Chris Kreider had another power play goal and two assists as the New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Saturday night to force a deciding Game 7 in their first-round series.
Mika Zibanejad and Vladimir Tarasenko each had a goal and an assist for New York, which had added just two goals after losing the previous three games. Barclay Goodrow and Braden Schneider also scored, and Adam Fox added two assists. Igor Shesterkin saved 34 shots.
Curtis Lazar and Dawson Mercer scored for New Jersey. Akira Schmid, who had saved 80 of 82 shots in the previous three games, was pulled after conceding five goals on 29 shots.
Trailing 3-1, the Devils had 14 straight shots on target. But the Rangers shut it down after that stretch.
Game 7 is Monday night in New Jersey.
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New York opened up a 4-1 lead with Goodrow’s first goal since March 12. Jimmy Vesey fired a shot off the bag and Schmid’s glove and Goodrow knocked the puck out of the air at 7:23 of the third period.
Schneider then made it 5–1 when he received a pass from Niko Mikkola and fired a shot past Schmid with 7:32 remaining for his first career playoff goal.
With the Devils on a power play, they took out goaltender Vitek Vanecek with about 5 1/2 minutes remaining for a 6-on-4 lead and Mercer beat Shesterkin.
The Devils pulled Vanecek again for an extra skater, but this time they were unsuccessful. Shesterkin stopped a Nathan Bastian tip attempt with 2:22 remaining, and then had a stellar save on Nico Hischier’s point-blank attempt on the follow-up, prompting chants of «I-gor! I-gor!» from the crowd at Madison Square Garden.
The Devils had several good short-handed chances early in the second, but Shesterkin stopped Mercer’s shot from the right side and Erik Haula’s backhand attempt on the rebound. The goalkeeper also denied Timo Meier in the slot two minutes later to keep the score level 1-1.
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Zibanejad then put the Rangers in front when he scored from the slot on Kreider’s pass from behind the goal line with 9:50 left in the second. It ended Zibanejad’s 10-game scoreless drought and gave the Rangers their first lead since the second period of Game 3.
Tarasenko received a pass from Kreider and fired a shot into the upper right corner from between the circles with 1:35 remaining in the half. It was his third goal of the series.
The Rangers had the first power play of the game a little over five minutes into the game. They got just three shots on goal to fall to 0-for-14 with the lead dating to the third period of Game 2 after scoring four times on their first seven chances.
Lazar scored for the Devils with 8:11 left in the first. Shesterkin stopped Kevin Bahl’s shot from the left side with his pads, but the rebound came to the right and Lazar made it his first goal of the series.
The Rangers tied it on their second power play. Kreider deflected Zibanejad’s shot off the left tip of his right knee and came on with 25 seconds left in the first half. It was Kreider’s sixth goal of the series and fifth on the power play, making him the first Rangers player to have five on a drive since Adam Graves in the 1996 conference finals.
Kreider got his 16th goal as he faced elimination, tying Mark Messier for the most in NHL history. … Kreider is one power play goal away from tying the NHL record for a series set by Chris Kontos in 1999.
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Looking to boost a Rangers offense that has scored just two goals in the previous three games after totaling 10 in the first two, manager Gerard Gallant shuffled the top three lines. Tarasenko moved up to the top line with Kreider and Zibanejad. Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko moved to the second row with Artemi Panarin. Vincent Trochek and Patrick Kane were relegated to the third row with Alexis Lafreniere. Jimmy Vesey, Barclay Goodrow and Tyler Motte remained unchanged at the fourth line.
The Devils made no trades after shuffling the lines for Game 6.