Blackhawks win defensive struggle at Rangers
NEW YORK (AP) — Chicago’s Brad Richards broke a scoreless deadlock in the third period to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 win at New York on Wednesday, cooling off the Rangers’ hot streak of form.
In the day’s other games, Anaheim won in overtime against local rival Los Angeles and Columbus won a shootout at Edmonton in a meeting of also-rans.
The Rangers had won their previous five games to take a share of the Eastern Conference lead, but could not go clear in the standings as they could not find a way past Chicago’s backup goaltender Scott Darling.
Darling, who played for just the third time since Dec. 13, made 25 saves to improve to 7-3 and earn his first NHL shutout in 10 career games.
Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle came close to beating Darling as he rang a shot off the crossbar, but soon after, Richards got the puck in front of the New York net, waited patiently and snapped a shot past the goalie for the winner.
Richards, a member of the Rangers last season, has five career goals against New York.
The Blackhawks stretched their winning streak to four and moved within three points of Central Division leader St. Louis.
Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler scored 45 seconds into overtime to complete the Ducks’ rally from a third-period deficit and beat Los Angeles 3-2 in the final meeting between the rivals in this regular season.
Patrick Maroon and Jakob Silfverberg scored third-period goals for the Ducks, who took sole possession of the overall NHL lead after rallying for its NHL-best 12th comeback victory when trailing after two periods this season.
Justin Williams scored the tying goal with 4:18 left for the Kings, who moved into a share of seventh in the Western Confernce. The defending Stanley Cup champions have earned points in seven of their past eight games.
Columbus’ Alexander Wennberg scored the shootout winner to give the Blue Jackets a 4-3 win at Edmonton.