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 totaled just two goals while losing the previous three games. Barclay Goodrow and Braden Schneider also scored, and Adam Fox added two assists. Igor Shesterkin stopped 34 shots.
Curtis Lazar and Dawson Mercer scored for New Jersey. Akira Schmid, who had stopped 80 of 82 shots over the previous three games, was pulled after giving up five goals on 29 shots.
Trailing 3-1, the Devils had 14 consecutive shots on goal. But the Rangers closed it out after that stretch.
Game 7 is Monday night at New Jersey.
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New York opened a 4-1 lead on Goodrow’s first goal since March 12. Jimmy Vesey fired a shot off Schmid’s pad and glove and Goodrow knocked the puck out of the air and in at 7:23 of the third period.
Schneider then made it 5-1 when he got a pass from Niko Mikkola and fired a shot past Schmid with 7:32 left for his first career playoff goal.
With the Devils on a power play, they pulled goalie Vitek Vanecek with about 5 1/2 minutes left for a 6-on-4 advantage and Mercer beat Shesterkin.
The Devils pulled Vanecek again for an extra skater but came up empty this time around. Shesterkin stopped a tip try by Nathan Bastian with 2:22 left, and then had a stellar save on Nico Hischier’s point-blank attempt on the follow, drawing chants of “I-gor! I-gor!” from the Madison Square Garden crowd.
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 goalie also denied Timo Meier in the slot two minutes later to keep the score tied 1-1.
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Zibanejad then put the Rangers in front when he scored from the slot off a pass by Kreider from behind the goal line with 9:50 left in the second. It ended Zibanejad’s 10-game goal-scoring drought and gave the Rangers their first lead since the second period of Game 3.
Tarasenko got a pass from Kreider and fired a shot into the top right corner from between the circles with 1:35 remaining in the middle period. It was his third goal of the series.
The Rangers had the game’s first power play a little more than five minutes into the game. They managed just three shots on goal to fall to 0 for 14 with the advantage dating to the third period of Game 2 after scoring four times on their first seven opportunities.
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 knocked it in for his first goal of the series.
The Rangers tied it on their second power play. Kreider deflected Zibanejad’s shot from the left point off his right knee and in with 25 seconds left in the opening period. It was Kreider’s sixth goal of the series and fifth on the power play, making him the first Rangers player to have five in a series since Adam Graves in the 1996 conference finals.
Kreider got his 16th goal when facing 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 jump-start the Rangers offense that scored just two goals over the previous three games after totaling 10 in the first two, coach Gerard Gallant shuffled the top three lines. Tarasenko moved up to the top line with Kreider and Zibanejad. Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko moved up to the second line with Artemi Panarin. Vincent Trochek and Patrick Kane were dropped to the third line with Alexis Lafreniere. Jimmy Vesey, Barclay Goodrow and Tyler Motte remained unchanged on the fourth line.
The Devils made no changes after shuffling lines for Game 6.