NHL roundup: Hat Trick Sunday for Rangers’ Zibanejad, Pens’ Rodrigues and Rust

The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins got 2022 off on the right foot with the help of some hat tricks.

All in all, the NHL had seven games on the docket with only the Dallas Stars vs Arizona Coyotes postponed due COVID. Let’s jump into the recaps.

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Penguins 8, Sharks 5

Evan Rodrigues and Bryan Rust each scored a hat trick Sunday and the Pittsburgh Penguins rode a six-goal first period to their eighth straight victory, 8-5 over the visiting San Jose Sharks.

Rust had a five-point game with two assists, while Jake Guentzel and Kasper Bjorkqvist also scored for the Penguins, who ended a two-week layoff. For Guentzel, he’s riding a 14 game-point streak.

“I was just happy to be back in the lineup out there,” Rust said. “Playing again and being around the guys, doing all that. To have the night I did is just kind of the cherry on top.”

Pittsburgh goaltender Casey DeSmith, playing in his first game since Dec. 11, made 22 saves.

The Sharks, who had won two straight games, got goals from Alexander Barabanov, Brent Burns, Matt Nieto, Jacob Middleton, and Logan Couture.

Bruins 5, Red Wings 1

Jeremy Swayman made 23 saves in goal and five different players scored to lift Boston to a road win over Detroit.

Tomas Nosek had a goal and an assist and Patrice Bergeron, Erik Haula, Charlie McAvoy and Trent Frederic each added goals for Boston, which won its second straight game.

Tyler Bertuzzi scored the lone goal of the game for Detroit, which lost its second straight overall and third consecutive at home.

Devils 4, Capitals 3 (OT)

Nico Hischier scored his second goal of the game with 2:04 left in overtime for visiting New Jersey, who capped a successful weekend with a win over Washington.

Yegor Sharangovich and Damon Severson scored in the first while Hischier scored in the second for the Devils. Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood made 27 saves as New Jersey tied a season high by winning its third straight overall.

John Carlson scored in the first for the Capitals, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Goalie Ilya Samsonov recorded 33 saves.

Rangers 4, Lightning 0

mika zibanejad
Jan 2, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) skates with the puck with Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Boris Katchouk (13) in pursuit during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Mika Zibanejad scored two power-play goals in the first period and recorded his eighth career hat trick as New York rolled to victory over visiting Tampa Bay.

After scoring the only shootout goal in Friday’s win at Tampa Bay, Zibanejad recorded his seventh hat trick since joining the Rangers in 2016 as the Rangers completed the home-and-home sweep.

“When you are in that kind of momentum you seem to make the right decisions– the puck finds you and that’s what I did today,” Zibanejad said.

Igor Shesterkin made 38 saves for his second shutout of the season and fourth career shutout. Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy returned from a two-game absence in the protocol and allowed four goals on 21 shots.

The Rangers victory came without Artemi Panarin, who was placed on COVID-19 protocol just prior to the start of the game.

“All of our players stepped up,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said of playing without Panarin. “It’s very satisfying. You play a good team like that over there, they come at you, they have a lot of talent.”

Avalanche 4, Ducks 2

Mikko Rantanen had a goal and two assists while Logan O’Connor, Gabriel Landeskog and Devon Toews also scored, and Colorado beat Anaheim in Denver.

Nathan MacKinnon had three assists and Darcy Kuemper stopped 29 shots for Colorado, which was playing for the first time since Dec. 16 due to a COVID-19 pause.

Cam Fowler and Sam Carrick scored goals, Kevin Shattenkirk had two assists and John Gibson made 32 saves for the Ducks, who lost their fourth straight.Anaheim was without its captain, Ryan Getzlaf, who entered the NHL health and safety protocol before the game.

Jets 5, Golden Knights 4 (OT)

kyle connor
Jan 2, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Winnipeg Jets left wing Kyle Connor (81) is pictured during the third period against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Connor scored with 2:21 remaining in overtime to give Winnipeg the win over Vegas at Las Vegas.

Connor deked around Jonathan Marchessault at center ice and then went in on a two-on-one rush with Josh Morrissey before ripping a wrist shot from the right circle past Laurent Brossoit’s blocker side for his 19th goal of the season and the game-winner.

“These past couple of weeks, they’ve been challenging,” Connor said. “It’s been tough to watch other teams play, and for us try to get as ready as you can.”

Paul Stastny, Andrew Copp, Jansen Harkins and Kristian Reichel scored goals for Winnipeg, which was playing its first game since Dec. 17 due to COVID-19 postponements. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 42 of 46 shots while Morrissey added two assists.

Flames 5, Blackhawks 1

Elias Lindholm scored the go-ahead goal on a power play, Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and two assists, and Jacob Markstrom made 30 saves to lift visiting Calgary to a victory over Chicago.

Calgary outshot Chicago 42-31, including 26-9 in the second period. Persistence paid off as the Flames beat Blackhawks goaltender Arvid Soderblom twice in the second period of his first NHL start to seize control.

Soderblom has played the past five periods in net for the Blackhawks, losers of four straight. Soderblom made 37 saves Sunday, including a stop of Dillon Dube on a penalty shot with 7:46 remaining in regulation.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report

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