NEW YORK (AP)Chris Kreider and Filip Chytil got New York off to a strong start in the first period and the Rangers held on to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 on Wednesday night for their third straight win.
Alexis Lafreniere and Mika Zibanejad also scored for the Rangers, who have won four straight and 11 of the last 14 at home. K’Andre Miller had three assists and Jacob Trouba added two, and Igor Shesterkin had 22 saves.
”We’re at our best when we keep things simple,? said Miller, who recorded the first three-point game of his career with assists on the first three goals. ”The puck found me tonight and the guys made some great plays.”
Conor Garland, Vasily Podkolzin and Elias Pettersson had goals for the Canucks. Quinn Hughes had two assists and Spencer Martin finished with 17 saves.
New York is 18-4-3 since Dec. 5 while spiraling Vancouver is 4-12-1 since Dec. 27.
Kreider opened the scoring with his 21st goal at 6:53 of the opening period, converting a pass from Vincent Trocheck past Martin. It was Kreider’s 21st of the season and 250th of his career – tying him with Mark Messier for seventh place on the franchise’s all-time list.
Chytil made it 2-0 at 8:31 with his career-best 19th and his seventh during a five-game scoring streak. He has 11 goals and four assists in his last 13 games.
”I love scoring goals, it’s a great feeling,” Chytil said. ”And it’s a great feeling that I’m helping the team get points. We’re playing good hockey right now. We have to keep doing the things we are doing.”
Garland pulled the Canucks within one with 2:24 left in the first, beating Shesterkin with a high shot for his 10th.
Lafreniere, who scored the overtime winner against Calgary on Monday, put the Rangers ahead 3-1 at 6:23 of the second. It was his eighth goal, giving him three goals and three assists in his last six games.
”We’re finding ways to win,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. ”Tonight was a see-saw battle. There was nothing easy tonight.”
Podkolzin made it 3-2 with his first of the season with 3:54 left in the middle period.
Zibanejad gave the Rangers a two-goal cushion with 3:55 left in the third with his team-leading 25th goal but Pettersson made it 4-3 just 11 seconds later with his 22nd. Hughes got his team-high 42nd assist on the last score.
The Canucks lost 5-4 in overtime to the Devils in Newark on Monday and will complete their New York-area visit against the Islanders on Thursday. Vancouver is 2-2-1 under Rick Tocchet, who replaced Bruce Boudreau as the team’s coach on Jan. 22.
”Some guys just weren’t ready to play tonight,” Tocchet said. ”We had a chance at the end to get in there. Tonight it showed that if we don’t value certain plays we’re not going to win.”
NOTES: The Rangers are 16-5-3 against Western Conference opponents and 7-2-2 against Pacific Division teams. … Anthony Beauvillier, acquired as part of the trade that sent Bo Horvat to the Islanders on Jan. 30, had his first assist for Vancouver on Pettersson’s goal. … The teams meet again Feb. 15 in Vancouver. … Buffalo is the only team the Rangers have yet to face this season.
Canucks: At the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Rangers: Host Seattle on Friday night.
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