Rangers penalty kill comes up big in 3-1 victory over Devils

NHL: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers were victorious for the third time this season against the New Jersey Devils, winning by a score of 3-1 on Monday night.

The Rangers penalty kill was a huge factor in the victory, a perfect 4 for 4 on the night, including killing off a 5-minute major. Mika Zibanejad, Erik Gustafsson, and Vincent Trocheck recorded goals, and Chris Kreider, Zac Jones, and Jimmy Vesey logged assists.

Jonathan Quick was solid once again, stopping 20 out of 21 shots. The victory ties him for 16th all-time in NHL wins with Dominik Hasek. He is also now two wins shy of tying the record for all-time wins by a United States-born goaltender, held by Ryan Miller.

“I thought our guys were ready,” coach Peter Laviolette said proudly.

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New York Rangers 3 vs New Jersey Devils 1

NHL: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York got off to a fast and physical start as the two rivals skipped the pleasantries with Kurtis MacDermid challenging Matt Rempe to a fight early in the first period. Smartly, Rempe declined, showing that if he was going to fight it would be on his terms.

Shortly thereafter, it had appeared that New York took the lead on an Artemi Panarin tally. However, the play was challenged, and overturned for offsides.

After some great saves by both Jonathan Quick and Kaapo Kahkonen, the first period ended scoreless. New York out-shot the Devils 13-6 in the opening frame.

The Rangers broke through, though, at 12:25 of the second period. After some heavy pressure by Jack Roslovic, Krieder found Zibanejad, who hit the back of the net, putting the Rangers up 1-0. The tally was Zibanejad’s first even-strength goal since December 23 (31 games), and first point in his past seven games. It was a much needed goal for the Blueshirts’ top center.

“It’s always nice to be able to contribute,” Zibanejad said. “It was a good feeling helping the team to win.”

A lot went down in the final minute of the middle frame. First, at 19:08, Gustafsson scored to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead with a shot from the right point. Rempe did a great job of winning the draw and screening Kahkonen, who never saw the long-range shot.

Just seconds after the goal, Rempe caught Jonas Siegenthaler up high with an elbow to the head. The play resulted in a five-minute major and game misconduct. It is the second time in two games against New Jersey that Rempe has been ejected. In addition, MacDermid received a 10-minute misconduct as he dropped the gloves and chased after Rempe looking to fight.

The Rangers entered the third period with 4:30 remaining on the major penalty. Not only did New York kill the major, but only allowed only two shots on goal throughout the kill. The Blueshirts efforts drew a standing ovation from the crowd at Madison Square Garden as the third period moved along.

To make things interesting, the Devils pulled their goalie and scored at 17:24. Simon Nemec threaded the needle through a screened Quick to make it 2-1.

However, when the Devils pulled Kahkonen again, the Rangers took advantage. Trocheck scored an unassisted empty-net goal at 18:47 to seal the victory.

The Rangers will look to complete the season-series sweep on April 3. This also puts New York on a two-game win streak as they gear up for an important contest against the Hurricanes on Tuesday night in Carolina. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. ET.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh

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