NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Birthday boy Mika Zibanejadwith three minutes to play, and the New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 5-3 Sunday to sweep a four-game series over the past six days. Chris Kreider, Vitali Kravtsov, Alexis Lafreniere, and Ryan Strome also to six games (5-0-1). Alexandar Georgiev, who had to leave the ice late in the first period with a lower-body , finished with 25 saves as New York improved to 13-4-3 in its last 20 games. The win kept New York four points behind Boston in the East with 11 games left in the . The Bruins, who have played two fewer games, 6-3 earlier Sunday.
Mikhail Maltsev, Marian Studenic, and Nico Hischier scored for the Devils, who rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game. Zibanejad, who turned 28 and now has points in six, got the winner on the Ranger’s sixth power play after being set up between the circles by Strome. Strome was awarded a after being hooked on a breakaway with the Devil’s net empty. Mackenzie Blackwood had 21 saves as the Devils lost their sixth straight and fell to 1-8-2 in their past 11.
The game was similar to Saturday’s matchup at Madison Square, where the Rangers built a 4-0 lead, saw the Devils get within a goal, and then score two empty-net goals to put the game away. The Rangers opened a 3-0 lead in the, getting a power-play goal by Kreider, Kravtsov’s first NHL goal, and another by Lafreniere. The young Devils got a goal by Maltsev late in the second and tallies by Studenic – his first in the NHL – and Hischier in the opening 5:30 of the third to tie the game. Igor Shesterkin made two saves late in the first period before Georgiev returned for the final 40 minutes.
Devils center Jack Hughes, the, was so annoyed with a second-period penalty call for tripping he slammed his stick against the glass. He got a 10-minute misconduct for that one.
Coming into the game, Hughes had been called for one minor penalty in 43 games this. He had 10 minutes in 61 games . He surpassed the total in one fit of anger.
The Devils’ goals came with Hughes in the penalty box.
ANOTHER DEVILS DEBUT
Forward Nolan Foote became the sixth Devil to make his NHL debut this. He joins Maltsev, Studenic, Ty Smith, Yegor Sharangovich, and Tyce Thompson in the group. He got an .
Foote’s father, Adam, wonin 1996 and 2001 with Colorado in a 19-year career. His brother, Cal, is a defenseman for the Lightning.
NOTES: Rangers D Anthony Bitetto played for the firstFeb. 24, a span of 27 games. D Libor Hajek got the day off. … Kreider’s goal was his 10th on the power play, . His 19 goals overall are tied with Pavel Buchnevich for the team lead. … Devils F Andreas Johnsson snapped a 13-game point drought with an assist on Studenic’s goal.
Rangers: head to Long Island to face the Islanders on Tuesday.
Devils: Travel to Pittsburgh for the first three straight against the Penguins.
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