Trochek, Halak lead Rangers to 4-1 win over Golden Knights
New York — Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist, Jaroslav Halak stopped 33 shots and the New York Rangers beat the struggling Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 on Friday night.
Chris Kreider, Filip Chytil and Jimmy Vesey also scored for the Rangers, who are 8-2-3 in their last 13 games heading into their bye week and All-Star break. Braden Schneider had two assists and Halak won his fifth straight start.
“A great effort, we had a slow start,” the Rangers' Barclay Goodrow said. “Jaro stood on his head for the whole game, especially the first period, kept us in it. Our game then got better as the game went along. It’s huge getting two points going into the break.”
Halak had 16 saves in the first period, eight in the second and nine in the third to get his first home win since signing with the Rangers in the offseason.
“Guys did a good job off the net and didn’t give them that much,” Halak said after improving to 6-6-1 overall. “I’m glad I got the start, and I got the first win at home and now we can enjoy the break. ... After the break, we have to come back and work even harder."
Phil Kessel had a goal for Vegas and Adin Hill finished with 36 saves. The Golden Knights lost for the seventh time in nine games (2-6-1) while totaling 19 goals in that stretch — 10 coming in the two wins.
“We've got to find a way to produce,” Vegas forward Jonathan Marchessault said. “I think we've got to play a little more inside. Sometimes (those) goals are not always the prettiest, but they still count. ... I think we need a little bit more of a mentality of just to grind. Winning hurts sometimes and we've got to find a way.”
Chytil pushed the Rangers' lead to 3-1 on a fortuitous deflection with 5:40 left in the third period as he lost the puck, stayed with it and on a second effort he knocked it across front of the net and in off Alex Pietrangelo's skate. It was his 16th of the season and fourth during a three-game scoring streak.
Vesey sealed the win with an empty-netter with 1:24 left.
Trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes, Vegas got on the scoreboard at 4:57 of the second as Kessel sent a sharp-angle shot as he skated behind the goal line off Halak and in. It was his ninth of the season and 408th of his career.
Halak made a sprawling save on Keegan Kolesar from the right side with 7:50 left in the middle period to preserve the Rangers’ lead.
"I saw him coming through the middle when I looked," Halak said. “Lucky for me, I raised my hand and glove, and I was able to make the save.”
Kreider gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with 3:52 left in the first as he deflected a backhand pass from Trocheck off his knee and the puck trickled past Hill. It was Kreider's 20th, reaching that mark for the eighth time in his career.
Trocheck made it 2-0 with 43 seconds left in the opening period as fired a shot from the right faceoff circle off a pass from behind the net by Goodrow. It was his 14th.
Kreider played in his 700th game. ... Marchessault and William Karlsson played in their 400th games with Vegas, the most of any player in franchise history.
The Rangers went 0 for 2 on the power play to fall to 2 for 24 over their last nine games. ... Vegas was 0 for 2 to fall to 1 for 14 over the last seven games.
Theodore returned after missing 20 games with a leg injury. ... LW William Carrier also rejoined the Golden Knights after missing five games with an upper body injury.
Golden Knights: At the New York Islanders on Saturday night to finish a four-game trip before the All-Star break.
Rangers: Host Calgary on Feb. 6 in the second of a stretch of four straight at home.