Rangers ascend to first in NHL by crushing Anaheim

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The Anaheim Ducks initially managed to match the Rangers blow-for-blow tonight, but the contest ended up being a decidedly one-sided 7-2 victory in favor of New York.

New York got help from a lot of different players, but forward Derek Stepan stood out. He ended his 12-game scoring drought with two goals and an assist. Keith Yandle recorded three assists, making this his first multi-point game as a member of the Rangers. However, it was Carl Hagelin who ended up being credited with the game-winning goal.

That marker also drove Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen from the contest after allowing three goals on seven shots. John Gibson replaced him, but saved just 18 of 22 shots.

After winning seven of their last eight games, the Rangers now sit atop the NHL’s standings with a 46-18-7 record. Anaheim matches New York in points, but has also played in three more contests.

The next step for the Rangers is to take on the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday in a 2014 Stanley Cup rematch (7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Although the Kings won the championship, they haven’t been nearly as successful as the Rangers in the 2014-15 campaign. The Rangers have an opportunity to significantly diminish Los Angeles’ chances of making the playoffs at all by winning that game.

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