The crowd at Madison Square Garden was counting down the seconds for a New York Ranger victory when the Carolina Hurricanes suddenly scored to tie the game. At least, they thought they did.
But a disallowed
"I knew they were outnumbering us and they were coming at me," said Richter, who was surrounded by Hurricane forwards Gary Roberts, Ron Francis and Sami Kapanen. "I saw (Francis') skate was in the crease. I was hoping the goal would be disallowed but you can't bank on it."
As Francis jostled with Richter, Roberts shot the puck at the net and Kapanen redirected it in at 19:53. After two minutes of pandemonium, it was ruled that Francis had his skate in the crease and the goal was disallowed.
"Roberts made a fantastic play," said Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice. "Francis was at least an inch in the crease and that's the rule we all live by."
The frantic ending capped a thriller in which Richter stopped 30 shots to gain his second consecutive shutout. He has been flawless for 135:57, including a scoreless tie with Buffalo on Tuesday. The last Rangers goaltender to register back-to-back shutouts was Ed Giacomin in 1973.
Todd Harvey scored his third goal of the season as the Rangers extended their unbeaten streak to six (3-0-3).
With Alex Kovalev out for several weeks with a shoulder separation, Rangers coach John Muckler put Harvey on first-lincenter Wayne Gretzky's right wing. The move paid immediate dividends when Gretzky and Harvey combined on the power-play goal that gave New York a 1-0 lead at 10:05 of the second period.
Gretzky, standing in the right circle, took a pass from Brian Leetch and faked a shot, then passed to Harvey in the slot. Harvey one-timed the puck between Carolina goaltender Arturs Irbe's legs.
"Gretzky made a heck of a pass to Harvey," said Muckler. "It was a hard pass. It wasn't easy to handle and he made a great shot."
The goal broke a 124:49 scoreless streak for the Rangers.
"I didn't shoot it very hard," said Harvey, "but it went into the net."
Richter held Carolina at bay the rest of the way for his 19th career shutout.
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