NEW YORK -- Center Derek Stepan ended his scoring drought, posting the second hat trick of his career to help the New York Rangers continue their mastery over the Carolina Hurricanes in a 5-1 win on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
New York (6-7-0) has now won nine straight over Carolina (4-7-3) dating to Feb. 22, 2011. During that span, the Rangers have outscored the Hurricanes 36-17.
The win was the Rangers' third straight and the first three goals for Stepan this season.
The speedy Carl Hagelin contributed two goals in the Rangers' highest output this season.
Stepan struck twice in the third period and once in the second. The hat trick was the second for the 23-year-old native of Minnesota. Stepan scored three goals in his NHL debut in the first game of the 2010-11 season against Buffalo.
Wingers Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider each had three assists, all on Stepan's goals, as the Rangers (12 points) moved past the Hurricanes (11 points) in the Metropolitan Division standings.
"My two linemates (Zuccarello and Kreider) have created some pretty good looks for me," Stepan said, "but I wasn't able to find the back of the net. Tonight they continued to do it and I was fortunate enough to find the net."
It was Hagelin's first two goals of the season after missing the first 10 games while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. The 25-year-old left winger scored in the first and second periods.
Stepan scored his first goal on a wrist shot through traffic on the power play at 15:54 of the second that provided New York with a 3-0 cushion and added another wrister at 9:09 of the third for his team's fourth goal.
Stepan scooped up a loose puck and fired it past Carolina goalie Justin Peters at 14:37 of the period for the hat trick.
The Hurricanes received a power-play goal from defenseman Andrej Sekera at 19:23 of the second period. The goal was the Hurricanes' first in six periods since left winger Nathan Gerbe connected in the first period against Pittsburgh on Monday.
Carolina was playing its second game in as many nights. The Hurricanes dropped a 3-0 decision at home to Tampa Bay on Friday. The Hurricanes have lost five straight, scoring just five goals in the process.
"I thought we came out well and that was one of our best periods, probably our best first period all year," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. "You have to give our guys credit, after last night, coming in here to play.
"We've been chasing the game lately and we're not getting the timely saves."
Hagelin was just out of the penalty box for hooking when Rangers left winger Taylor Pyatt cleared the puck from the defensive zone. Hagelin flew down the right side, beat Sekera to the puck just shy of the red line and jammed it behind Peters for his second strike of the night at 8:16 of the second period.
"Hags' (Hagelin) speed definitely helps us," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "When he scores the way he does tonight and backing down their defense the way he does, it's so important to the team having success and winning games."
Hagelin used his speed again to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 8:26 of the first. He received a pass from Benoit Pouliot just outside the Hurricanes' blue line, outskated Carolina defenseman Ryan Murphy and Jay Harrison and sent a backhander past goalie Justin Peters from 20 feet.
"Those breaks just seem to go against us," Muller said.
Both clubs have been offensively challenged the first month of the season. The Rangers scored only 20 goals in their first 12 games, tied for Philadelphia for the lowest in the Eastern Conference.
Goals are at a premium for Carolina as well. The Hurricanes have only 27 goals. Eric Staal and Jordan Staal have combined to score four goals through 13 games.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist put together another fine outing since missing two games with an undisclosed injury. He stopped 27 shots and has allowed five goals in four games since his return.
NOTES: Carolina activated 6-foot-4 D Brett Bellemore from injured reserve before the game. ... The Hurricanes remain without G Cam Ward and G Anton Khudobin, both with lower-body injuries. ... Hurricanes leading scorer, LW Jeff Skinner, is sidelined with an upper-body injury. He and RW Radek Dvorak (lower body) are on injured reserve. ... Rangers D Marc Staal faced off against his brothers, Carolina C Eric Staal and C Jordan Staal, in a combined 44 career regular-season games. ... Hurricanes C Manny Malhotra made his debut in Friday night's 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay, winning 15 of 20 faceoffs. The 33-year-old Malhotra was signed to a one-year contract on Thursday. ... Carolina is the third least penalized team in the NHL, averaging 9.2 minutes a game.