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Rangers put momentum up against Canadiens

Jan 3, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) celebrates the goal by New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers will look for their third straight win when they visit the slumping Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

New York scored three third-period goals to rally for a 5-3 win over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday that improved the Rangers to 10-2-1 in their past 13 games. The Canadiens are coming off a 6-3 loss to the host Nashville Predators on Tuesday for their sixth straight defeat, with the past five coming in regulation.

After Mika Zibanejad’s power-play goal tied the game for the Rangers 2-2 at 16:45 of the second period, the Hurricanes pulled ahead 29 seconds later on a goal by Jalen Chatfield.

But the Rangers dominated the third period to end the Hurricanes’ 11-game winning streak.

Artemi Panarin tied the game 36 seconds into the final period, with K’Andre Miller scoring the decisive goal off assists from Zibanejad and Kaapo Kakko at the 10:27 mark. Filip Chytil capped the scoring on an empty-net goal with 1:03 remaining.

Zibanejad, Miller, Chytil and Jacob Trouba each had a goal and an assist for the Rangers, while Igor Shesterkin (18-6-5, 2.43 goals-against average) made 20 saves.

“This one feels good,” said Rangers center Vincent Trocheck, a former Hurricane. “Obviously it’s a former team but it’s also a team that’s been really hot lately, they had won 11 in a row, a divisional team, so to get a win against these guys, it means a lot for our club.”

Panarin has 11 goals and a team-high 33 assists for a team-high 44 points, one ahead of Zibanejad (team-high 19 goals, 24 assists). Adam Fox has seven goals and 31 assists for 38 points.

While New York is ascending, the Canadiens are descending.

Montreal trailed 3-0 midway through the first period and never recovered against the Predators. Nashville outshot Montreal 34-27 and scored on two of its four power plays.

“We’ve just got to figure out a way to play better defensively,” said Montreal defenseman David Savard, whose team has dropped nine of its past 10 games. “We gave up Grade A chances, and those are the ones that hurt. We play good sometimes, and sometimes we miss an assignment or something and give [up] a Grade A chance. It’s hard on our goalies, it’s hard to make those saves when great players are coming down the pipe.”

Cole Caufield, Josh Anderson and Brendan Gallagher scored for Montreal, while Sam Montembeault (6-5-2, 3.44 goals-against average) made 28 saves. The Canadiens have been outscored 32-11 during their six-game slide.

“I felt tonight offensively, I thought we transitioned and broke (out with) the puck well,” Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said. “We played with the puck and possessed the puck across the line more than we have in the past. Happy with that. I don’t think that’s our problem.”

Nick Suzuki is second on the team in both goals (15) and assists (17) for a team-leading 32 points, while Cole Caulfield has a team-high 22 goals to go along with nine assists for 31 points. Kirby Dach has five goals and a team-high 18 assists for 22 points.

–Field Level Media