NEW YORK — Frank Vatrano and Artemi Panarin scored within the second interval, Igor Shesterkin stopped 30 photographs for his fourth shutout of the season and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 Thursday evening.
Dryden Hunt added an empty-net aim within the remaining minute and Mika Zibanejad had two assists for New York, which is 6-1-1 in its final eight video games — together with three victories towards Pittsburgh.
“We played this team real well,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. ”This is one other stepping stone for us.”
With Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby a late scratch with a non-COVID sickness, the Penguins produced a meek assault towards the Rangers, who additionally defeated their division rivals 5-1 at Madison Square Garden on March 25 and 3-2 in Pittsburgh on March 29.
“Their goalie did a good job at key moments,” Penguins defenseman Kris Letang said. ”Tonight was a decent sport.”
Tristan Jarry had 21 saves for Pittsburgh, which has lost four of five and is 2-5-1 in its last eight.
“I thought our team competed hard,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. ”We’ve played a lot of good hockey this year. We believe in this group. We have to continue to stay with it.”
The Rangers inched nearer to their first playoff berth since 2017, transferring six factors forward of the Penguins for second place within the Metropolitan Division — and home-ice benefit within the first spherical —with 10 video games remaining.
“It’s a great all-around win,” said Vatrano. who continued to excel on the Rangers’ top line with Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. ”That was a playoff kind of sport. We put strain on their protection.”
The Rangers would face the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs if the teams remain where they are in the standings. Jarry welcomed that postseason prospect.
“We’ve performed with a depleted lineup virtually each time towards them,” Jarry stated. “We will have some guys coming back who will add to our lineup and help us. I think it will be a good matchup.”
After the ultimate buzzer, the groups engaged in a short get-together at heart ice following just a few scrums alongside the boards.
“You think about that a little bit,” Vatrano said of a potential playoff clash between the squads. ”No matter who we play, we’ll be prepared, The playoffs are a unique animal.”
The Rangers improved to 23-7-4 at house with a 10-3-2 mark of their final 15 video games on Garden ice. They reached 98 factors for the eleventh time in franchise historical past and the primary time since 2016-17. It additionally marked the fourth time New York has 46 or extra wins by 72 video games. That was additionally achieved in 1971-72, 1972-73 and 2014-15.
Shesterkin had 9 saves within the first interval, eight within the second and 13 within the third to enhance to 33-10-4. The Russian goaltender’s 33 victories are tied for third within the league and the shutout was his first since Jan. 13 at San Jose.
Panarin joked after the sport that Shesterkin has performed every part this season for the Rangers besides rating a aim from his crease.
“If he learned how to score as well, I think he’d really be there,” Panarin said through an interpreter with Shesterkin sitting to his right and laughing, too. “But right now, we’ll keep him at the salary he’s got.”
After an uneventful first, Vatrano opened the scoring 24 seconds into the center interval, backhanding a free puck previous Jarry.
Zibanejad and Kreider assisted on Vatrano’s sixteenth aim of the season and his sixth in 12 video games since becoming a member of the Rangers in a commerce with Florida final month. Vatrano has factors in six of his final eight video games, together with 5 objectives. Zibanejad has factors in eight of his final 11 video games and his 46 assists are a profession excessive.
Panarin — enjoying his five hundredth NHL sport — made it 2-0 at 9:47, backhanding the puck previous Jarry from the excessive slot for his twentieth aim of the marketing campaign. Panarin has 23 factors – 5 objectives and 18 assists — in his final 15 video games.
Andrew Copp had an help on the play, giving him 10 factors in 9 video games since becoming a member of the Rangers in a commerce from Winnipeg on March 21.
The Rangers are 17-1-0 when scoring first at house they usually improved to 30-9-2 towards Eastern Conference opponents.
PENGUINS POSTSEASON STREAK
With 92 factors, Pittsburgh stays on monitor to clinch a playoff spot for a sixteenth consecutive yr. Their stretch of 15-straight postseason appearances is the longest lively streak amongst groups within the 4 main North American skilled sports activities. The final time the Penguins missed the playoffs was 2005-06, Crosby’s rookie season.
NOTES: Penguins ahead Filip Hallander made his NHL debut. The second-round choose in 2018 had 10 objectives and 24 factors in 53 video games for Wilkes-Barre of the AHL … In addition to Crosby, the Penguins scratched forwards Jason Zucker and Radim Zoharna and defenseman John Marino. … The Rangers scratched forwards Greg McKegg, Julien Gauthier and Ryan Reaves plus defensemen Libor Hajek and Justin Braun. … Rangers ahead Barclay Goodrow performed his four-hundredth profession sport.
Penguins: Host Washington on Saturday afternoon.
Rangers: Host Ottawa on Saturday evening.