NEW YORK – After a rough stretch, the New York Rangers are playing their best hockey in nearly two months.
Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist, Henrik Lundqvist moved into a tie for sixth place on the NHL’s career wins list, and the Rangers beat the Blackhawks, 4-3, on Thursday night for their third victory in four games.
The Rangers won nine of 11 to move to 12-8-2 heading into Thanksgiving, but then followed that with only five wins in 21 games (5-11-5). Now, New York has consecutive wins for only the second time since a three-game streak Nov. 17 to 21.
Mats Zuccarello, Filip Chytil and Mika Zibanejad also scored for New York.
Lundqvist stopped 24 shots to tie Terry Sawchuk with 445 wins, nine behind Curtis Joseph for fifth place.
Brandon Saad, Alex DeBrincat and Dominik Kahun scored for the Hawks, who have lost five straight (0-3-2) and seven of eight. Collin Delia, making his eighth start of the season, finished with 29 saves.
“We just have to stop giving them chances off our mistakes,” DeBrincat said. “Teams capitalize on that and we’ve just got to play, battle a full
60 minutes and not give up those Grade-A chances.”
DeBrincat pulled the Hawks to 3-2 with his 24th goal on a one-timer off a pass from Eric Gustafsson at 1:40 of the third period. It was the Hawks’ second power-play goal of the night and ninth during a seven-game streak with at least one.
Delia, 0-2-3 in his past five starts, made a stellar save on Jimmy Vesey in front about six minutes later, and corralled an attempt by Zuccarello from the left circle with 7:40 left to keep the Hawks within one.
New York went on its first power play of the game less than 30 seconds later and managed six shots on goal during the advantage, but Delia stopped them all.
Zibanejad scored an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining to give the Rangers a two-goal lead. Kahun beat Lundqvist from between the circles with 1.5 seconds left for the final margin.
“We had a couple of letdowns, mental errors,” Hawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. “I thought we played really well at the beginning of the game, scored the first goal and things are going well. And then, we end up down, 2-1. Again, we’re playing uphill after that.”
NOTES: Patrick Kane had an assist on DeBrincat’s goal, extending his point streak to seven games (10 assists, 15 points). It was his 554th career assist, tying Doug Wilson for third place in franchise history. Stan Mikita leads with 926 and Denis Savard is second with 719. ... Rangers forward Kevin Hayes missed his eighth straight game due to an upper-body injury. ... Zuccarello, who had a career-high three assists in New York’s 6-2 win against Carolina on Tuesday night, extended his point streak to four games.
Hawks: Host the Washington Capitals on Sunday to open a two-game homestand before the All-Star Game.
Rangers: At the Boston Bruins on Saturday night in their final game before the All-Star break.