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NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers needed a victory so badly on Monday night, it just about paralyzed them.

They had lost three straight. They hadn't won yet at the Garden. They played as if petrified in the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes but, with the help of Pat LaFontaine, arose to hammer out a 4-2 victory.

"Obviously it was one of those things where we came out here and everybody just kind of froze," said winger Kevin Stevens, who scored the clinching goal early in the third period. "It was like, 'We have to win a game here. Someone do it. Gretz, go out and do it. Patty, go out and do it. Someone do it.'"

Wayne Gretzky was held off of the score sheet, but LaFontaine turned his playmaking into points. He won two faceoffs that led directly to goals.

The first set up Jeff Finley's 50-foot wrist shot 1:29 into the second period. The second produced the Alexander Karpovtsev slapper that Stevens redirected into the net 7:17 into the third -- on a play LaFontaine called.

Around the rinks

The defending Stanley Cup champions played the league's hottest team, and it ended in a 3-3 draw. Red Wings center Steve Yzerman scored his second goal of the game with 3:06 remaining in regulation to end the Blues' seven-game winning streak. Detroit's Brendan Shanahan, who has missed the past four games due to a sprained neck, is likely to return Thursday against Los Angeles. . . . Richard Snida, the limousine driver whose crash left Red Wings defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov and masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov with serious brain injuries, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor second offense of driving on a suspended license. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 3.

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