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Panarin and Trocheck score shootout goals to lift NHL-leading Rangers past Avalanche 3-2

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DENVER (AP) — Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck scored shootout goals, Igor Shesterkin made 38 saves through overtime and two more in the shootout to lead the NHL-leading New York Rangers to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.

Chris Kreider and Kaapo Kakko scored in regulation for New York, which won its fourth in a row to reach 102 points, tops in the league. The Rangers’ last three wins have come after regulation.

“It shows resiliency,” New York coach Peter Laviolette said. “Our guys are playing hard and fight to the end for it. It’s been like that for the last six to eight games. We’ve been playing top teams and fighting hard for those points.”

Casey Mittelstadt and Devon Toews had goals for Colorado, which has dropped two straight following a nine-game winning streak.

“It was a good hockey game,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “Once it goes to a shootout, you might as well flip a coin. I have no problem with the way we played.”

Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon had his 19-game point streak ended when he went without a point at home for the first time this season. MacKinnon had at least one in the first 35 games, which is second in NHL history to Wayne Gretzky’s 40-game streak in 1988-89.

“It’s not like he took the night off, he was still finding ways to generate,” Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar said. “Sometimes the bounces don’t go your way.”

Colorado’s Alexandar Georgiev stopped 22 shots against his former team.

The Avalanche played without forward Valeri Nichushkin, who was scratched with an illness. Brandon Duhaime, acquired from Minnesota in a deadline deal, moved up from the fourth line to take Nichushkin’s place on the second line.

Duhaime made the most of his opportunity when he skated into the New York zone, sent a drop pass to Mittelstadt coming down the right side and Mittelstadt beat Shesterkin to the far post at 19:27 of the second period. He has a career-high 17 goals.

Kakko’ tied it with an unassisted goal 2:59 into the third period, his 11th of the season.

New York went ahead midway through the third on Kreider’s power-play goal at 9:35. Colorado challenged that Kreider’s goal was off a hand pass, but his 34th of the season held up after a review.

“It looked like to me it hit the elbow pad, it looked like it hit above the cuff,” Laviolette said. “Those challenges are tough. You’ve got to make decisions in no time at all and that one went our way.”

The Avalanche answered when Toews’ shot from the point was saved by Shesterkin, but Rangers defensemen Ryan Lindgren knocked it through his goaltender’s legs at 12:47.

“They were taking it to us, but thankfully we have the best goalie in the league to help us with that,” Rangers defenseman Braden Schneider said.

UP NEXT

Rangers: Visit the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.

Avalanche: Host the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

By MICHAEL KELLY
Associated Press

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