NHL Scores: Chris Kreider on fire for Rangers, Alex Killorn beats Blackhawks at the buzzer, and more

The Rangers have won five out of their last seven games despite the absence of Artemi Panarin (leave), Kaapo Kakko (COVID), and Jacob Trouba (broken thumb). That’s due in large part to Chris Kreider.

NHL Scores: Rangers rout Devils, Sabres lose again

Chris Kreider has been on an absolute tear for the Rangers (9-9-3) as he picked up another hat-trick in their 6-1 rout of the Devils (7-10-2). The Blueshirts longest tenured player now has 11 goals and 12 points in his last six games, including two hat-tricks.

“It takes a lot of hard work from the guys you’re playing with, a willingness to get pucks there,” Kreider commented on his red-hot run. “Those guys are doing the work, doing an incredible job. I’ve just been trying to stick around the front of the net and obviously it’s working for us right now.”

Things are getting no better in Buffalo even with Taylor Hall ending his goal drought at 19 games. They lost again last night as the Islanders (13-6-4) got two goals from 4th liner, Matt Martin to beat the Sabres (6-12-3) 5-2. You have to wonder how much longer Ralph Krueger will be behind the bench as this is their fifth straight loss.

Also in the East, the Flyers (12-5-3) came back to beat the Penguins (12-9-1) 4-3. Pittsburgh blew a 3-0 lead only to see Claude Giroux score twice including the game-winner late in the third.

NHL Scores: Alex Killorn’s buzzer beater, Hurricanes and Panthers keep pace

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Mar 4, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) reacts after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

The best battle for first place is in the Central Division. Last night all three top teams won and continue to be separated by just one point for the top spot. Alex Killorn completed the 3-2 comeback victory for the Lightning (16-4-1) over the Blackhawks (12-7-5) when he scored with just 0.1 on the clock in OT. For winning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy his shutout streak ended at 228:09 minutes.

“The expectations are so high for this team,” Stamkos said after tying it up shorthanded. “Even when we are winning, sometimes you tend to nitpick a little bit and try to find some things we want to improve, which is not a bad thing.”

That was a big win as the Hurricanes (16-6-1)easily beat the Red Wings 5-2 (7-16-3) to stay tied with Tampa for first. And the Panthers (14-4-4) edged out the Predators (10-13) with a 5-4 score to remain just one point behind.

The Blue Jackets (10-10-5) closed out the Central action with a 3-2 win over the Stars (6-8-4). Oliver Bjorkstrand picked up his 7th goal of the season there.

NHL Scores: Canucks stop the Maple Leafs juggernaut

The Maple Leafs (18-5-2) were finally stopped by the Canucks (10-15-2) 3-1 thanks to great goaltending. Thatcher Demko made 32 stops as he got offensive help by trade rumor favorite, Jake Virtanen who scored twice.

“I feel like the last couple games I’ve gotten my confidence back,” Virtanen explained. “I felt like I didn’t have it as much earlier in the season, but I feel it right now.”

In somewhat surprising news, the Flames (11-11-2) fired head coach Geoff Ward and replace him with Darryl Sutter – AFTER a 7-3 win over the Senators (8-17-1).

Finally, the Canadiens (10-6-6) fell to the Jets (15-7-1) by a 4-3 score in OT. The game winner came off the stick of Pierre-Luc Dubois notching his 5th of the year.