Artemi Panarin and Rangers dominate Blackhawks for seventh straight win

CHICAGO – The Rangers are fighting their way through the NHL.

Limiting their opponent to two goals or less for a sixth straight game, the Rangers clinched a convincing 6-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night at United Center. It was the Rangers’ seventh consecutive victory and the 11th in their last 12 games.

The Rangers may have played a little too loose in the defensive zone at first, but as the game progressed they found ways to block the lanes and eventually blocked 15 shots. Plus, they limited Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to a combined shot on goal.

Artemi Panarin led the Rangers with a four-point effort, scoring two goals and two assists.

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After there were no penalties in the first period, the Blueshirts were called up for four in the only middle frame and another in the third.

While their shorthandedness kept Chicago’s power play off the board and limited it to just five shots overnight, the Rangers weren’t able to generate many extended shorthanded looks. On the other hand, the Rangers took advantage of their two opportunities with the man advantage as their first power play unit continues to perform at a high level.

Artemi Panarin celebrates his goal in the Rangers 6-2 win over the Blackhawks on Tuesday.

Panarin’s equalizer in the second came on the power play, as did Chris Kreider’s decisive goal 4:59 of the third.

With the win, the Rangers deprived Blackhawks goalie Marc André Fleury of securing his 500th NHL victory.

Led 2-1 early in the halfway point, the Rangers secured the game’s first power play after Blackhawks center Henrik Borgstrom was called up for the hook. Seizing the offensive zone and working it with crisp passes, the Rangers – whose power play was 10th in the NHL early in the evening – tied the score on Panarin’s shot from the left circle to 3:19.

The night took a turn when defenseman Jacob Trouba hit Chicago winger Jujhar Khaira, who was head down on the play and was cold knocked out on the ice. Several trainers invaded Khaira and treated him before he had to be transported on a stretcher.

Khaira was alert, as he raised his arm towards the crowd as he stepped out of the ice. The Blackhawks announced that Khaira had been taken by ambulance to Northwestern Hospital for further testing.

Understandably, Trouba then had to drop the gloves with Blackhawks defenseman Riley Stillman, who challenged the Rangers defenseman as compensation for knocking Khaira out of the game.

Trouba opened the scoring just over a minute into the game, attacking a shot from the right circle for Rangers’ first shot of the night. The Blackhawks responded, however, 43 seconds later. What started as a loss to Rangers in the defensive zone ended when Chicago defender Erik Gustafsson sent a long shot from the top of the zone – which Georgiev clearly didn’t see very well – to tie the game off. 1-1.

The Rangers were bitten by yet another game loss in Zone D at 7:09 am, when Kirby Dach scored the Blackhawks’ second goal on their fifth shot of the night.

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