Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider scored six seconds apart late in the first period Wednesday night for the host New York Rangers, who went on to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3.
The back-to-back goals by Zibanejad and Kreider fell short of the team record for the fastest two goals set by Martin St Louis and Rick Nash on Oct. 19, 2014, when they tallied four seconds apart against the San Jose Sharks.
Filip Chytil, Pavel Buchnevich and Greg McKegg also scored for the Rangers, who have won three out of four. Buchnevich had two assists while Zibanejad had one. Rookie goalie Igor Shesterkin made 27 saves to improve to 4-1-0 in the NHL.
Auston Matthews scored a pair of goals and John Tavares had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs, who lost their second straight. Goalie Michael Hutchinson recorded 30 saves.
The Maple Leafs took a short-lived lead on Tavares’ rebound of William Nylander’s shot 7:36 into the first period, but the Rangers needed just 74 seconds to tie the game.
Chytil started and finished the sequence by picking off a clearing pass by Rasmus Sandin behind the Maple Leafs’ net before he moved to the right of the net, where he was stationed to tap home a pass into the crease by Tony DeAngelo.
A pair of faceoff wins led to the Rangers’ back-to-back goals. After Kreider won a faceoff from Matthews deep in the Toronto zone, the puck bounced to Zibanejad, who fired a shot over the glove of Hutchinson with 2:42 left in the opening period.
Zibanejad then won the ensuing center-ice faceoff from Matthews. Buchnevich corralled the puck and passed to Kreider, who was streaking toward the net. Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl tried poking the puck free from Kreider, who eluded Holl’s efforts and backhanded a shot past Hutchinson.
Matthews cut the gap in half by scoring his first goal with 3:04 left in the second period. Once again, the Rangers didn’t wait long to respond as Buchnevich doubled the lead with his goal 34 seconds later.
Matthews again pulled the Maple Leafs within one by scoring on the power play with 3:28 left in the third, but McKegg iced the game by scoring an empty-net goal with 58.2 seconds remaining.
—Field Level Media