Rangers head into All-Star break with 4-1 win over Golden Knights
NEW YORK (AP) — Vincent Trochek had a goal and an assist, Jaroslav Halak stopped 33 shots and the New York Rangers beat the struggling Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 on Friday night.
Chris Kreider, Filip Chytil and Jimmy Vesey also scored for the Rangers, who are 8-2-3 in their last 13 games heading into their bye week and All-Star break. Braden Schneider had two assists and Halak won his fifth straight start.
Phil Kessel had a goal for Vegas and Adin Hill finished with 36 saves. The Golden Knights lost for the seventh time in nine games (2-6-1).
Chytil pushed the Rangers’ lead to 3-1 on a fortuitous deflection with 5:40 left in the third period. He brought the puck up the middle and had it knocked off his stick as he charged toward the net. He stayed with it, turned around and missed the puck on a backhand before he knocked it across front of the net and in off Alex Pietrangelo’s skate for his 16th of the season.
The Golden Knights pulled Hill for an extra skater with about 1:40 left and Vesey sealed the win with an empty-netter about 15 seconds later.
Trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes, Vegas got on the scoreboard at 4:57 of the second as Kessel sent a sharp-angle shot as he skated behind the goal line off Halak and in. It was his ninth of the season and 408th of his career.
The Rangers were upset that seconds earlier they believed Alexis Lafreniere was tripped but no penalty was called.
Halak made a sprawling save on Keegan Kolesar from the right side with 7:50 left in the middle period to preserve the Rangers’ lead.
Both teams had chances early as Halak turned aside a backhander in front by Kessel on an odd-man rush at 7:46, and Hill saved deflection by Chytil at 9:15.
A holding penalty on Barclay Goodrow put Vegas on the game’s first power play with 8:17 left. The Golden Knights managed three shots during the advantage, with Halak making a pair of nice glove saves on slap shots by Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore. Also, Jack Eichel hit a goalpost with 7:40 left.
Kreider gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with 3:52 left in the first as he deflected a backhand pass from Trocheck off his knee and the puck trickled past Hill. It was Kreider’s 20th, reaching that mark for the eighth time in his career.
Trochek made it 2-0 with 43 seconds left in the opening period as fired a shot from the right faceoff circle off a pass from behind the net by Goodrow. It was his 14th.
Kreider played in his 700th game, becoming the 13th player in franchise history to reach that mark with the Rangers. ... Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson played in their 400th games with Vegas, the most of any player in franchise history.
The Rangers went 0 for 2 on the power play to fall to 2 for 24 over their last nine games. ... Vegas was 0 for 2 to fall to 1 for 14 over the last seven games.
Theodore returned after missing 20 games with a leg injury. ... LW William Carrier also rejoined the Golden Knights after missing five games with an upper body injury.
Golden Knights: At the New York Islanders on Saturday night to finish a four-game trip before the All-Star break.
Rangers: Host Calgary on Feb. 6 in the second of a stretch of four straight at home.