Chris Kreider secures his second hat-trick within a week. The Rangers defeat New Jersey 6-1 for the first time this season.

Rangers came out slugglish in the first period and were fortunate to be only down a goal. Shesterkin stood on his head and saved at least two goals.

Shesterkin made 32 saves but was forced to leave early at 5:52 due to a lower-body injury. Only the NHL gives out broad injury news. Even in the pandemic it does not happen in the other three sports. Anyway, it looks to be something with the leg. PRAYS FOR IGOR!!!!

Rangers should know the status by Friday or latest before Saturday’s game.

New York responded in the second on the powerplay at 8:28. Ryan Strome’s beautiful cross-ice pass set up Kreider. Kreider scored a tip-in later in a period then a snapshot in the 3rd.

“It’s huge,” David Quinn said. “He’s been around a lot of guys with that type of experience and for him to deliver the way he has been, it certainly goes a long way in us having the chance to have success.”

Buchnevich and Lafreniere all each scored and assisted. Brendan Smith scored a goal late.

Lafreniere extended his point streak to four games (two goal, three assists).

“There’s definitely more confidence with the puck, doing the things he’s capable of doing at this level,” David Quinn said. “I’m happy for him.”

Quinn benched Zibanejad for most of first period. He only played 3:59.

“I didn’t love his game, didn’t love what we were seeing,” Quinn said. “I just thought sitting him for a while was going to give him a little jolt and give our team a little jolt. I did like what I saw when he came back out (in the second period).

It sounds like Kakko might be available this weekend. Might Quinn bench Mika for multiple games? Hopefully it will spark him.

Rangers play a matinee rematch with Devils tomorrow.