Miller has 2 goals, 2 assists as Rangers rout Predators 7-0
NEW YORK (AP) — Defenseman K’Andre Miller had two goals and two assists in New York's six-goal first period, Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves for his first shutout of the season, and the Rangers beat the Nashville Predators 7-0 on Sunday night.
Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists in the opening period, and Filip Chytil, Mika Zibenejad, Tyler Motte and Chris Kreider also scored to help New York cruse to its fourth straight home win and second shutout in two days. The Rangers beat Pittsburgh 6-0 on Saturday night after also beating the Penguins on Thursday and Washington on Tuesday.
The Rangers scored six times on their first eight shots, chasing Nashville starting goalie Kevin Lankinen after he gave up four goals on five shots. He was replaced by Juuse Saros.
Miller became the first defenseman in franchise history with four points in a single period as the Rangers led 6-0 less than 14 minutes in. The avalanche of early goals tied the franchise record for most in the first period, most recently achieved on Dec. 15, 1999, in an 8-3 home win over Los Angeles.
Halak improved to 8-2-2 in his last 12 starts as the 37-year-old goalie got his 53rd career shutout.
The Predators were coming off a deflating home overtime loss to Winnipeg on Saturday and were dealing with a raft of injuries to key players. Nashville was without captain and leading scorer Roman Josi — hurt against the Jets — plus defenseman Ryan McDonagh and top forwards Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen.
Chytil opened the scoring with his 20th goal at 2:37 — assisted by Miller and Halak — followed by Zibanejad’s team-leading 37th at 7:22. Motte scored his fifth goal 52 seconds later before Miller scored at 9:09 to make it 4-0, ending Lankinen's night.
Panarin then added his 23rd goal at 10:01 before Miller scored again, his eighth of the season with 6:24 remaining in the period.
Panarin has points in nine of his last 11 games (five goals and 10 assists) and leads the Rangers with 80 points overall.
Zibanejad, who had a goal and two assists in Saturday’s rout of the Penguins, also assisted on Panarin’s goal and has nine points in his last four games and 28 points in his last 21 contests — including 15 goals.
Kreider increased the lead to 7-0 at 9:02 of the second with his 32nd goal this season and the 261st of his career, moving the Rangers forward within one goal of Vic Hadfield for fifth-place on the Rangers' all-time list.
NOTES: The Predators also scratched D Alexandre Carrier and forwards Rasmus Asplund and Juuso Parssinen. ... The Rangers were without injured D Ryan Lindgren for the 11th straight game. ... Nashville won the previous meeting, 2-1 at home on Nov. 12.
Predators: At Buffalo on Tuesday night.
Rangers: Host Carolina on Tuesday night to begin a home-and-home series.
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Allan Kreda, The Associated Press