Chris Kreider scores winner as Rangers top Devils in a fight-fest

Chris Kreider scored a power-play goal to snap a tie with 4:57 remaining in the third period as the host New York Rangers rallied for a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils Wednesday night in a game that began with a full-scale line brawl.

Kaapo Kakko scored the tying goal on a partial breakaway 5:32 into the third and Kreider easily tipped in a shot by defenseman Adam Fox to give the Rangers the lead again.

Artemi Panarin scored New York’s first goal and added an assist to raise his points total to 110 – the second-most in team history. Alexis Lafreniere also scored for the Rangers (51-21-4, 106 points), who completed a season sweep of the Devils.

Ondrej Palat, Brendan Smith and Nico Hischier scored in the second period for the Devils (36-36-4, 76 points), who trail the Washington Capitals by six points for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

New York’s Igor Shesterkin made 17 saves while New Jersey’s Kaapo Kahkonen allowed four goals on 41 shots.

Before the scoring, both teams started their fourth lines and two seconds into the game there were five fights.

New York rookie Matt Rempe fought New Jersey defenseman Kurtis MacDermid. New York defenseman K’Andre Miller and Jacob Trouba fought John Marino and Chris Tierney, respectively. New York’s Barclay Goodrow fought Kevin Bahl while Jimmy Vesey brawled with Curtis Lazar.

Misconducts were handed out to Rempe, Miller, Goodrow, Trouba, MacDermid, Tierney, Bahl and Marino, resulting in both teams playing with 14 skaters the rest of the way.

The massive brawl stemmed from Rempe’s history with the Devils. He was ejected from the previous two meetings, and his elbow in the second period on Jonas Siegenthaler in the March 11 meeting resulted in Rempe getting a four-game suspension.

After the brawls, the Rangers took the lead on Panarin’s 45th of the season when he scored in the vacated left side of the net on a rebound.

Lafreniere made it 2-0 with 1:57 left by backhanding a loose puck into the net.

Palat’s one-timer from the right circle 2:11 into the second period started New Jersey’s comeback.

Smith scored from the low slot nearly eight minutes later after Shesterkin could not control a rebound, and Hischier finished off a one-timer below the right circle off a backhand pass from Jesper Bratt with 8:36 left.

Kakko’s tying goal came after New Jersey defenseman Luke Hughes lost the puck and broke his stick.

-Field Level Media