Chris Kreider scored two power-play goals in a three-goal second period and the New York Rangers stunned the New Jersey Devils 5-1 on Thursday night to a take a 2-0 lead on the road in their first-round playoff series.
Patrick Kane added a goal and two assists and fellow trade deadline acquisition Vladimir Tarasenko scored for the second straight game as the Rangers again had their way with the young Devils.
Kaapo Kakko also scored and Adam Fox added two more assists to give him six in two games. Igor Shesterkin had a relatively easy night, making 21 saves.
Erik Haula scored for New Jersey, which has been outscored 10-2 after going 3-0-1 in the regular season against New York. Vitek Vanecek finished with 26 saves in a game that got one-sided and chippy late.
Referee Wes McCauley and Frederick L’Ecuyer sent five players from each team to the locker room with 6:40 left.
The best-of-seven series shifts across the Hudson River to Madison Square Garden for Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Special teams and Kreider were again the difference. The Rangers were 2 of 7 with the extra man and Kreider netted both, giving him four in two games, all on tip-ins.
Haula put New Jersey on the board first with a rebound in the crease in the waning seconds of a power play. The Devils were 1 of 4 with the extra man.
RANGERS’ HOT START PROPELS THEM TO GAME 1 WIN OVER RIVAL DEVILS
Tarasenko got the Rangers going 5:53 into the second period, taking a pass from Fox and beating Vanecek with a shot from the top of the circles.
A little more than four minutes later, Kreider tipped a slap shot from Kane past the Devils goalie. He stretched the lead to 3-1, using great hand-eye coordination to pop a soft pass by Kane over Vanecek’s shoulder into the net.
Kane scored on a breakaway at 6:34 of the third period after sustained Devils pressure. Kakko scored in close shortly after a New Jersey penalty ended.
NOTES: With the Rangers cruising late, fourth-line center Michael McLeod and New York defenseman Braden Schneider had a big fight with both landing haymakers. … The Rangers didn’t make any lineup changes… The Devils benched D Jonas Siegenthaler and F Jesper Boqvist and dressed veteran D Brendan Smith and F Yegor Sharangovich. Coach Lindy Ruff also changed some of his lines, with the most notable being moving Timo Meier to the top line with Nico Hischier and Dawson Mercer.
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