St. Louis scores 2 as surging Rangers win again
NEW YORK (AP) -- Martin St. Louis scored two goals and added one in the shootout, and the New York Rangers blew a three-goal lead but won for the ninth time in 12 games by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in a shootout on Sunday night.
St. Louis scored in the first and second periods as he appears to have broken out of his slump. After going 15 games without a goal, the veteran forward has four goals and two assists in the past four games.
Kevin Hayes added a goal in the first, Derek Stepan had two assists, and Cam Talbot made 27 saves for the Rangers, 9-1-2 in their past 12. St. Louis scored in the first round of the shootout, and Rick Nash had a third-round goal. Talbot then poked the puck away from Cam Atkinson to seal it.
The Rangers are only two points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders.
Defenseman David Savard forced overtime by scoring the tying goal with 4:19 left in regulation. Marko Dano and Artem Anisimov had second-period goals for Columbus, which went 2-2-1 on a five-game trip. Curtis McElhinney stopped 34 shots through overtime.
Columbus fell behind 3-0 just 1:24 into the second period on St. Louis' second of the game, but needed only 53 seconds more to begin its comeback.
St. Louis slammed in a pass from defenseman Ryan McDonagh at the right post for his 18th goal. The Blue Jackets then got within 3-1 when Dano netted his second of the season and first in four games since returning from the minor leagues.
Columbus made it a one-goal game with 1:49 left in the second as Anisimov jammed the puck inside the right post during a goal-mouth scramble. His fourth of the season was upheld by video review. Anisimov, who scored in each of the first two games this season, has two goals in the past six games.
Talbot, who had started eight straight games in place of injured No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist before getting a rest in New York's 3-1 win at Buffalo on Friday, was tested early. He denied Anisimov, after the former Rangers forward got behind the defense and was alone in front 2:15 in, and then stopped a deflected drive by Alexander Wennberg just under a minute later during a power play.
The Rangers then jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Hayes got it started with help from Carl Hagelin, who made a strong play to keep the puck in at the blue line. Hagelin chipped it to Hayes, who wristed in a rising shot from the high slot at 5:57 for his 11th goal.
St. Louis doubled the lead at 8:06 when he was left alone at the left post. Stepan carried the puck behind the Columbus net and found his linemate unguarded for a stuff shot.
NOTES: Columbus D James Wisniewski was a healthy scratch and was replaced by Jordan Leopold, who played for the first time since Feb. 9. ... Anisimov has played in 12 games since missing 23 because of a torn triceps. ... Rangers D John Moore returned after being scratched vs. Buffalo. He replaced Matt Hunwick. ... New York G Mackenzie Skapski flashed a big smile when he was acknowledged on the video board for his victory in his NHL debut on Friday.
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