Zibanejad, Panarin lead Rangers to 6-4 win over Ducks

NEW YORK (AP) — Mika Zibanejad had two goals and two assists, Artemi Panarin had a goal and three assists, and the New York Rangers beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-4 Monday night.

Vincent Trochek had a goal and an assist, Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafrenière also scored, and Adam Fox had three assists to help the Rangers win for the third time in four games this season. Igor Shesterkin had 18 saves to improve to 3-0-0.

“It’s nice to contribute,” Zibanejad said. “We are working for each other. That’s a big key for us.”

Frank Vatrano, Trevor Zegras, Max Comtois and Derek Grant scored for the Ducks. Troy Terry and Pavol Regenda each had two assists. John Gibson gave up five goals on 34 shots through two periods before Anthony Stolarz came on to start the third and stopped eight of the nine shots he faced.

Kakko’s second goal of the season snapped a 2-2 tie at 9:54 of the second. Lafrenière extended the Rangers’ lead to 4-2 at with 2:21 remaining in the middle period with his first before Panarin fired the puck past to make it 5-2 with 34 seconds to go with his second goal of the season.

Panarin’s four-point game was his second already this season. He also had a goal and three assists against Minnesota last week. His 10 points set a Rangers franchise mark for most points through the first four games of a season.

“It’s a good start to the season,” said Panarin, who led the Rangers last season with 96 points. ”We definitely had a good power-play tonight.”

After Comtois pulled the Ducks within two 5 1/2 minutes into the third, Zibanejad scored his second of the game and fourth of the season a little more than 6 minutes later on the power play again to make it 6-3.

“Tight games, 5-on-5 you have to take advantage of your power plays. When you get it, you have to take advantage of it,” Zibanejad said.

Grant capped the scoring with just under 4 minutes remaining.

The Rangers continued their mastery over the Ducks, improving to 6-0-1 in seven matchups back to the 2018-19 season. Since 2014-15, the Rangers are 12-2-1 against Anaheim.

“I thought we were in the game but one power-play goal in the first was a gift,″ Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. ”In the second period, we gave them two absolute gifts. So we gave them three easy ones and lose by two.”

Trocheck and Zibanejad had power-play goals in the first to give the Rangers the early lead. Trocheck, who signed a seven-year deal with the Rangers in the offseason, scored his second goal at 7:34. He has points in three out of four games. Zibanejad made it 2-0 at 13:10, whipping a high shot past Gibson for his third goal of the campaign.

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant was pleased with the power-play prowess exhibited by his team.

“The way they snap the puck, they just have so much skill and power,” he said. ”Tonight they were finishing their plays and making it happen.”

Gallant did caution that he also expects to his team to defend better.

“I want to win games every night, but I don’t want four goals going in our net every night,” he said. “Our guys know that, too.”

Vatrano, who finished last season with the Rangers after being acquired at the trade deadline, got the Ducks on the scoreboard with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first and Zegras tied it at 1:34 of the second as he rifled a shot past Shesterkin.

Anaheim, coming off a 7-1 loss at the New York Islanders on Saturday night, lost its second straight after winning its home opener over Seattle last Wednesday.

SEASON DEBUT

Forward Sammy Blais made his season debut for the Rangers after missing the first three games with an upper-body injury. Blais played just 14 games last season before suffering a major knee injury. He was acquired from St. Louis in a trade for Pavel Buchnevich in July 2021.

STROME RETURNS

The contest also marked the New York return for popular forward Ryan Strome, who played four seasons for the Rangers before signing with Anaheim as a free agent. The 29-year-old Strome, also with the Islanders for four years, said he loved playing in Manhattan, especially contributing a career-best 21 goals last season and helping the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference finals. “The city was pretty bananas,’’ he said of the post-season hysteria. “It was awesome.”

PANARIN’S POINTS

Panarin leads the Rangers with 10 points (two goals, eight assists) and has scored in all four games. Panarin’s eight assists tied Rod Gilbert (1976-77) for the most through the first four games and are the most for a Rangers player since Jaromir Jagr had six in 2006-07.

UP NEXT

Ducks: At New Jersey on Tuesday night in the third of five-game trip.

Rangers: Host San Jose on Thursday in the second game of a four-game homestand.

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