Rangers 4, Penguins 3
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 41 shots while filling in for late scratch Henrik Lundqvist to help New York to a victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
Boo Nieves, Jesper Fast, Mats Zuccarello and Pavel Buchnevich scored in support of Pavelec, who drew the spot start because Lundqvist had the flu. Buchnevich provided the game-winner when his centering pass deflected off Pittsburgh's Kris Letang and by Tristan Jarry 11:12 into the third period.
Phil Kessel picked up his team-high 13th goal for the Penguins. Conor Sheary added his ninth and Patric Hornqvist his 11th for Pittsburgh, which saw its season-high four-game winning streak snapped. Jarry finished with 25 saves but could only watch the puck smack off Letang's stick and flutter by to give the Rangers the lead for good.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was held scoreless as his streak of five straight multipoint games ended.
Two of the marquee franchises in the competitive Metropolitan Division are starting to find their footing after bumpy starts. New York and Pittsburgh both came in 4-1 over their last five games thanks to resurgent play by their stars.
For a night, however, the Rangers had to find a way to make do without Lundqvist, who has emerged from an early season funk to lift the Rangers back into contention but was a surprise scratch a few hours before the opening faceoff. Enter Pavelec, just 2-13-1 with a 4.20 goals against average in his career against Pittsburgh.
New York controlled play but Sheary gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead when he took a pass from Patric Hornqvist and pounded it by Pavelec 15:13 into the first for his ninth goal of the season. The Rangers tied it just over 90 seconds later when Nieves beat Jarry with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle for the first goal of his career.
Pittsburgh regrouped from a sleepy first period to dominate the second, pumping 23 shots at Pavelec. New York, however, counterpunched expertly. Kessel's wrist shot from the slot 7:11 put the Penguins back in front but a rebound at the end of an odd-man rush by Fast and a knuckling shot off Zuccarello's stick handcuff gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead after two.
Hornqvist took a perfect stretch pass from Evgeni Malkin and beat Pavelec on a breakaway 3:35 into the third. The Penguins had several chances to go ahead but were held in check by Pavelec and a bit of bad luck. Pittsburgh hit at least four posts and the Rangers took advantage of the reprieve.
Devils 4, Blue Jackets 1
Stefan Noesen, Taylor Hall and Jesper Bratt each had a goal and an assist, and Cory Schneider stopped 41 shots to lift New Jersey over Columbus.
Travis Zajac also scored and rookie Nico Hischier had two assists for the Devils, one of several teams tussling with Columbus for first place in the rugged Metropolitan Division with a third of the season in the books. Schneider was outstanding in earning his 100th win with New Jersey during his fifth season with the franchise.
Nick Foligno scored and Sergei Bobrovsky had 32 saves for the Blue Jackets, who lost their second straight and continued to squander opportunities with the man advantage. They continue to have the NHL's worst power play, failing to find the back of the net on a half dozen opportunities Tuesday.
The Devils (16-7-4) struck first when Zajac picked up a loose puck in front of the Blue Jackets net and poked it past Bobrovsky 4:24 into the first period.
Foligno tied it later in the first period, just seconds after a Blue Jackets power play expired. He had his back to the net but deflected a shot from Oliver Bjorkstrand to beat Schneider. The Devils goalie held Columbus at bay from there.
At 4:47 of the second, Hischier slipped around Columbus defenseman Seth Jones and slid a pass to a charging Hall, who chipped it in from the bottom of the left circle to put the Devils up 2-1.
New Jersey got a third goal with less than a minute left in the second period when Bobrovsky lost track of a deflected shot that Noesen tipped in. Bratt capped the scoring in the third period.
Lightning 6, Islanders 2
Yanni Gourde scored two of Tampa Bay's three goals late in the second period and the Lightning beat New York.
After the Islanders dominated the first 16 minutes of the second, Gourde had a power-play rebound goal at 16:22 and then gave Tampa Bay a 4-2 lead 1:34 later on another rebound effort. The Lightning's top-ranked power play extended the advantage to three when Vladislav Namestnikov scored 50 seconds after Gourde's second of the game.
Tampa Bay also got goals from Brayden Point, Andrej Sustr and Chris Kunitz, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves. The Atlantic Division leaders are 11-2-1 at home.
Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle scored for the Islanders, who had won eight of 10. Thomas Griess stopped 28 shots.
Point opened the scoring 34 seconds into the game from low in the left circle and Sustr made it 2-0 from the blue line late in the first.
Both of Sustr's goals this season have come in the past three games, and the defenseman has 10 in 288 career NHL games.
The Islanders went 11 minutes without a shot to start the first and were outshot 11-2 overall in the period.
There was a total switch starting the second as the Islanders got the period's first nine shots, including Barzal's backhand power-play goal at 7:07. Eberle tied it 2-all just 1:51 later.
Red Wings 5, Jets 1
Justin Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist scored in a dominant first period for Detroit, and the Red Wings snapped a seven-game slide with a victory over Winnipeg.
Fresh off a 10-1 loss at Montreal on Saturday, the Red Wings outshot Winnipeg 16-3 in the opening period and took a 2-0 lead. They put the game away with three more goals in the third.
Winnipeg, which entered tied for the NHL lead in points, managed only a second-period goal by Patrik Laine on a two-man advantage. The Red Wings answered in the third with goals by Jonathan Ericsson, Darren Helm and David Booth.
Abdelkader opened the scoring, and Detroit had a two-man advantage for 1:55 later in the first. The Jets killed off both penalties, but seconds after the second one expired, Nyquist lifted a rebound past goalie Connor Hellebuyck to make it 2-0.
Laine's slap shot from the left circle beat goalie Jimmy Howard for his 14th of the season, and Detroit failed to take advantage of another two-man advantage later in the second.
With 15:05 left in the third, Ericsson took a shot that went into the net, with Hellebuyck ending up underneath both Nyquist and Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey. After a long review, officials said Morrissey created the contact and there was no goalie interference.
Not long after that, Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler carelessly knocked the puck to the middle of the ice in the neutral zone, hitting Helm in stride. The Detroit forward skated in on a breakaway and scored to make it 4-1.
Booth's goal came on a 3-on-1 break and capped a forgettable night for the Jets, who were coming off a 5-0 win over Ottawa on Sunday in which they had 49 shots.
Forbes: Rangers again NHL's most valuable team
The New York Rangers are worth an NHL-high $1.5 billion as team values continue to rise, according to the latest estimate by Forbes.
In its annual list of franchise valuations, Forbes says the average NHL team is now worth $594 million, up 15 percent from a year ago. It comes on the heels of Bill Foley's group paying $500 million for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who come in 14th among 31 teams.
The Rangers lead the NHL for the third consecutive year. After the Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs are second at $1.4 billion, the Montreal Canadiens third at $1.25 billion and the Chicago Blackhawks fourth at $1 billion.
The back-to-back Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh Penguins come in 10th at $650 million. The Arizona Coyotes are last at $300 million.
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