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Rangers dominate Bruins in Artemi Panarin’s first game back

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BOSTON — Chris Kreider scored his team-leading 14th goal, Artemi Panarin had an assist in his first game back since leaving the team, and the Rangers beat the Boston Bruins 4-0 Saturday to halt a three-game losing streak.

Panarin left Feb. 22 after a Russian tabloid printed allegations from a former coach that he attacked a woman in Latvia almost a decade ago, which he denies. His return clearly provided a lift for New York.

Keith Kinkaid stopped 18 shots for his first shutout since 2018. Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich and K’Andre Miller each had a goal for New York, which lost 4-0 in Boston on Thursday. Mika Zibanejad added two assists and Kreider had one.

Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves for the Bruins, who have dropped eight of their last 12 games.

The Rangers called the story about Panarin fabricated and designed to intimidate him for his political views against Russian President Vladimir Putin. His former coach in the Kontinental Hockey League, Andrei Nazarov, said he was motivated to speak about the alleged incident because he disagreed with Panarin’s criticism of the Russian government.

Playing in just his fourth game this season, the 31-year-old Kinkaid was hardly tested as the Rangers got to most of the loose pucks, limited the Bruins’ break-ins and ability to control the puck in the offensive zone.

At the end, a Rangers player could be heard yelling: “That a boy, Keith!”

Artemi Panarin (left) and Ryan Strome
Artemi Panarin (left) and Ryan Strome
Getty Images

Recalled from the taxi squad on March 6 when Igor Shesterkin was injured, Kinkaid played in relief Thursday, stopping all 13 shots. On Saturday, he saw just 11 on goal in the first two periods.

Boston forward Jake DeBrusk, who had a goal Thursday after being benched and called out for his play this season by coach Bruce Cassidy, missed the game because he was in COVID-19 protocol.

Coming off a lackluster effort when they were decidedly outplayed on Thursday, the Rangers were ready from the start, hitting the Bruins early and controlled most of the first two periods.

Miller’s wrister from the right point ricocheted into the net off the far post, making it 1-0 just 3:06 into the game.

Kreider’s goal made it 2-0 in the second period when he one-timed Zibanejad’s pass from the right corner after the puck slid through the slot just past the stick of Jarred Tinordi’s diving attempt to block it.

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