NEW YORK (AP) -- Dan Girardi and Brandon Dubinsky scored 9 seconds apart midway through the third period and the New York Rangers went on to rout the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 on Friday night for their sixth straight win.
Girardi snapped a wrist shot from the top of the right circle past goalie Cam Ward, off a perfect cross-ice pass from Brad Richards at 10:47 The power-play goal, with Eric Staal in the penalty box for high-sticking Girardi, snapped a 1-1 tie.
Dubinsky scored off the ensuing faceoff after Rangers captain Ryan Callahan slid the puck in front of Ward from the right boards. Dubinsky, who scored 24 goals last season, celebrated his first of this season with a skyward scream of relief before he was mobbed by teammates. Callahan and Brad Richards scored late in the third to cement the win.
Sean Avery also scored his first goal of the season for the Rangers (9-3-3), who haven't lost since they squandered a three-goal, third- period lead against Ottawa on Oct. 29. The Hurricanes (5-8-3) lost their fourth straight and for the fifth time in six games.
The game marked the first meeting between the teams since Staal checked his brother -- Rangers defenseman Marc Staal -- in the head during a Feb. 22 game in Raleigh. Marc Staal hasn't played this season because of post-concussion symptoms.
Marc finished last season but has yet to be cleared to skate through the first month of this campaign. He started experiencing headaches during the offseason, a problem that hasn't subsided. Eric Staal was booed every time he touched the puck.
Avery's breakaway goal midway through the first period put the Rangers ahead 1-0. It was his first since returning to the Rangers' last weekend after a stint in the minors. Avery picked up a loose puck after defenseman Jeff Woywitka banked it off the boards, skated behind the Hurricanes defense, and roofed the puck over Ward.
The 31-year-old agitator, sent to the AHL before the season, was recalled from Connecticut last week to replace injured forward Wojtek Wolski.
Alexei Ponikarovsky scored Carolina's lone goal at 16:22 of the second with a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Henrik Lundqvist low to the glove side. Defenseman Jamie McBain set up Ponikarovsky for his third goal of the season with pass from center ice.
The Rangers' 5-1-1 start through six home games is their best at Madison Square Garden since they were 5-0-1 there in 1992.
NOTES: The Rangers are seven wins shy of 2,500 in franchise history, dating to 1926. . Since joining the NHL in 1979 as the Hartford Whalers, the Hurricanes franchise has won only 19 times in 58 visits to Madison Square Garden. . The Rangers improved to 133-89-31 with Avery in the lineup since he was acquired from Los Angeles on Feb. 5, 2007.