Rangers Score 3 Goals Early, Rout Penguins 5-1
NEW YORK — Chris Kreider scored twice, Mika Zibanejad had three assists and Igor Shesterkin made 20 saves as the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 on Friday night.
Alexis Lafreniere, Frank Vatrano and newcomer Andrew Copp also scored for the Rangers, who scored three times in the first four-plus minutes of the game against Penguins goalie Tristian Jarry, who entered with a five-game winning streak and a 7-1-0 mark in his last eight appearances.
Jeff Carter scored Pittsburgh’s lone goal six minutes into the third.
The Rangers recovered from Tuesday’s 7-4 road loss to the Devils with a convincing performance against the Penguins, a potential first-round playoff opponent making their first visit to Madison Square Garden this season.
The Rangers have won five of their last seven games and eight of 12. New York also continued its dominant play at home, improving to 8-2-1 in its last 11 at the Garden and 21-6-3 overall. The Rangers play 11 of their remaining 17 games at home.
The Penguins arrived with a league-best 21-7-5 road record and an 11-2-3 mark in their previous 16 games against the Rangers, who seized control by scoring three times in the opening 4:16.
Lafreniere started the early barrage at 2:07, sliding the puck past Jarry for his 14th goal of the season. Filip Chytil and Barclay Goodrow assisted. Lafrenière has a career-best five-game points streak.
Kreider then electrified the Garden crowd at 3:58, taking a pass from Zibanejad before rifling a shot past Jarry.
The assist was Zibanejad’s 500th career point.
Just 18 seconds later, Vatrano made it 3-0 for the home team with his 12th of the season and second goal as a Ranger since joining New York in a trade from Florida on March 16.
The Rangers killed off a four-minute high-sticking penalty to Dryden Hunt to close out the first, during which New York outshot Pittsburgh 11-5.
Kreider scored his second goal of the game and 44th of the season at 6:37 of the second, firing the puck past Jarry with the Ranger short-handed.
Kreider has six goals in his last six games and 10 in his last 12 contests.
Copp, who was acquired from Winnipeg on Monday, scored his first goal as a Ranger and 14th of the season at 17:47 of the third.
NOTES: Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin was a late scratch due to a non-COVID illness … Pittsburgh also scratched forward Brock McGinn. … The Rangers scratched forward Ryan Reaves, Greg McKegg, Julien Gauthier and defensemen Justin Braun and Libor Hajek. … The teams meet again March 29 in Pittsburgh and April 7 at MSG. … The Penguins won the previous meeting, 1-0 at Pittsburgh on Feb. 26. … The Rangers will play all but one of their remaining games against Eastern Conference opponents, with only April 19 at home against Winnipeg, the exception.
Rangers: Hosting Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
Penguins: Hosting Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.
CAPITALS 4, SABRES 3, SO
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Alex Ovechkin scored the tying goal and then had the decisive shootout goal, helping Washington snap a two-game skid.
Anthony Mantha and Nick Jensen also scored for the Capitals. Ilya Samsonov stopped 20 shots through regulation and allowed one goal on three shootout attempts.
Jeff Skinner scored twice and Victor Olofsson added a goal for Buffalo, which had a three-game winning streak snapped. Buffalo squandered a chance to win four straight for the first time since a 10-game winning streak in November 2018.
Dustin Tokarski stopped 37 shots through overtime, including foiling John Carlson on bang-bang chances off a two-on-one break before the overtime buzzer.
JETS 4, BLUE JACKETS 3, OT
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Nikolaj Ehlers scored on a breakaway just 21 seconds into overtime, giving Winnipeg the win over Columbus.
Oliver Bjorkstrand forced the extra period with a tying power-play goal for Columbus with 14 seconds left after Winnipeg’s Josh Morrissey was assessed a slashing penalty.
Morrissey, Kyle Connor and Dominic Toninato scored in regulation for the Jets. Connor extended his points streak to 10 games. Eric Comrie stopped 32 shots.
Brendan Gaunce and Adam Boqvist had the other goals for the Blue Jackets in regulation. Elvis Merzlikins made 28 saves.