NHL roundup: Rangers rally in desert, Hawks beat Caps in OT, and Ducks down Kraken

The NHL schedule only had three games on it, but two of them had a direct impact on first place in the Metro Division.

Washington Capitals tied their game against the Chicago Blackhawks late, but lost in OT picking up a needed point. New York Rangers rallied in the third period to win over the Arizona Coyotes, giving them a first place tie with the Caps.

Let’s recap.

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Rangers 3, Coyotes 2

Kaapo Kakko scored his second goal of the game during a power play with 2:18 remaining in the third period and the visiting New York Rangers rallied for a 3-2 victory over the league-worst Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night in Glendale, Ariz.

“It wasn’t the easiest way for us,” Kakko said. “We got the power play, and that was big for us. It was a big win for us.”

Kakko was on New York’s first power-play unit because Artemi Panarin left the game after playing the first period and just one shift in the opening minutes of the second period. Postgame, the Rangers announced that Panarin exited due to a minor lower-body injury.

“Obviously he’s one of our best players, if not our best player,” Gallant said via NHL.com. “It was a tough night. Guys look tired on the bench and they were dragging their feet a little bit, but we found a way late in the game. It was a huge two points.”

Kakko scored the first goal for the Rangers midway through the second period. Mika Zibanejad got the primary assist on that goal, and he scored on a third-period power play as the Rangers avoided taking three straight regulation losses for the first time this season while playing their sixth game in nine days.

Loui Erikkson scored a short-handed goal and Clayton Keller netted a power-play goal for the Coyotes, whose losing streak reached six games.

Blackhawks 5, Capitals 4 (OT)

Dec 15, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks celebrate their victory following the overtime period against the Washington Capitals at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Jones stuffed a rebound past Ilya Samsonov with 3:39 remaining in overtime and also tallied an assist to lift host Chicago to a victory over Washington.

The Blackhawks regrouped after the Capitals’ Conor Sheary scored on a one-timer with three seconds left in regulation, tying the game at 4. Chicago also got two power-play goals from Alex DeBrincat plus tallies from Philipp Kurashev and MacKenzie Entwistle. Marc-Andre Fleury made 42 saves.

Lars Eller, Sheary and Alex Ovechkin each had a goal and an assist for the Capitals. Daniel Sprong also scored, and Ilya Samsonov made 23 saves.

“I think the hip felt good and it was just that I haven’t played a game in a while, so it’s going to take a couple of games to get my timing back,” Backstrom said after coming back from injury. “But we battled back for a point, that’s important.”

Ducks 4, Kraken 1

Troy Terry moved into a tie for fourth place in the NHL’s goal-scoring race with his 18th of the season and Anthony Stolarz made 19 saves as Anaheim defeated visiting Seattle.

Trevor Zegras, Derek Grant and Sam Carrick also scored for the Pacific Division-leading Ducks, who improved to 5-1-2 this month. Stolarz has won six consecutive decisions after losing his first two starts of the season.

Ryan Donato scored the lone goal for Seattle. Philipp Grubauer stopped 15 of 18 shots through two periods, but he was shaken up in a collision late in the second with Carrick and sat out the third. Chris Driedger took over and stopped five of the six shots he faced.

–Field Level Media