Devils score three in third period, defeat Rangers in return

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NEW YORK — The New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Rangers 5-2 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday in their first game in 16 days because of a pause to comply with NHL COVID-19 protocols.

Yegor Sharangovich‘s goal at 10:43 of the third period was the difference in the Devils first game since a 5-3 win at the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 31.

They had as many as 19 players on the COVID-19 protocol list during their pause. Seven games were postponed. 

Janne Kuokkanen had three assists and Nicholas Merkley had a goal and an assist for the Devils (5-3-2). 

Mackenzie Blackwood made 37 saves in his first appearance since Jan. 19 because of COVID-19.

Colin Blackwell and Pavel Buchnevich scored, and Igor Shesterkin made 32 saves for the Rangers (4-7-3), who are winless in four straight (0-3-1).

Sharangovich scored on a deflection of P.K. Subban‘s shot to give the Devils a 3-2 lead. 

Merkley made it 4-2 with a one-timer from the right circle at 14:09.

Mikhail Maltsev scored his first NHL goal into an empty net at 19:39 for the 5-2 final.

Pavel Zacha scored the first of a combined four goals in the second period to give the Devils a 1-0 lead at 7:37. He beat Shesterkin on the power play with a glove-side wrist shot from the right circle. 

It was the first power-play goal the Rangers had allowed in seven games, ending a 22-for-22 run on the penalty kill.

Blackwell tied it 1-1 at 11:32, ending the Rangers’ streak without a goal at 100:46 by scoring from the right circle. 

Will Butcher, playing his first game in 364 days (Feb. 18, 2020), gave the Devils a 2-1 lead at 17:14. His shot from the left-wing half-wall went in off Jacob Trouba‘s left leg.

Buchnevich got the Rangers even again, scoring from the left circle to make it 2-2 at 19:27. 

Trouba didn’t play after the second period because of an upper-body injury. 

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