Jimmy Vesey and Chris Kreider scored 1:41 apart in the first period and the visiting New York Rangers kept alive their chances to finish second place in the Metropolitan Division with a 4-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday night
Niko Mikkola also scored his first goal of the season early in the third period and Mika Zibanejad collected two assists to give him 50 assists this season. Vincent Trocheck scored in the final minute of the third.
Igor Shesterkin made 20 saves for his third shutout this season and 11th of his career.
The Rangers gained a point for the fifth straight game (3-0-2) and also improved to 12-2-3 in their past 17 contests
New York (47-21-12, 106 points) began Saturday four points behind the second-place New Jersey Devils. New Jersey was visiting the league-best Boston Bruins in a game that started about an hour after the Rangers' began
Columbus (24-47-8, 56 points) fell to 1-6-1 over its past eight contests and lost by at least four goals for the 15th time. The Blue Jackets began Saturday tied with the Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks for the fewest points in the NHL
Columbus goalie Michael Hutchinson allowed four goals on 28 shots.
Two defensive plays near the neutral zone set up New York's two goals in the first.
Columbus star Johnny Gaudreau lost the puck to Barclay Goodrow at the blue line in New York's offensive zone. Goodrow quickly found Tyler Motte and he moved through the slot and whipped the puck to Vesey, who lifted a shot by Hutchinson from between the circles for his 11th goal with 9:52 remaining.
After Patrick Kane stole the puck from Columbus rookie Kirill Marchenko, the Rangers moved the puck to the left side of the net. Kreider took a shot that banked off the side of the net but after Zibanejad slid the puck over, Kreider tapped the puck into an open net before Hutchinson could move back into position
Mikkola made it 3-0 a little over five minutes into the third when Zibanejad made a nifty cross-ice pass to the defenseman. From the left side of the crease, he lifted the puck over Hutchinson for his fifth career goal and first since Jan. 15, 2022 with St. Louis.
--Field Level Media