NHL Hockey

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Chicago 1 1 2 4
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5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:� BRT, October 25, 2018
United Center, Chicago, Illinois  Attendance: 21,280

Rangers begin roadswing at Blackhawks

New York Rangers at Chicago Blackhawks

  1. The Rangers beat the Panthers, 5-2, in New York on Tuesday. New York scored twice on the power play and added a shorthanded goal. The Rangers have now scored seven special-teams goals in their last four games after scoring just one in their first five games of the season.
  2. The Blackhawks defeated the Ducks, 3-1, in Chicago on Tuesday. Chicago has scored three or more goals in eight of nine games this season, tied with Nashville and Toronto for most in the league. They have also allowed three-plus goals in seven of nine games, tied for second most in the league (Det -- 8).
  3. Mika Zibanejad scored two and tallied two assists in the win over the Panthers, tying his career high for points in a game (12/7/14 vs. Van: 2 G and 2 A). Zibanejad has scored in three straight games and he has scored four goals in seven career games against the Blackhawks.
  4. Patrick Kane scored the game-winning goal against the Ducks, his eighth goal and second game-winning goal of the season. Kane's eight goals in the first nine games of the season are the most of his career and the most by a Blackhawk since Joe Murphy also had eight through nine team games in 1994-95.
  5. Corey Crawford has allowed just one goal in each of his last two games, making 61 saves. His 1.69 GAA is second in the league among goalies with three or more starts (Varlamov, Col -- 1.56). Tonight will be his 400th career start between the pipes for the Blackhawks.
  6. The Rangers have won four of the last five matchups with the Blackhawks in Chicago. The Blackhawks' one win in that stretch came last fall when they scored five goals in the third period of a 6-3 victory, including an Artem Anisimov third-period hat trick.

CHICAGO -- If the New York Rangers were attempting to find a way to build some confidence as they embark on a nine-day, four-game swing, Mika Zibanejad provided a performance the Rangers hope they can build on.

The Rangers open their trip west on Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks fresh off a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers that was sparked by Zibanejad, who tallied two goals and two assists in the victory on Monday night.

New York was efficient offensively in the victory, netting four goals in just 19 shots as the Rangers continued to play well at home, where they have won three of their past five games. Now, as they prepare for Wednesday's game in Chicago and three more games in California before they return back to Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4, the Rangers will look to do what they can to replicate Tuesday's victory on the road.

New York is 0-2-1 in road games this season. Rangers coach David Quinn is hoping that the performance his team got from Zibanejad against the Panthers can help provide some magic in the upcoming road trip.

"I can't tell you how happy I am for him that he's getting rewarded statistically, because I know early on he was playing really good hockey and not getting rewarded," Quinn told reporters following Tuesday's victory. "I'll tell you, he's a complete player. I knew he was a good player before I got this job, I didn't know he was this good. This is a guy that does a little bit of everything -- he's got skill, he's tough, he can skate. And he's an unbelievable guy, too. He's a fun guy to be around and we're lucky to have him."

Tuesday's win followed up a Rangers loss over the weekend in which New York could only manage one goal against the Calgary Flames on 45 shots. But after showcasing a much different result Tuesday against the Panthers, the Rangers hope to follow a similar game plan Thursday against Chicago.

"I think we were shooting pucks," Zibanejad told reporters. "We were moving it quickly. We took advantage of the way they played. We got shots on goal and pucks to the net and it's not much more difficult than that."

Like the Rangers, the Blackhawks enter Thursday coming off a much-needed bounce-back performance. Brandon Saad scored a pair of goals in a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday that came just two days after a forgettable 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday in which Chicago allowed 55 shots on goal, including a record-setting 33 in the second period alone.

Corey Crawford, who made his third start of the season on Tuesday, finished the game with 24 saves.

As important as it was for the Blackhawks to get back on track in the midst of a three-game homestand, Saad's performance may have been equally vital. Saad had been relegated to the fourth line and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville repeatedly told reporters he needed to see more from Saad.

Saad responded on Tuesday and now hopes to use the two-goal game as a reminder that he can be an effective part of Chicago's scoring attack when needed.

"I thought (Saad) had the puck way more, I thought he took it to the net more and I think his speed was noticeable," Quenneville told reporters Tuesday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Updated October 24, 2018

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