CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Defenseman Erik Gustafsson scored once and added an assist on Tuesday night as the New York Rangers scored three times in the second period en route to a 3-1 victory over the slumping Calgary Flames.
Chris Kreider, with his team-leading fifth goal, and Alexis Lafreniere also scored for New York. Filip Chytil chipped in with a pair of assists.
“It’s coming. We’re building some stuff, some stuff we want to work on,” said Kreider, about the team’s power play, in which he has scored three of his goals. “Each game presents a different challenge, different kill, different opportunities at different times.”
Blake Coleman scored the lone goal for Calgary, which has lost three in a row and gone 1-4-1 since winning their season opener.
“I don’t want to use the word embarrassing, but that’s a home game that we needed to come out and win and we didn’t,” said Coleman. “I think a lot of guys are pissed off and I hope everybody handles it the right way and uses that as motivation.”
After giving up a goal on the second shot of the game, New York goaltender Igor Shesterkin shut the door the rest of the way. He finished the night with 24 stops to improve to 3-2-0.
“He was really good tonight,” New York coach Peter Laviolette said. “We were defending too much at the end of the game and there were certainly saves that were important throughout the game, and especially in the third period there was a couple of real beauties.”
Jacob Markstrom made 17 saves for Calgary.
Down 1-0 entering the second period, the Rangers surged in front with three unanswered goals, propelled by a lethal power play.
Lafreniere tied it 1-1 at 7:38, neatly deflecting Gustafsson’s point shot out of mid-air. The goal came shortly after Elias Lindholm intercepted a pass but before he could clear it, the puck bounced off his stick and back to New York.
Seven minutes later, the visitors made it 2-for-2 with the extra man. Again on a sequence that began with a point shot, this time it was Artemi Panarin who sent a shot just wide of the net where Kreider, camped at the side of the crease, redirected the puck over Markstrom’s shoulder.
The Rangers extended their lead to 3-1 at 16:53 of the second, this time with the teams playing four a side. Chytil’s long shot dribbled through the pads of Markstrom and Gustafsson was right there to poke it past the line.
Calgary mounted a push halfway through the third period, but the Flames could not solve Shesterkin. Shortly after he stuck out a pad to deny a dangerous shot from Nikita Zadorov, and then he slid across the crease to deny Jonathan Huberdeau on a one-timer.
The Flames got off to a fast start with Coleman, after finding himself all alone in front, took a pass from Mikael Backlund and buried his second goal of the season.
The Rangers finished 2-for-5 with the extra man. Calgary entered the night with the league’s second-best penalty kill having killed off 21 of 22 on the season.
“You’re on the road, you’re dealing with some time changes and travel and that sort of thing, and I think the guys stuck with it,” Laviolette said. “Every game can’t be an A-plus game. You want it to be, and if it’s not you try to fix it and correct it so it is an A game.”
The Flames went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.