RANGERS 3 – PENGUINS 0
The New York Rangers push toward the postseason continued Thursday as Igor Shesterkin guided the Blue Shirts to a 3-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Garden.
Shesterkin stopped 30 shots en route to his four shutouts of the season, as the Rangers inched closer to their first playoff berth in five years while moving six points ahead of Pittsburgh for second place in the Metro Division. The Rangers trail the Carolina Hurricanes by only two points for first place in the division.
Shesterkin’s goals-against average dropped to 2.10 on the year, as New York improved to 33-10-4 when the All-Star is in front of the net this season.
“It’s a great all-around win,” said Frank Vatrano, “That was a playoff-type of game. We put pressure on their defense.”
Vatrano scored the first goal of the game, just 24 seconds into the second period of a once scoreless game, with assists going to Mika Zibanejad (45), Chris Kreider (27). Nine minutes later, Artemi Panarin knotted his 20th goal of the season to push the Rangers to a 2-0 lead.
Dryden Hunt tallied the final goal of the night for the Blue Shirts in the third period.
Meanwhile, the Devils fell to the Montreal Canadiens by the count of 7-4 at Prudential Center on Thursday.
Andrew Hammond had a rough night in goal for the Devils, allowing six goals on 19 shots. Montreal scored three of its seven goals in the first period, with Nick Suzuki, Jake Evans, and Cole Caufield all scoring in the opening period for Montreal. In fact, seven different Canadiens’ scored for Montreal on Thursday night.
The already short-handed Devils struggled to penetrate the wall of Jake Allen, who allowed only four goals while recording 33 saves.