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Mika Zibanejad scores twice in Rangers, 6-2, win over Panthers

NEW YORK — Mika Zibanejad scored twice and Igor Shesterkin stopped 33 pictures because the New York Rangers beat the Florida Panthers 6-2 on Monday night time.

Adam Fox had a aim and two assists, and Jimmy Vesey, Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil additionally scored for the Rangers, who’re 15-4-2 since Dec. 5 and 5-0-1 of their final six house video games in opposition to Florida. Artemi Panarin had three assists.

Shesterkin had seven saves within the first, 14 within the second and 12 within the third to enhance to 11-4-3 in his final 18 begins and 21-8-6 total this season.

“We performed a sensible sport,″ Shesterkin mentioned. “And we scored on our alternatives.”

The 27-year-old Russian simply missed scoring when the Panthers pulled goaltender Alex Lyon with greater than 5 minutes left, down by three objectives. Sheskterin’s full-rink try missed extensive left by mere inches.

“From our angle on the bench, I assumed it was in,″ Rangers coach Gerard Gallant mentioned.

Shesterkin mentioned he would preserve making an attempt when the chance presents itself.

“Perhaps subsequent time,″ he mentioned.

Carter Verhaeghe and Aleksander Barkov scored for the Panthers, who had received 4 of their earlier 5 and are 7-3-1 since Jan. 1, when the Rangers received the earlier assembly 5-3 in Florida.

Fox opened the scoring together with his tenth aim at 3:03 of the primary, bursting previous the Panthers’ protection earlier than sliding the puck previous Lyon. Fox has factors in 32 of New York’s 47 video games this season. Together with his pair of assists, Fox tied Brian Leetch for probably the most assists (177) inside a participant’s first 4 seasons with the Rangers.

Verhaeghe tied it on the facility play at 5:56 together with his twenty third, giving the Panthers objectives with the person benefit for the fourth-straight sport and 7 of the final eight.

Zibanejad put the Rangers forward with 2:39 left within the first on the facility play, one-timing a move from Panarin previous Lyon from his patented spot within the left circle. Fox had an help on the play, giving him a multi-point effort for the third time in six video games.

Vesey made it 3-1 at 15:03 of the second together with his eighth.

Lafreniere then scored for the primary time in 18 video games at 7:56 of the third earlier than Zibanejad scored once more — his team-leading twenty second — at 8:10 to make it 5-1. Zibanejad’s first aim of the night time was the 250th of his profession.

“It’s clearly enjoyable. I strive to not analyze my profession once I’m nonetheless in it and hopefully have just a few extra good years left,’’ the 29-year-old Zibanejad mentioned.

Lafreniere was heartened by his aim, his sixth of the season and first since Dec. 7.

“We’re making an attempt to get higher and achieve confidence,’’ the 21-year-old Lafreniere mentioned about his youthful line which incorporates Kaapo Kakko, additionally 21, and Chytil, 23. “We’re all type of the identical age and its enjoyable.”

Barkov pulled the Panthers inside three at 11:02 of the third together with his thirteenth earlier than Chytil accomplished the scoring with an empty-net aim with 3:11 remaining.

“We simply didn’t generate sufficient probabilities to win,’’ Barkov mentioned. “It’s not going to go our means each time. We now have to neglect about this one and transfer ahead.”

Panarin, who leads the Rangers with 50 factors, prolonged his factors streak in opposition to the Panthers to 12 video games. It was the twenty eighth time in his profession Panarin had a three-assist sport.

Former Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, 36, performed his first sport with the Panthers at Madison Sq. Backyard after two seasons with Detroit. Staal, who was traded to the Pink Wings in September 2020, performed 892 video games over 13 seasons in New York and skated within the second-most playoff video games (107) in Rangers historical past.

Panthers: At Pittsburgh on Tuesday night time.

Rangers: At Toronto on Wednesday night time.

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