NEW YORK – – Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome each had one goal and two assists, and the New York Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 Saturday night for their sixth straight win.
Adam Fox added a goal and an assist, and Alexandar Georgiev made 25 saves for New York, which has won 10 of its last 11.
“We are a confident team,” Strome said. “We’re coming to the rink and expecting to win matches.”
Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat scored for the Blackhawks, and Kevin Lankinen finished with 28 saves. Chicago has lost four of its last 11.
“It’s a hard loss,” Chicago Seth Jones said.
Georgiev started for the first time since November 21 after replacing Igor Shesterkin in the third period of Friday’s win over San Jose. Georgiev came in a 2-1-1 record with 3.89 goals against the average and 0.867 save percentage this season.
He was sharp all the way through, starting with a save on Josiah Slavin 6:18 inside the game, where he moved side-by-side to reject an attempt from the castle. Georgiev also enjoyed luck when a Kane player hit the post 5 1/2 minutes later.
“It was huge,” Georgiev said when asked if he needed a strong fight to boost his confidence.
Chicago, however, first broke through on a controversial Kane goal with 22.8 seconds left of the first period. Seth Jones started a whiz up the ice before firing a high cross-ice pass, which Brandon Hagel toppled with a backhand. The puck jumped away from Georgiev and Alexis Lafreniere to Kane, who had a half-empty net to insert his seventh of the season.
Rangers coach Gerard Gallant challenged the goal, presumably claiming that the puck was played with a high stick, but a review determined that the puck was under Hagel’s shoulder when he played it with his stick.
Strome lasered a power-play goal over a Lankinen who dived 4:41 into the second over a four-minute man advantage to equalize it.
“We can get better,” Panarin said of a powerplay that entered the game in ninth place in the NHL in efficiency and went 1 for 4 against Chicago.
New York took its first lead of the game with about 2 1/2 minutes left of the period on Fox’s fifth of the season. The reigning Norris Trophy winner snuck to the top of the fold and put Panarin’s centered pass past Borgstrom and Lankinen to get the go-ahead.
“We started turning the puck,” Jones said. “(And) then they started buzzing around.”
Panarin made it 3-1 with his seventh of the season with 5:14 left in the third. The New York star left wing fired a shot from the left circle into an empty goal as Lankinen had overcompensated for Strome at the goal mouth.
“That’s what he does,” Gallant said of Panarin. “He always makes the right readings.”
Panarin’s goal ended a wild third period in which New York had two power plays and Chicago’s Dominik Kubalik had a chance to level the game at 2-2, but his semi-breakaway attempt hit the crossbar.
The DeBrincats 14th of the season with 1:20 left ended the scoring.
Prior to the match, New York announced that Shesterkin had been placed on injured reserve with a lower body injury.
Shesterkin suffered the injury early in the third period of the Rangers’ 1-0 win over the San Jose Sharks the previous night and had to be helped off the ice by the coach. He was replaced by Georgiev, who made nine saves to help complete the split shutout.
During his pre-game availability, Gallant said organizational decision-makers “feel comfortable” that the injury will not equate to Shesterkin indefinitely. He will miss New York’s next three games, so Adam Huska was called up from AHL Hartford in the corresponding roster move.
Chicago interim coach Derek King announced that defender Ian Mitchell had been called up from AHL Rockford because Jake McCabe had “family matters” that required him to return to Chicago. King added, “it was not something really big.”
Blackhawks: At the New York Islanders Sunday night.
Rangers: In Chicago Tuesday night to complete the season series with the Blackhawks.
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