Kreider strikes twice, caps Rangers’ comeback win over Kings
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Kreider scored twice in the third period and the New York Rangers overcame a two-goal deficit for the first time this season in a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
Braden Schneider, Vincent Trocheck and Kaapo Kakko all had goals in the second period for the Rangers, who have won three of four. Igor Shesterkin made 35 saves.
“Started playing our game, and that’s what we can do,” Kakko said.
Kevin Fiala had a goal and two assists, and Gabe Vilardi set a career high with his 11th goal, but the Kings had their five-game winning streak on home ice snapped. Cal Petersen allowed four goals on 24 shots.
“Going in the lead like that, 2-0 in the first, we’ve got to find ways to just keep going,” Fiala said. “It’s no reason to step off the gas.”
Kreider took advantage of two Los Angeles gaffes to put New York back in front 4-3 at 7:06 of the third, beating defenseman Mikey Anderson down the ice to negate icing and burying a wrist shot past Petersen at the near post for his eighth goal.
It came just 56 seconds after Sean Walker tied it at 3 with his first of the season.
Kreider chased down a long pass from Mika Zibanejad and credited the center for noting Petersen’s tendency to not fully protect the short side to his right.
“It’s something that he mentioned a little earlier, if you’re coming down the strong side that sometimes there’s space on the short pipe, so I just tried to put it there and there was space on the short side. So good coaching by Mika and a good play by Mika,” said Kreider, who added an empty-netter with 49.7 seconds remaining.
Kings coach Todd McLellan said it was a shot Petersen needs to stop.
“Cal has to make that save. Cal made some outstanding saves. … Sometimes it’s the one that you need rather than all the ones you’ve made that makes a difference in the game, and we needed that one,” McLellan said.
The Rangers roared back in the second after falling behind 2-0 in the opening 20 minutes. Schneider started the rally with a shot from the right point that Petersen could not see through traffic 2:22 into the period.
Trocheck benefited from his stick and those of Kings defensemen Drew Doughty and Anderson coming together midway through the second, sending the puck up into the air and rainbowing in over Petersen to tie the game at 2.
Kakko capped the outburst with 1:16 left, sending the rebound of Filip Chytil’s shot into an open net for a 3-2 advantage during a delayed penalty and with Shesterkin off for another skater.
“For us to kind of regroup and come back and put our foot on the gas, that’s definitely a good sign,” Kreider said.
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Fiala’s top-line reunion with center Anze Kopitar and winger Adrian Kempe paid immediate dividends when he scored 35 seconds into the game. Fiala was in the slot to put in Kempe’s rebound for his seventh goal.
The three forwards were on the ice for all three Los Angeles goals. Kopitar had two assists, and Kempe had one.
“I thought that Anze and Kempe had perhaps one of their better games lately, and that’s probably due in fact that Kevin was there helping them out,” McLellan said.
Rangers defenseman Adam Fox had two assists to extend his point streak to nine games. He has four goals and 10 assists during that span, the second-longest by a defenseman this season. Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes had a 12-game run from Oct. 17 to Nov. 13.
Vilardi’s power-play tap-in from Fiala gave him his most goals in a season — after just 22 games. Vilardi had 10 goals in 54 games as a rookie during the abbreviated 2021 campaign
NOTES: New York came into the game 0-4-2 when trailing after the first period. … Chytil and Alexis Lafreniere each had two assists.
Rangers: At the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
Kings: At the San Jose Sharks on Friday night.
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