Alexandar Georgiev had a career-high 55 saves on his 23rd birthday to lead the Rangers past the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1, on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.
Mika Zibanejad, Jimmy Vesey and Adam McQuaid scored for the Rangers. Kevin Hayes added an empty-netter, and Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider each had two assists.
Kasperi Kapanen scored for the Maple Leafs, who had won four in a row. Toronto had a season-high 56 shots, including 23 on four unsuccessful power plays. Georgiev is the seventh goalie in Rangers history to make 50 or more saves in a game. Henrik Lundqvist did it last year.
“It was a special birthday,” Georgiev said. “I tried not to concentrate on the birthday wishes. I knew I had an important game in front of me.”
The Rangers, shut out by Carolina on Friday, got off to a fast start against the Leafs. Kreider sent a pass from behind the net to Zuccarello, who was alone in front. Toronto goalie Garret Sparks stopped Zuccarello twice, but the loose puck went to Zibanejad, who scored his 23rd of the season just 28 seconds into the game.
Georgiev was sharp in making several stellar saves on the Maple Leafs’ power play a couple of minutes later.
“Sometimes, you need a performance like this, and he came up big for us, gave us a chance,” Zibanejad said of Georgiev.
Toronto kept up the pressure and tied the score at 10 minutes 35 seconds of the first period. A pass by Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo was intercepted by Kapanen, who skated in on a breakaway and scored his 16th of the season.
Despite being badly outshot, the Rangers took a 2-1 lead less than four minutes later after killing off another penalty. Vesey, taking a cross-ice pass from Kreider, scored on a wrist shot for his 12th goal. McQuaid scored at 11:59 of the third period.
ISLANDERS 2, WILD 1 Devon Toews scored the tiebreaking goal early in the second period, Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots and the Islanders beat Minnesota at Barclays Center.
Anthony Beauvillier also scored for the Islanders, the Metropolitan Division leaders, won for the fourth time in five games and ninth in 12 (9-1-2) to increase their lead to five points over second-place Washington. The Islanders, who beat Colorado, 4-3, in overtime Saturday, improved to 15-2-1 in back-to-back games, including 9-0-0 on the back end.
“You have to have a winning commitment,” Islanders Coach Barry Trotz said. “The whole group has been all-in all year.”
Mikael Granlund scored for the Wild, who lost for the fifth time in six games (1-3-2). Devan Dubnyk, starting for the second straight game after facing just 18 shots in a 4-2 win at the Devils on Saturday, had 32 saves.
Minnesota pressed for the tying goal in the third, outshooting the Islanders by 12-9 in the period after totaling 15 shots over the first 40 minutes. Greiss had four saves in close on one Wild power play in the middle of the period, stopping a tip by Eric Staal, a shot by Jason Zucker and two more tries by Staal.
DEVILS 3, HURRICANES 2 Marcus Johansson scored twice and a battered Keith Kinkaid made 32 saves to lead the Devils past Carolina at Prudential Center.
Nico Hischier set up all three goals to help the Devils snap the Hurricanes’ three-game winning streak and hand them their fifth loss (13-5-1) in 19 games. Pavel Zacha also scored for the Devils.
“It’s never going to be easy but definitely a huge game for me,” said Kinkaid, who had lost six of his last seven decisions.
Dougie Hamilton and Teuvo Teravainen scored for Carolina. The Hurricanes, who have missed the playoffs the last nine seasons, would have moved into the second wild-card spot ahead of idle Pittsburgh with a win.
This was a tough game for Kinkaid in more ways than stopping shots. In the second period, he took a stick in the face from Jordan Martinook and was later bowled over by Justin Williams. Kinkaid was knocked over again in the third when Nino Niederreiter interfered with Damon Severson, negating a tying goal.
DUCKS FIRE COACH The Anaheim Ducks fired Coach Randy Carlyle amid a seven-game losing streak and free-fall into last place in the Western Conference.
The Ducks announced that General Manager Bob Murray would be the coach for the remainder of the season.
“Difficult decisions need to be made when times are tough, and our play has clearly been unacceptable,” Murray said in a statement.
Carlyle, 62, the winningest coach in Ducks history, was in his second stint with Anaheim. He led the team to the Stanley Cup in 2007 and three appearances in the conference finals (2006, 2007, 2017).
Anaheim has made the playoffs six straight seasons but won just two of its last 21 games. The Ducks were second in the Pacific Division on Dec. 18 after winning 11 of 13, but they have gone 2-15-4 since, including a 12-game skid last month.
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