The Buzzer: Huge offensive night for Sabres, Rangers, big wins in Central

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Three Stars for Thursday

1. Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers

The Rangers are fighting for their playoff lives. Performances like Thursday’s help. In New York’s 4-0 win over the Devils, Panarin nabbed two goals and an assist as the Rangers offensive leader. Colin Blackwell also had three assists.

Panarin now has 46 points this season and has scored in consecutive games against the Devils. His shooting percentage is an absurd 15.1 percent on the season.

2. Anders Bjork, Buffalo Sabres

The Anders Bjork era in Buffalo has gotten off to a torrid start. Part of the trade that sent Taylor Hall to Boston, Bjork got an assist against his old squad in Boston on Tuesday night, but broke out in the second game of his Sabres career.

In an offensive outburst against the Capitals, Buffalo scored five goals, and Bjork was involved with two. He had an assist early then scored his first goal with the Sabres later on.

3. Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets

Connor had two goals and an assist in a key Jets win over Toronto. Winnipeg climbed to just three points behind the Maple Leafs for first place in the North Division with the 5-2 victory.

Winnipeg’s offense has been on a tear in the last month as it is, and they had plenty of contributions on Thursday, including two assists from Nikolaij Ehlers. Connor, though, is having one of his best seasons with 43 points so far, including the three against Toronto. He has 13 points since March 26.

Stats of the night

* Anthony Mantha‘s goal on Thursday was the eighth time ever a Capitals player has scored in each of their first two games with the team.

* Andrei Svechnikov scored 14 seconds into the second period, which was the quickest goal by a Hurricanes player to open a period so far this season.

* Brad Marchand scored the first goal for the Bruins on Thursday, which was his 20th goal of the season. He became the fourth Bruins player ever to have at least 10 seasons with 20 goals or more.

* Niklas Backstrom played his 1,000th career game for the Capitals on Thursday night.

Highlights from Thursday

Jakub Vrana scored his first goal with the Red Wings after being traded there at Monday’s trade deadline.

A goalie assist? A goalie assist. Andrei Vasilevskiy earned his third point of the season on this Alex Killorn goal.

Taylor Hall scored his first goal with the Bruins, which also happens to be half of his goal total from his Sabres career.

Thursday’s scores

Bruins 4, Islanders 2
Lightning 3, Panthers 2 (OT)
Rangers 4, Devils 0
Sabres 5, Capitals 2
Hurricanes 4, Predators 1
Flyers 2, Penguins 1 (SO)
Jets 5, Maple Leafs 2
Red Wings 4, Blackhawks 1
Stars 4, Blue Jackets 1

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

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