Rangers slip past Devils with 3-1 victory

March 5, 2022 GMT
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New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) protects the net during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils on Friday, March 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
1 of 9
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) protects the net during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils on Friday, March 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) — Igor Shesterkin once again gave the New York Rangers a lift when they needed it most.

Shesterkin made 32 saves, Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad each had a goal and assist, and the Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 on Friday night.

“He’s been unbelievable,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said of his young goalie.

Filip Chytil also scored for the Rangers, who won the final two games of their three-game homestand and improved to 6-1-1 in their past eight at home.

Nico Hischier scored for the Devils and Nico Daws made 29 saves.

“Shesterkin had a great game,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “He made some high-quality saves. It was a game where he shut us down on some real good looks. We played as solid as we could play.”

New Jersey has lost five of its past seven games.

“We had our chances,” Devils defenseman Ryan Graves said. “He made some great saves. The difference was capitalizing on chances. We have to find ways to score. ... Daws has been great. It is nice to see. He’s calming not scrambling. He’s been solid for us.”

Shesterkin made four saves on a third-period Devils power play as he earned his 27th win of the season. The Rangers improved to 19-1-3 when leading after two periods with their goalie playing a major role.

“He’s been great, continues to be great,” said Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba who assisted on Zibanejad’s goal. “Whenever we’ve needed him, he’s been there. All year it seems.”

He leads the NHL with a .940 save percentage and has a 1.96 goals-against average, second in the league behind Boston’s Jeremy Swayman (1.95).

“It helps a lot having him back there,” Zibanejad said. “Definitely makes it easier with him back there.”

With the Rangers holding on to a 2-1 lead in the third, Zibanejad skated into the zone and sent a cross-ice pass to Kreider, who one-timed it in for his 36th of the season at 11:23. He moved two behind league scoring leader Leon Draisaitl of Edmonton and one behind Toronto’s Auston Matthews.

“Our top players, they scored big goals for us at the right time,” Gallant said. “Sometimes when you’re frustrated a little bit and the game is not going your way, they make the big plays and that’s what they do for us.”

Tied 1-1 after the first, Ryan Lindgren entered the offensive zone and left a pass for Chytil, who scored his sixth of the season at 8:57 of the second.

Chytil, who was a healthy scratch for two recent games before returning for Wednesday’s win over St. Louis, was happy to contribute.

“I’m happy that I scored a goal, a game-winning goal,” he said. “It’s great for my confidence.”

Shesterkin made two nice pad saves on Hischier about seven minutes into the first period and a sharp glove save on Jack Hughes on an early Devils power play a few minutes later.

Zibanejad opened the scoring when he sent a backhand past Daws for his 21st of the season at 11:11. Zibanejad has scored the first goal of a game nine times this season, second in the NHL to Detroit’s Dylan Larkin.

“I feel we’ve been at times, we’ve been playing really well,” Zibanejad said. “We’ve been doing what we need to do to get the wins. That’s been a good thing for us.”

However, Hischier took advantage of a defensive breakdown by the Rangers and broke in alone and tied the game 2:45 later with his 16th of the season.

Daws made a good save on Barclay Goodrow, who broke in on a short-handed breakaway late in the first.

“I like his calmness,” Ruff said of his goalie. “There is calmness about it that tells me he has NHL quality for sure. He keeps the game in front of him and has made some big saves.”


Hughes has played 35 games and has not taken a penalty so far this season. ... Zibanejad has points in nine of his past 12 games (six goals, eight assists). ... New York will head to Newark for the final two matchups of the season against the Devils on March 22 and April 5.


Devils: Host St. Louis on Sunday afternoon.

Rangers: Start four-game road trip at Winnipeg on Sunday.


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