NHL: Improving Rangers look to pick on lowly Ducks


Out to match a season-best winning streak, the New York Rangers will continue their Southern California double with a visit to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

The Rangers earned a 5-3 road victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, their second straight win.

The struggling Ducks, who own the NHL’s lowest point total, are returning home from an 0-3-0 road trip.

Chris Kreider scored New York’s go-ahead goal in the third period on Tuesday less than one minute after the Kings had forged a 3-3 tie. Kreider added an empty-net goal with 50 seconds remaining, his ninth tally of the season. Braden Schneider, Vincent Trocheck and Kaapo Kakko found the net for New York in a three-goal second period.

Defenseman Adam Fox had two assists, extending his points streak to nine games (four goals, 10 assists). The Rangers went with the same lines in each of their past two victories, starting Saturday at San Jose.

“I like the way we played (Saturday). I wouldn’t say it’s a run,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said of his repeat lines. “The way we played (against the Sharks) was real good, so I’m not going to change anything.”

After a disappointing start to the season, which included a four-game losing streak (0-2-2), the Rangers had successive victories over the Dallas Stars, Arizona Coyotes and Philadelphia Flyers wrapped around Halloween.

New York followed with a three-game losing streak (0-2-1). Since then, the Rangers traded wins and losses heading into the four-game road trip that ends Wednesday.

Igor Shesterkin made 35 saves for New York on Tuesday, and Gallant was not ready to say if Jaroslav Halak would be in goal Wednesday. The Rangers are 4-0-1 in Shesterkin’s past five starts.

The Ducks return home having lost six of their past seven games as their rebuilding woes continue. Forwards Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry are known for must-see efforts, but issues on defense and some alarming inconsistencies from goalie John Gibson have been an issue.

The Ducks have played 19 games this season without winning one in regulation. If they are unable to defeat New York in regulation on Wednesday, they would tie the 2017-18 Arizona Coyotes for most games to start a season without a victory in three periods.

Gibson played well on Monday in a 3-1 road loss to the St. Louis Blues, a game that was tied with just over four minutes remaining. On Saturday in the opener of a two-game set at St. Louis, Gibson gave up five goals and was pulled after two periods in a 6-2 defeat.

Gibson has yielded at least four goals in a game nine times this season and has a 4.15 goals-against average with an .891 save percentage. He has given up the most goals in the NHL (57), faced the most shots (521) and made the most saves (464).

“Tie game and our power play had a couple of opportunities,” Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said about the Monday defeat. “Those are the times when teams who have an understanding of how to win step up and find a way to score. We’re still learning how to do that.”

The Ducks gave up a power-play goal to Justin Faulk at 15:47 of the final period as the Blues went on top, and St. Louis added an empty-net goal in the last minute. Anaheim’s own power play went 0-for-2, with both of those opportunities coming in the third period.

–Field Level Media

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