Jets struggle against high-flying Rangers
Winnipeg has lost 4 of its last 5
Although the New York Rangers didn't play an especially dominant style, they did enough to keep up their winning play.
J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast and Pavel Buchnevich scored 4:04 apart late in the second period to lead the high-scoring Rangers to their fifth straight victory, 5-2 over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.
"Tonight is a good night to use 'never critique a win,' just take the win," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "It was our fifth game in eight nights, fourth game in six nights. ... These are tough on players, tough physically, tough mentally. You've got to grind it out."
Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello also scored, Kevin Klein and Brandon Pirri had two assists and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 24 shots as New York won for the eighth time in nine games. The Rangers, who lead the NHL with 55 goals and 4.23 per game, have scored at least five in each game of their winning streak.
"We've played a lot of hockey lately," Miller said. "Some games you don't really have it, but you find ways to get it done. ... I think we're finding a way for everybody to contribute right now and it's hard to stop for the opposition if you have four lines rolling like that."
Laine, Scheifele score for Winnipeg
Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele scored for Winnipeg, which has lost four of its last five (1-3-1). Connor Hellebuyck started and gave up four goals on 16 shots before he was replaced late in the second period by Michael Hutchinson, who finished with one save.
After a scoreless first half of the second period in which Winnipeg had a 4-1 advantage on shots, the Rangers outscored the Jets 4-1 over the final 10 minutes.
"I think we are a little bit guilty of getting too excited about our zone time and some of our lateral plays that we tried to make instead of getting right to the net," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "That's what (the Rangers) are good at, they'll transition off of that. They can shoot the puck off the rush and we got burned by it."
Zuccarello fired a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle past Hellebuyck for his sixth to put the Rangers up 2-1 just past the midpoint of the second.
Scheifele tied it 2 minutes later as he pounced on a puck sitting in front of an open net after a shot by Paul Postma was stopped by Lundqvist. It was Scheifele's seventh of the season.
Miller skated up the right side and fired a wrist shot over Hellebuyck's right shoulder for his fifth, putting the Rangers up 3-2 with 6:59 remaining.
'Finding ways to win'
Fast gave New York a two-goal lead with 3:36 left as he tipped a point shot by Klein from the right faceoff circle for his second goal. That chased Hellebuyck and brought on Hutchinson.
Buchnevich made it 5-2 just 41 seconds later as he slid the puck from his backhand across to the left side in front of Hutchinson and fired it over the sprawled goalie. It was Buchnevich's second of the season and second in two games.
"It should be on the highlights," Vigneault said. "It's going to be up in Canada anyway, they look for goals like that. It was a great goal."
The Jets controlled play in the scoreless third period, outshooting the Rangers 9-1, but couldn't get anything past Lundqvist.
"I don't think we are super pleased with everything in our game but we are finding ways to win games," Lundqvist said.
Hayes got the Rangers off to a fast start with his sixth of the season 2:12 into the game. Skating with an extra attacker on a delayed penalty, Hayes took a pass from Klein and fired a slap shot from inside the blue line past Hellebuyck. That gave Hayes a goal in four straight games.
Laine tied it with 9:15 left in the first, tipping a point shot by Ben Chiarot for the 18-year-old rookie's eighth of the season.