Buchnevich scores hat trick on birthday, lifts Rangers past Devils


NEW YORKPavel Buchnevich scored his first NHL hat trick on his 26th birthday and the New York Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils for the third time this week, 6-3 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Artemi Panarin scored four points (one goal, three assists), Mika Zibanejad had three assists and Igor Shesterkin made 30 saves for the Rangers (22-16-6), who also defeated the Devils 3-0 at Prudential Center on Tuesday and 4-0 at the Garden on Thursday.

The Rangers are fifth in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, four points behind the fourth-place Boston Bruins, who have two games in hand. The top four teams in the division will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Devils (14-23-6) tried to rally from 4-0 down with goals Michael McLeod, P.K. Subban and Yegor Sharangovich, but couldn’t get even and lost their fifth game in a row in regulation. Aaron Dell made 24 saves.

The teams will play for the fourth straight time at Prudential Center on Sunday.

Buchnevich gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 7:26 of the first period, scoring off a 2-on-1 with Zibanejad.

Ryan Strome (one goal, two assists) made it 2-0 with a 5-on-3 power-play goal at 10:29 and Buchnevich scored a power-play goal 1:19 later to give New York a 3-0 lead.

Panarin extended the lead to 4-0 at 32 seconds of the second period. 

McLeod’s goal at 12:37 of the second made it 4-1 and ended Shesterkin’s shutout streak at 152:37. It also ended his shutout streak against the Devils at 199:23, which established the longest shutout streak by a Rangers goalie against a single opponent.

Subban made it 4-2 with a slap shot from the top of the right circle at 5:34 of the third period. Sharangovich made it 4-3 at 6:38.

Buchnevich completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal at 18:39 to make it 5-3. Chris Kreider also scored an empty-net goal at 19:38 for the 6-3 final.

He is the first Rangers player to score a hat trick on his birthday.


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