COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Chris Kreider scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, Alexandar Georgiev had 36 saves and the New York Rangers topped the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 on Friday night.
Kreider scored on a wrist shot from the slot with 3:12 left in the game, just 2 seconds after a Rangers’ power play ended and Columbus’ Jakob Lilja was rushing out of the box. Ryan Strome added an empty-netter with 1:11 left.
Pavel Buchnevich also scored for the Rangers, who have won four straight and are 7-2 in their last nine. They swept a back-to-back, beating Minnesota in a shootout on Thursday night. Friday’s win put them within seven points of wild-card teams Columbus and Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.
Oliver Bjorkstrand got his team-leading 19th goal and Elvis Merzlikins had 25 saves for injury ravaged Columbus, which is winless in its last four games (0-2-2) on the heels of a 10-game points streak.
New York scored off a face-off just 22 seconds into the game when Buchnevich redirected a Jacob Trouba shot from the point high past Merzlikin’s glove.
After a sustained attack in the second period in which Columbus outshot New York 22-7, the Blue Jackets were rewarded with some luck. Bjorkstrand tied the game when he took a blind, backhanded swipe at a loose puck and beat Georgiev late in the second.
Columbus’ Boone Jenner hit the post on a short-handed breakaway with 4:44 left before Kreider scored the winner.