Rangers inflict rare shootout defeat on Penguins
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Rangers extended their run of good form and inflicted a rare home defeat on Pittsburgh with a 4-3 shootout win on Friday.
The second-placed Rangers moved within 16 points of the Penguins, who have a runaway lead in the Metropolitan Division and a seven-point buffer in the Eastern Conference as a whole.
In the Western Conference, Chicago missed a chance to go to the top of the standings after a loss at Phoenix, while San Jose headed into the Olympic break with a win over Columbus.
New York’s Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello scored in the shootout, while Benoit Pouliot scored twice in regulation and Dan Girardi also netted for the Rangers, who won for the fifth time in six games.
The Penguins had won all four of their previous shootouts this season and 14 of their past 15 overall. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who had not allowed a shootout goal all season, was beaten twice.
James Neal had tied the game for Pittsburgh with 2:56 left in regulation, while Olli Maatta and Evgeni Malkin also scored for the Penguins, who had lost only one of their previous 17 home games.
Phoenix became the first team to shut out Chicago this season, as Mike Smith stopped 30 shots to help the Coyotes to a 2-0 win.
Keith Yandle scored 69 seconds in and had an assist on Radim Vrbata’s goal late in the second period. Smith made it stand up with some tough saves late in the third period, closing out his second shutout of the season.
Chicago struggled offensively without leading scorer Patrick Kane, who left to attend his grandfather’s funeral.
San Jose’s John McCarthy scored his first goal since 2010 as the Sharks beat Columbus 3-2.
Patrick Marleau and Tommy Wingels also scored for the Sharks to reach the break in second place in the Pacific Division.
San Jose coach Todd McLellan also broke Darryl Sutter’s franchise record by coaching in his 435th game.
Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner scored for the Blue Jackets.
Carolina’s Riley Nash and Alexander Semin scored 87 seconds apart early in the Hurricanes’ 5-1 thrashing of Florida.
New Jersey defenseman Jon Merrill scored his first NHL goal 2:34 into overtime to secure a 2-1 win over Edmonton.