NEW YORK (AP) — K’Andre Miller scored two goals and added an assist to lead the New York Rangers to a 5-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves for New York (24-8-1), which has won five of its last six.
Alexis Lafreniere, Artemi Panarin and Braden Schneider also scored for the Rangers, and Mika Zibanejad — playing in his 800th NHL game — added two assists.
“That was a good game for us,” Zibanejad said, before expounding on his milestone. “It’s a lot of games. Eight hundred more than I thought I was going to play when I was a kid.”
Washington fell to 17-10-5 with the loss. Anthony Mantha scored the Capitals’ lone goal, and Darcy Kuemper stopped 26 shots.
For Washington and New York, it was their first game after the NHL’s three-day holiday break. In the first period, the longtime Metropolitan Division rivals looked like two teams returning to action without practicing.
“Probably (took) some time,” Panarin said when asked if he thought both teams were somewhat sluggish in the first period.
Mantha opened the scoring at 4:12 in the second period by whipping a shot from the top of the left circle which beat Shesterkin short side.
The goal was the 11th of the season for Mantha, and extended his point streak to four games.
Washington’s lead lasted for less than three minutes.
“We struggle to score five-on-five,” Capitals coach Spencer Carbery said. “Other than Anthony Mantha and that line, we don’t score five-on-five. So it makes it really, really challenging when you’re held to one, two goals every night.
Miller tied the game at 7:03 by lifting a backhander over Kuemper’s stick.
“It was huge,” Miller said of his three-point night. “Luckily the puck found me tonight.”
New York took a 2-1 lead on Panarin’s power-play goal 5:05 later. The Rangers left-winger one-timed Vincent Trocheck’s feed from the left faceoff dot over Kuemper’s glove.
The Rangers finished the game 1-for-3 on the man advantage and killed both Washington power plays. New York outshot Washington 31-26.
Schneider extended the lead to 3-1 just 40 seconds after Panarin’s go-ahead goal when his floater from just inside the blue line beat Kuemper stick side.
“Our whole team stepped up,” Schneider said. “We got it going. Got some goals and I think we got rolling.”
A majority of the Capitals’ scoring chances were relatively harmless, however, Shesterkin had to make a spectacular sliding save on Ivan Miroshnichenko’s tip 6:24 into the third to keep the lead at 3-1.
“I thought he was real good,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said of his starting goaltender. “He made some really big saves at the end. … He seems like he’s dialed in.”
Miller’s second of the game stretched the advantage to 4-1 just 30 seconds after Shesterkin’s stop.
Lafreniere got his 10th goal of the season at 11:15 of the third.