NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Rangers took advantage of a weary and injury-depleted Ducks team.
Chris Kreider scored twice, and New York beat Anaheim 5-1 on Sunday, ending a three-game skid..
“If we can continue to do that and be hard to play against, especially down low in front of net, we will have success,” Kreider said. “We’re building more of an identity as a group.”
Mika Zibanejad had a goal and an assist, while Filip Chytil and Brett Howden also scored for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves.
“We did a lot of good things,” Lundqvist said. “We had a good start and our focus was better.”
“That’s a huge two points for us.” – Kreider pic.twitter.com/n9dmBAZ3ld
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 22, 2019
Sam Steel scored for the Ducks, who were playing the finale of a four-game trip, and Ryan Miller made 36 saves.
Anaheim was missing its three leading scorers, with Rickard Rakell (upper-body injury), Ryan Getzlaf (flu), and Jakob Silfverberg (flu) all sitting out.
When these teams faced each other last Saturday in Anaheim, the Ducks rallied from 2-0 and 3-2 down to win 4-3 in a shootout.
Defenseman Korbinian Holzer, playing out of position as a forward because of the Ducks’ depleted lineup, committed the game’s first penalty, high-sticking just 1:33 into the first period. Pavel Buchnevich had the Rangers’ best chance on the ensuing power play, but was unable to find the net with a backhand.
Chytil opened the scoring for the Rangers, beating Miller with a backhand shot from the right side 7:14 into the first. Howden doubled New York’s lead 91 seconds later, firing the rebound of Tony DeAngelo’s shot into an open net. Both Chytil (10 games) and Howden (15) ended significant goal droughts.
“I like the pace of our game,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “We weren’t slowed down. We had to set the tone. And we were shooting pucks, that was helpful.”
The Ducks made it 2-1 just before the midpoint of the first. Ondrej Kase’s shot was saved by Lundqvist, but Steel batted the rebound out of the air and into the net.
Kreider restored the Rangers’ two-goal lead a few minutes later. With the teams playing 4-on-4 after matching roughing penalties to Max Comtois and Ryan Lindgren, Kreider beat Josh Manson on a breakaway and went around Miller for his seventh point in his past seven games.
Erik Gudbranson, playing in his 500th game, was sent to the penalty box for tripping near the end of the first period, but the Rangers were again unable to convert their power play. New York finished 0-for-5 on the man advantage, leaving it without a power-play goal in four games.
Kreider scored his second goal of the game with just under four minutes remaining in the second period. Zibanejad picked up an assist, extending his point streak to five games.
“Kreider has elevated his game for sure,” Quinn said.
The game turned physical in the second period. The teams took another set of matching roughing penalties as well as a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Gudbranson and Brendan Lemieux were both given 10-minute misconducts. Gudbranson earned his after dropping his gloves in an attempt to fight Lemieux, but at 4 inches shorter, Lemieux declined to join him. By the time the second period ended, 36 total penalty minutes had been handed out.
“We’re not going to take anything laying down, that’s for sure,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “That’s a testament to our dressing room, high-character guys.”
Zibanejad increased New York’s lead to 5-1 just over a minute into the third period, beating Miller from a tight angle during a Ducks power play. It was his third short-handed goal of the season, tying Carolina’s Sebastian Aho and Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau for most in the NHL.
“We controlled the game,” Brady Skjei said. “It was good to see. This was a huge two points for us.”
Micheal Haley and Nicolas Deslauriers dropped the gloves early in the third. Anaheim and New York entered Sunday each having taken 15 major penalties this season, tied for most in the league.
Chytil appeared to injure his knee after losing his balance and falling into the boards during the third period, but returned to the game.
NOTES: Daniel Sprong was recalled from the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League and made his season debut for Anaheim. … Kaapo Kakko did not play after blocking a shot off his skate laces during Friday’s game against Toronto. … Haley was in the lineup, while Howden moved to the wing despite primarily playing as a center.
Ducks: Christmas Break, then the host Vegas Golden Knights on Friday night.
Rangers: At the Philadelphia Flyers Monday night.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)