The New York Rangers picked up their third straight win this afternoon as they defeated the New Jersey Devils by a final score of 6-3. New York held a comfortable 4-1 lead heading into the third period but that quickly evaporated as the Devils added two quick goals within a span of 1:04. The Rangers were able to avoid an unthinkable collapse and closed out the Devils late in the game with a pair of empty net goals from Pavel Buchnevich and Chris Kreider.
Pavel Buchnevich (17) - Mika Zibanejad (20) & Artemiy Panarin (32) - 7:26
The Rangers had given the Devils fits over the last two games, and they continued that trend this afternoon. Just seven minutes into the game, Artemiy Panarin was able to force a turnover in the neutral zone with a well timed check, and that sent the Rangers on a 2-on-1 rush the other way.
Mika Zibanejad was able to draw the lone defender over to him as he entered the zone with a quick leg kick to fake the shot on goal. That left Buchnevich all alone on the far side of the ice, and he one-timed the perfect pass from Zibanejad to put New York up 1-0 early in the contest.
Ryan Strome (13) - Mika Zibanejad (21) & Artemiy Panarin (33) PPG - 10:27
A few minutes later, the Devils got into some massive penalty trouble as Damon Severson was sent off for holding, followed by a too many men call just 46 seconds later. The penalties gave the Rangers a massive 5-on-3 opportunity to blow the doors off of this game, and they did exactly that.
Following some crisp puck movement in the offensive zone, Mika Zibanejad rotated off of check and fed a pass back against his momentum. Ryan Strome was positioned perfectly along the goal line to receive the pass, and wound up banking the puck in off of the right post. The goal gave New York a quick 2-0 lead in the game, and they still had about a minute of power play time left to work with.
Pavel Buchnevich (18) - Colin Blackwell (9) & K’Andre Miller (6) PPG - 11:48
A little over a minute after their first power play goal, the Rangers added another to the tally with Pavel Buchnevich picking up his second goal of the afternoon. The play started with a hard slap shot from the point by K’Andre Miller and the puck bounced around between the bodies in front of the net. Colin Blackwell was able to dig out the puck and laid off a short pass to Buchnevich cutting in from the right wall. Buchnevich was able to rotate into a shooting lane and absolutely wired a wrist shot under the crossbar to extend New York’s lead to three goals.
Artemiy Panarin (16) - Ryan Strome (28) & Ryan Lindgren (13) - 0:32
Just 32 seconds into the second period, the Rangers continued their dominance on the offensive side of the puck as Artemiy Panarin made it a 4-0 game. Ryan Lindgren and Ryan Strome started the play with great rotation in the defensive zone and that opened up passing lanes on the breakout.
Ryan Strome then found Artemiy Panarin bolting up the right boards with plenty of space and hit him with a pass in transition. Panarin was able to fly past the lone defender in his vicinity, and snapped a quick shot on goal. Aaron Dell was unable to handle the power of the shot from Panarin, and the puck fell into the net after deflecting off of his glove hand.
Michael McLeod (7) - Nathan Bastian (5) & P.K. Subban (13) - 12:37
With Igor Shesterkin looking to come up with his third consecutive shutout, the Rangers were doing everything in their power to make sure that held up. However, the Devils had other ideas as they finally broke the shutout streak at the 12:37 mark of the second period. Michael McLeod was able to jump on a loose puck in the crease, and slammed home the rebound to cut the Rangers’ lead to 4-1. As a result, Shesterkin’s shutout streak against the Devils officially ended at 199:33.
P.K. Subban (5) - Jack Hughes (13) & Yegor Sharangovich (9) - 5:34
New York held a pretty commanding three-goal lead entering the third period, but the Devils flipped the script in the third period and upped the pressure. Just past the five minute mark, the Devils cut the Rangers’ lead in half as P.K. Subban wired a slap shot from inside the blue line. K’Andre Miller wound up stepping in front of Igor Shesterkin right as the shot was coming in, and Shesterkin never saw the puck as it sailed over his right shoulder.
Yegor Sharangovich (10) - Jack Hughes (14) - 6:38
A little over a minute later, things went from bad to worse for the Rangers as their lackluster coverage in the defensive zone led to another goal against. Jack Hughes was able to draw two defenders to him as he entered the offensive zone and that left Yegor Sharangovich wide open trailing the play. Hughes dropped the puck back to Sharangovich as he entered the zone, and he snapped a quick wrist shot under the crossbar. Suddenly, the Rangers’ comfortable lead wasn’t all that safe with 14 minutes to go in the game.
Pavel Buchnevich (19) - Mika Zibanejad (22) & Artemiy Panarin (34) ENG - 18:39
David Quinn elected to call a timeout after the two quick goals against, and that seemed to settle the Rangers down a bit. With under two minutes remaining in regulation, the Rangers were able to force a turnover in their own zone with the goaltender pulled. Mika Zibanejad was able to find a outlet to Pavel Buchnevich at the blue line to clear the zone, but Buchnevich went for the closer. Buchnevich was able to hit the empty net as he exited his own zone and became the first player in franchise history to complete a hat trick on his birthday.
Chris Kreider (18) - Ryan Strome (29) & Ryan Lindgren (14) ENG - 19:38
It’s no secret that Chris Kreider has been on an extended scoring drought, so David Quinn tried to light a fire under him late in the game. Krieder was put on the ice with under 30 seconds remaining in the game, and the goaltender still pulled at the far end of the ice. Kreider was able to collect a pass from Ryan Strome almost immediately, and skated the puck into the empty net to extend the score to 6-3.
Things certainly looked shaky in the third period as the Rangers’ lead quickly slipped right out of their grasps. Following the timeout, however, the Rangers got back to defending the way they needed to an ultimately came away with two more crucial points. Igor Shesterkin was phenomenal again as the Devils’ onslaught came in the third period, and it certainly could have been worse if not for his play.
The Rangers are now just three periods away from completing the four-game sweep over the Devils as they continue to chase down the final playoff spot. These two teams will be right back in action tomorrow afternoon as they close out the series in New Jersey starting at 3:00 p.m.