Mika Zibanejad scored 2 minutes, 37 seconds into overtime on Friday, and the New York Rangers spoiled a third-period comeback by the Chicago Blackhawks, defeating the home team 4-3 at the United Center.
It was the sixth straight defeat for the Hawks, whose record dropped to 14-35-3, the worst in the NHL. They could only win five of the last 26 matches they played until December 10.
After Hawks forward Jason Dickinson was knocked down in the offensive zone, the Rangers went 2-on-3 on a scrimmage. Chris Kreider then placed Zibanejad in the right circle and beat Petr Mrázek high on the glove side for his 16th goal. He also set a franchise record with his eighth career overtime goal.
“(Krieder) is playing an incredible game, freezing the goalie and the defense,” Zibanejad said. “I tried to buy it online and it was accepted, so I was relieved.”
Rangers, in which Kreider, Alexis Lafreniere and Jonny Brodzinski also scored goals, took the lead 3-1 and rose to the third place. They went 0-for-3 with the man advantage and extended their empty power play streak to 14 in six games.
“This wasn’t one of our better efforts,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “We leave with two points. … We will fix some things and be better in the next game.”
Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves for the Rangers in his first start since Jan. 26. The All-Star went 4-5-1 with a .863 save percentage in his previous 10 games.
“He played well tonight,” Zibanejad said. “We can do a better job helping him.”
Nick Foligno, Dickinson and Alex Vlasic scored the goals for the Hawks. Mrazek made 31 stops.
Foligno started the third period rally with a rebound at 13:37, and Dickinson converted Seth Jones’ shot on goal with 1:02 left to tie the score at 3. It was 11th for Foligno and a team-high 16th for Dickinson.
The Hawks defeated the Rangers 12-4 in the third round.
“We’ve been working on it for maybe over a month now because I’m so pleased with his work ethic,” coach Luke Richardson said. “Most nights we didn’t get the results, but I think we got a little closer each time.”
The Hawks opened the scoring when Vlasic beat Shesterkin, who was screened from behind the left circle, at 2:39 of the first. But Lafreniere responded at 4:49, bringing up a masterful cut by K’Andre Miller.
Lafreniere has scored three goals in his last four games and 14 this season. The 22-year-old striker scored 16 goals in 81 matches last year.
The Rangers then converted a bad attack for the Hawks into a tiebreaking score.
Hawks forward Boris Katchouk lost his blade on his skates when he blocked a shot and was pushed to the bench by defenseman Isaak Phillips. This turned into a 2-on-1 offense for the Rangers, with Kreider recording his 24th pass of the season by redirecting Adam Fox’s pass into the goal at 6:16.
The Rangers took a 3-1 lead 9:02 into the second quarter. Brodzinski pounced on a loose puck to score his third goal in four games, his 4th on the season.