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Artemi Panarin ignites Rangers in rout of Islanders

AP

Rangers coach David Quinn isn’t surprised by anything Artemi Panarin does.

Panarin had two goals and three assists to match a career high with five points, and the New York Rangers beat the rival New York Islanders 6-2 in their first meeting of the season Monday night.

“Every now and then he one-ups himself, and he did that again tonight,” Quinn said. “When you think you’ve seen it all, he just does so many great things out there for us.”

Panarin has 26 goals and 41 assists in his first season with the Rangers after signing a seven-year, $81.5 million contract as a free agent last summer. He is the second player in franchise history to have at lest 67 points in the team’s first 45 games — Jaromir Jagr in 2005-06 was the first — and the first to have at least 40 assists in the first 45 games since Jagr did it in 2006-07.

Panarin had a career-high 87 points in 79 games for Columbus last season, and is well ahead of that pace.

“Nothing new, playing the same as I was before,” Panarin said through a translator. “Just trying to play each game 100% and see how it goes.”

Jesper Fast had a goal and two assists, Adam Fox added a goal and an assist, and Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba also scored to help the Rangers get their third win in four games overall and fifth straight at home. Brady Skjei had two assists.

Alexandar Georgiev stopped 32 shots while starting for the first time in four games. Rookie goalie Igor Shesterkin got the nod in two straight and veteran Henrik Lundqvist started the previous game.

Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders during their eighth loss in 13 games (5-6-2). Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves on 35 shots before being pulled midway through the third period. Thomas Greiss stopped the one shot he faced over the final 9:45.

“Their top guys were better than our top guys,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “I thought our level of battle wasn’t where I expected it to be tonight. . . . We got what we deserved.”

Panarin, facing the Islanders for the first time in the regular season since spurning them to sign with the Rangers last summer, increased the lead to 4-1 when he backhanded the puck past Varlamov on a breakaway 49 seconds into the third period.

Panarin got his second of the night and 26th of the season on another breakaway, as he beat Varlamov from the right side at 8:54. It gave him his second career five-point game, and first since Dec. 8, 2017, at New Jersey while playing for Columbus.

Trouba made it 6-1 with a slap shot off a faceoff on the power play with 9:45 left. That ended Varlamov’s night.

Nelson batted the deflection of Eberle’s shot out of the air and over Georgiev’s left shoulder for his 16th with 7:12 remaining.

With the score tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, Kreider redirected Panarin’s shot past Varlamov for his 15th at 5:06 of the second to give the Rangers the lead.

Georgiev stopped an attempt by Noah Dobson near the midpoint of the second, then made a kick save on Anders Lee’s try on the rebound.

Fox made it 3-1 as he got the puck at the right point, skated up the right side and fired it past Varlamov between his left pad and glove with 8:49 left. It was the defenseman’s sixth of the season and first since Nov. 30 at New Jersey.

The Islanders picked up the intensity and outshot the Rangers 9-0 over the final 4½ minutes of the middle period, but Georgiev stopped them all.

“Obviously, I have to keep the score 3-1 and I just tried to battle through that one,” Georgiev said. “The guys played really well and I managed to keep the score that way.”

Capitals 2, Hurricanes 0

In Washington, Alex Ovechkin scored two first-period goals, moving into 11th place on the NHL’s career list, and Ilya Samsonov stopped 23 shots for his first career shutout as the Capitals blanked Carolina.

The victory broke Washingotn’s two-game skid and the Hurricanes’ three-game winning streak. Carolina posted shutouts in its previous two games.

Samsonov improved to 13-2-1. He’s won eight straight games and hasn’t lost since Nov. 15.

Petr Mrazek made 28 saves for the Hurricanes.

The first goal was the 685th for Ovechkin, pushing him past Teemu Selanne for 11th place on the NHL’s career list. Ovechkin’s second goal at 17:01 was his 28th of the season. He needs four goals to tie Mario Lemieux for 10th place with 690.

Flyers 6, Bruins 5 (SO)

In Philadelphia, Bruins star Brad Marchand overskated the puck at center ice on a shootout attempt, clinching the hosts’ victory over Boston.

Travis Konecny scored in the fifth round of the shootout for Philadelphia, and Marchand lined up for his turn needing to score to keep the game going. The two-time All-Star charged toward the resting puck but barely nipped it as he skated past.

Officials met briefly before signaling the game was over. Because Marchand made contact with the puck, it was considered a shot attempt.

Travis Sanheim scored twice in regulation for the Flyers, who rallied from a three-goal deficit.

Canadiens 2, Flames 0

In Montreal, Carey Price made 31 saves for his second shutout of the season and the Canadiens snapped Calgary’s five-game winning streak.

Jordan Weal and rookie Ryan Poehling scored for Montreal, which has won two straight since losing eight in a row.

Price’s shutout was the 46th of his career, tying Ken Dryden for third on the franchise list.

David Rittich had 35 shots for the Flames, who have been shut out six times.

Blues 4, Ducks 1

In St. Louis, Alexander Steen scored the first goal and Brayden Schenn added two assists to lead the hosts over Anaheim.

The Blues won their ninth straight home game, tying the franchise record for one season set in 1991. The run marks the longest home winning streak in the NHL this season.