NHL

NHL: Rangers stay hot, Penguins win

By Sports Desk March 17, 2024

The New York Rangers registered three second-period goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Sunday that extended their cross-town rival's recent struggles.

Mika Zibanejad, Will Cuylle and Jonny Brodzinski all scored during the Rangers' big second period, with Brodzinski's tally snapping a 2-2 tie with 4:59 left in the frame.

The Rangers withstood two goals from the Islanders' Bo Horvat, including a short-handed marker in the first period, to record their fifth win in six games and maintain a four-point edge over Carolina for first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Hurricanes posted a 7-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

On the other side, the Islanders have now lost four straight (0-3-1) and remain one point behind in the race for the Eastern Conference's final wild-card spot.

Zibanejad scored 27 seconds into the second to tie the game at 1-1 before Cuylle put the Rangers ahead midway through the period. Horvat tied the contest just 3:41 afterward, but Brodzinski answered just over a minute later to give the Rangers a 3-2 edge.

The Rangers then put the game out of reach with goals by Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere in the third period.

Igor Shesterkin finished with 25 saves for the Rangers, while counterpart Ilya Sorokin had 26 for the Islanders.

 

Crosby helps Penguins garner needed win over Red Wings

Sidney Crosby had one of three first-period goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who gained some ground in the East's play-off race with a key 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

Crosby added an assist in addition to ending an 11-game goal drought to help the Penguins close within five points of Detroit for the conference's final wild-card spot.

Reilly Smith, Valtteri Puustinen and Lars Eller also had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh to aid a 25-save effort from Alex Nedeljkovic.

Smith opened the scoring midway through the first period, though the Red Wings quickly got back even on Lucas Raymond's first of two goals of the game.

Crosby then swatted a rebound past Detroit goaltender Alex Lyon to put Pittsburgh back ahead with 1:07 to go in the first, and Puustinen followed a mere 23 seconds later for a 3–1 Penguins' lead.

Crosby's goal was the 583rd of his career, tying fellow great Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers) for the seventh-most by any player with one franchise in NHL history.

Pittsburgh further extended the margin on Michael Bunting's goal midway through the second period. The Red Wings would close within 4-2 when Christian Fischer one-timed a feed from Michael Rasmussen past Nedeljkovic with 2:25 left in the frame, but Eller restored the Penguins' three-goal advantage with a power-play tally shortly before the second intermission.

Raymond scored on a power play with 2:23 remaining to cut Pittsburgh's lead to 5-3, but the Red Wings could not get closer and the Penguins' Drew O'Connor sealed the outcome with an empty-net goal with 26 seconds left.

Detroit, which halted a seven-game losing streak with Saturday's 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, received 32 saves from Lyon on 37 chances. 

 

Eichel nets game-winner as Golden Knights top Devils

Jack Eichel scored the go-ahead goal with 8:54 remaining as the Vegas Golden Knights rallied in the third period to earn a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

The defending Stanley Cup champions scored three times in the final 18 minutes to erase a 1-0 deficit and solidify their hold on a play-off spot with their third win in four games. Vegas is tied with the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division and stayed four points in front of St. Louis for the Western Conference's final wild card.

The Blues kept pace with Sunday's 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Despite Vegas owning a 24-14 shot advantage over the Devils through the first two periods, the teams remained deadlocked in a scoreless tie until New Jersey's Nico Hischier ended the stalemate 38 seconds into the third.

The Golden Knights finally got on the board when William Carrier scored 2:57 into the final period, then went ahead when Eichel ripped a shot past New Jersey goaltender Jake Allen just past the 11-minute mark.

Allen was pulled for an extra attacker with under two minutes left, but Logan Thompson came up with three key late saves before William Karlsson scored into the Devils' empty net in the final seconds to seal the outcome.

Thompson finished with 20 saves while Allen stopped 34 of 36 shots for New Jersey, which fell to 2-7-0 in March.

 

 

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