Devils deal Rangers fourth straight loss with 5-2 victory

·3 min read

NEW YORK — Yegor Sharangovich and Nicholas Merkley scored in the third period and the New Jersey Devils sent the New York Rangers to their fourth straight loss, with a 5-2 win on Tuesday night.

Pavel Zacha, Will Butcher and Mikhail Maltsev also scored for New Jersey, which returned to action for the first time this month after an extended pause due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Mackenzie Blackwood made 37 saves and Janne Kuokkanen added three assists in the win.

Colin Blackwell and Pavel Buchnevich scored for the Rangers. Igor Shesterkin recorded 32 saves in his third straight loss.

Sharangovich scored the go-ahead goal at 10:43 of the third period when he redirected P.K Subban’s shot from the point past Shesterkin. Jesper Bratt assisted on the play.

Merkley extended the Devils third-period advantage to two goals at 14:09 with his first of the season. The 23-year-old winger forced a turnover in the offensive zone and scored on a blast from the slot.

Butcher gave the Devils a brief 2-1 lead when his shot from along the wall deflected in off Rangers defenceman Jacob Trouba at 17:14 of the second period.

The Rangers responded in the final minute of the second as Buchnevich recorded his fourth goal of the season. Alternate captain Chris Kreider forced a neutral zone turnover and set up Buchnevich, who knotted the game at 2-all. Trouba assisted on the play.

Zacha opened the scoring at 7:37 of the second with a power-play goal. The 23-year-old winger wired a wrist shot from the right circle over the glove of Shesterkin. Damon Severson and Kuokkanen assisted.

The Rangers’ streak of 22 consecutive successful penalty kills over the past seven games ended on Zacha's goal.

Blackwell evened the score at 1-1 with a well-placed wrist shot that clipped the post before finding the back of the net. Brett Howden intercepted a pass in the offensive zone and slid the puck over to Blackwell at 11:32 of the second frame.

Maltsev added an empty-net goal in the final minute.

Rangers forward Artemi Panarin missed his second straight game due to a lower-body injury he sustained against the Bruins last week. Rookie defenceman K’Andre Miller didn’t play for New York due to an upper-body injury sustained during practice.

COVID-19 PAUSE

The Devils’ last game prior to Tuesday was January 31st against the Buffalo Sabres. New Jersey had 19 players land on the NHL’s COVID-19 list during its pause. The NHL announced several schedule changes as part of the reshuffling due to multiple postponements.

TIGHT FINISH

Eleven of the previous 12 Rangers games have been decided by two or fewer goals, and eight of those contests have been decided by a goal.

NEARING A MILESTONE

Travis Zajac, currently on the NHL COVID-19 list, is two games shy of becoming the fourth player to skate in 1,000 games with the Devils, joining goaltender Martin Brodeur, Ken Daneyko and Patrik Elias.

UP NEXT:

Rangers: Visit Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

Devils: Visit Boston Bruins on Thursday.

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The Associated Press