Rangers crush Lightning, 5-1, behind Artemi Panarin's hat trick


Artemi Panarin scored three goals, Igor Shesterkin made 34 saves on his 28th birthday, and the NHL-leading New York Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Saturday night. Vincent Trocheck had a goal and three assists, and Chris Kreider also scored for New York. Alexis Lafrenière had two assists, and Mika Zibanejad had an assist for a career-high 10-game point streak. The Rangers are the first team to reach 50 points for the first time since winning their last Stanley Cup in 1993-94. New York, which lost 4-3 at Florida on Friday night, is 6-0 in the second of back-to-back games this season. Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 16 shots and NHL points leader Nikita Kucherov scored his 25th goal. The Lightning’s 39 points through 37 games is one behind their total after the same number of games in 2016-17, which was the last time they missed the playoffs. Panarin had two third-period goals, including one on a power play to complete his sixth hat trick. He entered with two goals in 17 previous games against Tampa Bay.