Rangers eye five-game winning streak, face Coyotes

Facing some of the NHL's other top teams of late, the New York Rangers acquitted themselves well and more importantly padded their point total to stay atop the Metropolitan Division.The NHL-best Ra

Rangers eye five-game winning streak, face Coyotes

Facing some of the NHL’s other top teams of late, the New York Rangers acquitted themselves well and more importantly padded their point total to stay atop the Metropolitan Division.

The NHL-best Rangers are surging again after a brief lull a few weeks ago and will attempt to get their fifth straight win Saturday when they visit the Arizona Coyotes in Tempe, Ariz.

The Rangers (49-20-4, 102 points) are on the verge of their sixth 50-win season in team history and second in three seasons. They finished with 47 wins last season after winning 52 games in 2021-22 en route to an appearance in the Eastern Conference finals.

New York’s current streak started with a 5-2 win in Boston on March 21, and then it overcame two-goal deficits and went past regulation to earn home wins over the Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers kept it going by earning a 3-2 shootout victory Thursday over the Colorado Avalanche for their 23rd road win.

Kaapo Kakko scored New York’s first goal and Chris Kreider scored for the second time in his past 10 games by netting a power-play goal. Artemi Panarin recorded his 60th assist — giving him 12 goals and 35 points in his past 20 games — and also scored in the shootout.

“It shows resiliency,” New York coach Peter Laviolette said. “Our guys are playing hard and fighting to the end for it. It’s been like that for the last six to eight games. We’ve been playing top teams and fighting hard for those points.”

The four-game winning streak is part of a 20-4-1 surge since Jan. 27. The Rangers started this surge by tying a team record with 10 straight wins; they lost three of four (1-2-1) Feb. 25-March 4, but since then they are 9-2-0.

A 14-game losing streak (0-12-2) from Jan. 24-Feb. 29 sent the Coyotes tumbling from two points out of the final wild-card spot to 19 points out.

Since the skid, Arizona (31-37-5, 67 points) is playing somewhat better by going a respectable 8-6-0 over its past 14 games and 5-2-0 over its past seven.

The Coyotes are seeking three consecutive wins for the third time this season after scoring a combined 14 goals in home wins over the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators.

Logan Cooley has eight goals in his past 15 games and notched his first career hat trick Thursday when Arizona stopped Nashville’s 18-game points streak with an 8-4 victory. Clayton Keller added a goal and three assists and has nine goals and 15 points in his past 11 contests.

“It’s always fun playing against the best guys in the league and the best teams. It brings out the best in all of us,” Cooley said. “For me personally, I like playing against the really good guys. You get up for those games a little more and I think it was a fun one (against Nashville).”

The Rangers have won five straight meetings against the Coyotes and are 14-1-2 in the past 17 meetings. New York earned a 2-1 win in its home opener on Oct. 16 against Arizona when Vincent Trocheck scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period.