33 remaining in the game.
“Well, they come one at a time,” Aho said when asked if he was surprised to have been playing in his 400th game. “But at the same time, time flies, I guess. I mean it’s already my sixth year here and feels like I just got here. Kinda reminds me that you just kind of enjoy every day and live in the moment.”
DeAngelo, who was on the other side of the Aho barrage in the bubble, is happy to be on the same side now.
“He’s a superstar player in the league and there’s only so many, and we’re fortunate to have one,” DeAngelo said of Aho.
Aho returned the praise for his new teammate.
“Perfect fit for us,” Aho said of DeAngelo.
Notes: Nino Niederreiter scored his 11th of the season on a pass from Andrei Svechnikov, who had two assists for his third straight two-point game. … Teuvo Teravainen had an assist on Aho’s goal but did not play in the third period after a knee-on-knee collision with New York’s Barclay Goodrow. … Carolina plays in New Jersey tomorrow at 7 p.m. Former Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton is out for the Devils with a broken jaw,