Blue Jackets extend streak to 9 with 5-3 win over Rangers
NEW YORK (AP) — Artemi Panarin had three goals and an assist, Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves and the Columbus Blue Jackets extended their winning streak to nine games with a 5-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
Markus Nutivaara and Alexander Wennberg also scored for the Blue Jackets, who have surged into a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It is Columbus' longest winning streak since its 16-game run last season from Nov. 29, 2016, to Jan. 3, 2017.
Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad scored power-play goals and Kevin Hayes had a short-handed goal for the Rangers.
Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves in his first start since March 10 against Florida. Lundqvist was briefly shaken up when Matt Calvert upended him and knocked his helmet off with five minutes remaining.
With Columbus leading 3-2 in the third period, Lundqvist made a nice save as Cam Atkinson drove toward the net, but Panarin poked the puck free and in for his 24th goal at 11:19.
Kreider scored his 14th with 1:52 remaining to get the Rangers to 4-3.
Panarin added an empty-netter for the hat trick and his 25th of the season.
Earlier, Panarin made it 2-0 in the second. Defenseman Ian Cole, acquired at the trade deadline, sent a pass to Panarin, who wristed it past Lundqvist at 9:28.
Hayes then had three impressive scoring chances in the second half of the second period. Bobrovsky stopped him on a short-handed breakaway with about nine minutes remaining.
A few minutes later, with the Rangers again short-handed, Jesper Fast grabbed a deflected pass and sent Hayes in on another breakaway and this time he beat Bobrovsky to make it 2-1 with his 21st goal of the season at 13:44. Hayes also hit the post in the final minute of the second.
Nutivaara made it 3-1 in the third with his fifth of the season at 4:05.
Zibanejad got the Rangers closer at 3-2 with his 25th goal of the season at 7:16. He has nine points (six goals, three assists) in a five-game point streak.
Thomas Vanek, another trade-deadline acquisition, helped the Blue Jackets open the scoring. He sent a backhand pass from behind the net to Wennberg in the slot and he wristed the puck past Lundqvist at 14:05 of the first period for his eighth goal.
Lundqvist briefly kept it a one-goal deficit when he stopped Vanek as the Blue Jackets came in on a 2-on-0 break less than four minutes into the second.
NOTES: Defenseman Seth Jones has missed the past two games and is day to day with an upper-body injury. ... Former Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky was a healthy scratch for Columbus. ... Zibanejad played in his 400th game. ... The Rangers are 5-3-2 since the trade deadline.
Blue Jackets: Host the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
Rangers: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.