NEW YORK (AP) — Mika Zibanejad briefly left Sunday’s game with an injury and the New York Rangers’ roster issues became even more problematic.
However, Zibanejad returned later and scored a goal to help the Rangers end a four-game skid with a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
The team’s No. 1 center left late in the second period after blocking Drew Doughty’s shot on a power play. He returned for the start of the third period.
Vincent Trocheck had two goals and an assist, Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist, Alexis Lafreniere also scored and Adam Fox had two assists for New York. Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves.
“Him coming back in the third was definitely a relief,” Trocheck said of Zibanejad.
“It’s a big one for us, just the way we’ve been playing the last couple of games, going on a little slide there,” Trocheck said. “We made sure we were able to bring it back.”
Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller was given a match penalty and ejected after spitting at Doughty late in the first period, leaving the Rangers with just five defensemen the remainder of the game.
“The kid feels bad about it,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said of Miller. “He said it was an accident.”
“It’s unfortunate,” Doughty said. “Whether or not he meant to do it, I have no idea. It’s pretty big loogie on my face, so I was pretty (miffed).”
Also, Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren was not in the lineup a day after being injured on a hit by Capitals forward T.J. Oshie in the first period of Saturday’s loss. He is listed as day to day.
Viktor Arvidsson had a power-play goal late in the second period, Matt Roy scored early in the third and Phillip Danault had two assists for Los Angeles.
Jonathan Quick stopped four of seven shots for the Kings before being pulled after Trocheck’s second goal late in the second period. He was replaced by Pheonix Copley, who had 12 saves. The Kings are 1-2-1 so far on their five-game road trip.
“When you play the cream of the crop in this league, you can’t have off nights,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said.
Shesterkin had a bounce-back game a day after he was pulled after allowing five goals on 22 shots in a 6-3 loss at Washington.
“The game they played yesterday set them up for the game they played tonight,” McLellan said.
The Rangers made it 3-0 early in the second period on two goals by Trocheck just 1:35 apart. Trocheck’s shot deflected off Roy’s stick at 2:02 and his wrister at 3:37 beat Quick for his 19th goal of the season.
The Kings made it 3-2 early in the third period on Roy’s ninth goal at 1:27. But Panarin answered for the Rangers just 44 seconds later for his 19th. Zibanejad added his 31st on the power play at 5:26 to put the Rangers in control.
The Kings got on the board on Arvidsson’s 18th goal with 1:48 left in the second as he batted the puck out of the air and past Shesterkin.
The Rangers opened the scoring in the first period as they took advantage of a turnover in the Kings’ zone. Filip Chytil got the loose puck to Lafreniere at the left side of the net. He he sent a pass to Kaapo Kakko, who sent a pass back and Lafreniere’s shot deflected off Quick for his 11th of the season 14 minutes into the game.
“We kept it simple. It was a good team effort from everyone.” Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba said.
The Kings entered Sunday in a tight race for first place in the Pacific Division. The Kings trail division-leading Vegas by two points and lead third-place Edmonton by two points.
NOTES: Lafreniere has points in seven of his past 11 games (five goals, two assists) and 10 of his past 15 games (six goals, five assists). … The Rangers recalled C Ryan Carpenter from Hartford of the AHL and sent F Jake Leschyshyn to the Wolf Pack.
Rangers: At Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
New York Rangers’ Vincent Trocheck shoots a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)