By TIM CRONIN | Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists, Igor Shesterkin stopped 29 shots and the New York Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 7-1 on Sunday night for their seventh straight win.
Vincent Trocheck, Filip Chytil and Kappo Kakko each had a goal and an assist, and Vitali Kravtsov, Braden Schneider and Jacob Trouba also scored for the Rangers. Adam Fox had three assists, and Alexis Lafreniere and Mika Zibanejad each had two.
The Rangers have outscored opponents 33-14 during their winning streak.
“We had trouble scoring the first part of the season, and now we’re getting more goals, but the obviously defense has been really good, and goaltending has been excellent,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said.
Philipp Kurashev scored for Chicago and Arvid Soderblom finished with 19 saves.
“I think we have to find a way to have more fight and more pushback and not like, feel exhausted, look exhausted,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. “Whether it’s mentally or physically, you know we just have to find a way to get out of it.”
The Rangers have not lost since a 5-2 defeat at home to the Blackhawks on Dec. 3. Chicago has lost seven straight since then and is 1-14-1 since mid-November.
“It’s a completely different two games,” Panarin said of the Chicago contests. “They were a different team when they played against us, and we didn’t play with the confidence we have now. I don’t want to say we’re pretty good right now, because that’s when things go bad.”
Chytil, Panarin and Kakko scored on consecutive shots in a 5:59 span to make it 3-0 late in the first period. Chytil scored his eighth with 6:56 left, Panarin got his eighth with 3:05 remaining and Kakko added his eighth with 57 seconds to go.
Kurashev got the Blackhawks on the scoreboard at 1:33 of the second with a shot that deflected off Trouba's stick and in for his fourth.
Trouba scored his second nine minutes later to restore the Rangers' three-goal lead and Trocheck converted on a power play for his 11th with 16 seconds remaining in the period to make it 5-1.
“There are moments when you play good hockey, make one mistake and it ends up in the back of your net,” Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. “Right now those moments seem to sting more than they usually do. When things go wrong, they go really wrong, and are snowballing in the wrong direction. Mentally, we’re having a difficult time recovering as a team.”
Kravtsov's second of the season on a breakaway made it 6-1 at 8:56 of the third. Chicago defenseman Caleb Jones, pursuing Kravtsov on the play, dove after the Rangers' forward and ended up sliding into Soderblom. The goalie was shaken up but remained in the game.
Schneider capped the scoring with his fifth with 6:23 left.
Panarin has 18 points in his last 13 games, while Trocheck had 10 points in his last seven. Chytil has six points in six games since coming back from a lower-body injury. He was checked hard by Sam Lafferty early in the second period and did not return.
Shesterkin improved his road record to 9-0-1, becoming the 11th goalie in NHL history to open a season with points in his first 10 road games.
Blackhawks forwards Toews and Patrick Kane were in the starting lineup to mark their 1,000th game together, the 11th such pair in NHL history to reach the milestone. Chicago is 530-347-123 in those games. If they stay with the team, they could match defensive pair Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, in the same lineup for 1,069 games early next season. However, Toews and Kane are both in the last year of $10.5 million contracts and it’s possible one or both could ask for a trade to a contending team.
New York: At Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
Chicago: Host Nashville on Wednesday night.
AP NHL: www.apnews.com/hub/NHL and www.twitter.com/AP_Sports
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