LOS ANGELES (AP) — Derek Stepan scored late in the second period, Antii Raanta made 30 saves for his eighth career shutout and the New York Rangers defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 on Saturday night.
Ryan McDonagh added a power-play goal and Rick Nash scored an empty-netter for the Rangers, who have won eight of their last 10 road games.
Jonathan Quick made 17 saves for the Kings, who dropped nine points behind St. Louis for the second wild card in the Western Conference with eight games to play.
Raanta was sharp in his last start before Henrik Lundqvist is set to return from a hip injury, denying Tyler Toffoli and Jonny Brodzinski on breakaways and stuffing Drew Doughty late in the third. Raanta earned his fourth shutout of the season, two more than Lundqvist has in 2016-17.
McDonagh scored four seconds into a double minor against Andy Andreoff for high-sticking, putting a long shot through Quick’s legs.
Stepan used some alert positioning to put the Rangers ahead with 6:58 left in the second. Standing at the foot of the crease, Stepan was skating toward the right spot to corral Brendan Smith’s shot after it bounced off the boards and put it in the top netting.
It was Stepan’s 14th goal, with Smith notching his first point since being acquired in a trade from Detroit.
While the Rangers are in playoff limbo at the moment, unlikely to secure a top-three spot in the Metropolitan Division but in no serious danger of losing the first wild card in the Eastern Conference, they matched the intensity of the desperate Kings in a taut rematch of the 2014 Stanley Cup final.
Los Angeles controlled the start of the game, with Jeff Carter snatching a takeaway and taking a wrist shot that was snapped up by Raanta’s glove in the first 17 seconds. New York didn’t get a shot on goal in the opening seven minutes but did create the two most dangerous scoring chances in the first.
Kevin Hayes elected to shoot during a 2-on-1 break and Quick was able to tuck the puck in his left armpit for the stop, while Michael Grabner’s breakaway ended with the winger putting his shot over the goalie and net.
Another breakaway by Grabner in the second ended with his shot being stonewalled by Quick, who failed to earn the Kings a point for just the second time in seven home starts since returning from a groin injury.
NOTES: Mats Zuccarello had two assists, giving him eight points in his last seven games. . Brodzinski made his NHL debut, playing 11:07 and taking three shots. . The Kings are 3-4-2 in their last nine games against teams currently in playoff position, including just one win in regulation. . Chris Kreider committed three of the Rangers’ four penalties, all in an 8:10 span of the third.
Rangers: Visit the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
Kings: Visit the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.
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