Lafreniere, Zibanejad lead Rangers to victory over Capitals

NEW YORK — Alexis Lafreniere and Mika Zibanejad each had a goal and an assist, and the New York Rangers beat the Washington Capitals 4-1 on Thursday night.

Chris Kreider and Barclay Goodrow also scored and Igor Shesterkin stopped 36 shots to help New York win for the fifth time in six games. The Rangers have won eight of their last 11 overall (8-2-1) and nine of 12 (9-1-2) at home.

Alex Ovechkin scored and Ilya Samsonov had 17 saves for Washington, which had won three of its last four goals was playing for the first time since beating Philadelphia a week earlier.

Shesterkin denied TJ Oshie’s deflection of a point shot by Justin Schultz on a Capitals power play in the opening minute of the third, and then stopped Evgeny Kuznetsov’s follow attempt on the right doorstep. The Rangers’ goalie also had a save on a slap shot by Oshie 3 1/2 minutes into the period.

Kreider made it 3-0 at 6:57 with his 34th of the season. His deflection of Adam Fox’s point shot from the right side was stopped by Samsonov. However, the puck squirted to Samsonov’s right, and with the goalie out of position, Kreider knocked it into the open side. Krieder is one goal behind Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl and Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the league lead.

Goodrow scored on a backhander on a two-on-one rush with Kevin Rooney for his 11th with just under 9 minutes left.

Ovechkin spoiled Shesterkin’s bid for his fourth shutout of the season with 1:02 left.

Lafreniere deflected a point shot by Ryan Lindgren past Samsonov to make it 2-0 with 1:12 left in the middle period. It was Lafreniere’s 11th of the season.

The Capitals outshot the Rangers 11-7 in the first period, though New York had the better scoring chances. Zibanejad fired a one-timer off a drop pass from Lafreniere at the top of the right circle for his 20th with 7:03 remaining in the opening period to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.


Zibanajad has five goals and 10 points in his last eight games. Lafreniere is one goal away from matching his total as a rookie last season. Fox has 11 assists and 13 points in his last 11 games. The Rangers are 20-3-2 when scoring first and 18-1-3 when leading after two periods. Washington’s John Carlson snapped a five-game goal- and point-scoring streak. The Capitals are 2-12-4 when trailing after 40 minutes.


The Rangers honored former coach and general manager Emile “The Cat” Francis with video tribute and a moment of silence before the game. The Hall of Famer died on Saturday at the age of 95. Francis served as GM of the Rangers from October 1964 to January 1976, and was also the coach during parts of 10 seasons during that stretch. He put together the famous GAG line (for goal-a-game) of Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle and Vic Hadfield.


Capitals: At Philadelphia on Saturday night.

Rangers: At Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

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