Pavel Buchnevich collected a hat trick on his birthday Saturday afternoon for the host New York Rangers, who remained red-hot with a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils.
The hat trick was the first in the NHL for Buchnevich, who turned 26 Saturday. He is the first Rangers player to score a hat trick on his birthday as well as the 14th to do so in NHL history and the second one this month. Viktor Arvidsson did so on his 28th birthday for the Nashville Predators on Apr. 8.
Ryan Strome, Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider also scored Saturday for the Rangers, who have won the first three games of a four-game series against the Devils and have gone 7-1-2 in their last 10 games to move within four points of the idle Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot in the East Division.
Goalie Igor Shesterkin, who recorded shutouts of the Devils in the previous two games, made 30 saves.
The Rangers raced out to a 4-0 lead before Michael McLeod snapped Shesterkin's shutout streak at 152 minutes and 37 seconds -- the longest shutout streak by a Rangers rookie goalie since Lorne Chabot had a trio of longer streaks in 1926-27, the franchise's first season -- by scoring late in the second for the Devils, who have lost five straight and nine of 10 (1-7-2).
P.K. Subban and Yegor Sharangovich scored early in the third to pull the Devils within 4-3. Goalie Aaron Dell recorded 24 saves.
Buchnevich took a feed from Mika Zibanejad to end a 2-on-1 rush at 7:26 of the first. Strome scored on a 5-on-3 power play at 10:27 and Buchnevich scored another man advantage goal 81 seconds later. Panarin extended the lead to 4-0 just 32 seconds into the middle period.
The Devils outshot the Rangers 9-4 in the second before finally breaking through against Shesterkin when McLeod put back a third-chance opportunity at 12:37. Subban fired a slapshot over Shesterkin's right shoulder at the 5:34 mark of the third and Sharangovich pulled New Jersey within one 64 seconds later. Dell was pulled with under two minutes left, when Buchnevich and Kreider scored their empty netters.
--Field Level Media