Zibanejad, Kane lead Rangers to 5-3 win over Capitals
NEW YORK (AP) — Mika Zibanejad scored twice in the first period and the New York Rangers beat the short-handed Washington Capitals 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, Jacob Trouba and Jimmy Vesey also scored and Vincent Trocheck had two assists for the Rangers, who are 3-0-1 in their last four games and 5-2-1 in their past eight. Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves to help New York win the opener of a five-game homestand, its longest of the season.
Matt Irwin had a goal and an assist, and Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Nic Dowd also scored for a Capitals team minus star left wing Alex Ovechkin (lower-body injury). Darcy Kuemper finished with 31 saves as Washington lost for the third time in four games.
The teams were skating 4-on-4 early in the third period after Washington's Tom Wilson and New York's Barclay Goodrow were called for roughing penalties. About 38 seconds later, the Rangers' Artemi Panarin was whistled for holding, putting the Capitals on their third power play of the game. Shortly after the first two penalties expired, Shesterkin snatched a high shot from Washington's Dylan Strome to preserve New York's two-goal lead.
Just six seconds after another Capitals power play expired, Dowd knocked in the rebound of his own shot in front to pull Washington to 4-3 with 8:12 left.
The Capitals pulled Kuemper for an extra skater with about 2 1/2 minutes to go, and Vesey scored an empty-netter to give the Rangers a two-goal lead with 2:11 remaining.
Zibanejad got the Rangers on the scoreboard first as he converted a give-and-go with Vladimir Tarasenko and fired his return pass past Kuemper from between the circles at 4:09 of the first period.
Aube-Kubel tied it with 5:31 left in the first as he beat Shesterkin from the right circle for his fourth of the season.
Zibanejad put the Rangers right back ahead 16 seconds later with his second of the night and team-leading 34th. Shesterkin made a long pass to Panarin, who brought the puck up the left side, skated around defenseman Alexander Alexeyev, cut toward the net and passed to Zibanejad, who was driving toward the front and put a backhand past Kuemper. Shesterkin was credited with an assist, his first of the season.
Kane pushed the Rangers' lead to 3-1 with 1:14 left in the first as he got the puck from Adam Fox on a power play and fired a shot through traffic for his 19th of the season and third in six games since coming to New York from Chicago before the trade deadline.
Trouba made it a three-goal lead as he took a cross-ice pass from Trocheck in the left circle and fired a shot past Kuemper at 4:09 of the second. It was his seventh.
Irwin pulled the Capitals to 4-2 with 7:52 left in the middle period as he scored from the left circle for his second.
NO OVECHKIN, NO WIN
It was the sixth time the Capitals played without Ovechkin this season, including four games last month following the death of his father. Washington has lost all six without him and the last nine dating to last season. The Russian left wing has 36 goals and 26 assists in 62 games this season.
Fox's assist on Kane's goal gave him 50 for the season, joining Panarin (54) as the only Rangers with at least that many this season. It also made the Rangers the third team with multiple players in the 50-assist club. Edmonton (Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) and Vancouver (Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson) are the other two.
Capitals: Host Buffalo on Wednesday night in the first of two straight at home.
Rangers: Host Pittsburgh on Thursday night in the first of two straight against the Penguins at Madison Square Garden.
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Vin A. Cherwoo, The Associated Press