Jimmy Vesey scored two goals and Igor Shesterkin made 22 saves as the New York Rangers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Thursday night for their fifth straight win.
Vesey tied the game with 4:27 left in the second quarter. He made an alley-oop with 1:13 left in his fifth of the season.
The Rangers improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight games after a few weeks of inconsistency. After winning just four of their first 14 home games, they are on a three-game winning streak at Madison Square Garden.
“We’re elated,” Vesey said. “We went into every game feeling like it was going to be a win.”
Filip Chytil also scored for New York and Vincent Trocheck had two assists.
Toronto lost its first regular-season game since Nov. 11. In their previous 15 games, they are 12-0-3. The Maple Leafs have also scored one point in nine straight road games, including seven victories.
Toronto failed to score on three power play opportunities.
“Sometimes things don’t go your way,” said Leafs forward Mitch Marner, whose scoring streak was terminated at 23 games. “I think the one thing we can definitely focus on is our power play. That’s terrible, really horrible. Not creating a lot for our team.”
Vesey, who got a job with the Rangers after training camp, slid down the right wing and then shot a high wrist shot past Toronto goalie Matt Murray in the second quarter.
Vesey, 29, played three seasons for the Rangers after four years at Harvard before skating for four other teams, including Buffalo, Toronto and Vancouver. He played in 68 games for the New Jersey Devils last season.
“I came full circle and at the end of the day, this is where I always wanted to play,” Vesey said of returning to the Rangers.
Michael Bunting had Toronto’s only goal. Murray had 18 stops.
Shestkin has improved to 5-0-1 in his past six starts and 15-4-4 overall on the season. He blocked Marner at 14:29 of the third quarter, ultimately stopping Marner’s scoring streak.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment to put your name on some great legend,” said Marner, who is just the 12th player in NHL history to score at least 23 consecutive games. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the people in this room, so a lot of love goes out to them.”
Chytil opened the scoring for New York, scoring his seventh goal at 3:52. He fired a lob shot past Murray.
Bunting responded with his seventh at 14:06, grabbing Shestkin’s rebound. Bunting extended his winning streak to 10 games.
The brisk pace continued in the second quarter, with both goalkeepers making excellent saves.
Murray blocked Artemi Panarin’s shot from a high post on seven minutes. Shestkin blocked an Auston Matthews shot from close range midway through the period.
Toronto got a flurry of chances on a personal advantage late in the second quarter but couldn’t deal with Shesterkin.
“We’re just not doing enough,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “I think we’re pretty good defensively.”
Shestkin also stopped Toronto’s Zach Aston Reece five minutes into the third period, sparking a “Igor! Igor!” from the Garden crowd, before choking Toronto at 12:16 of the third period. Captain John Tavares’ shot from close range.
“We sloped the ice pretty well for most of the game,” Tavares said. “We just had to find a way to get the ball into the net a little more and be a little more challenging. “
Toronto has three home wins — a 7-0 win over Anaheim on Tuesday after wins over Calgary and Los Angeles.
With one win in six games, the Rangers begin their current streak against St. Louis on Dec. 5, then beat Vegas and Colorado on the road before beating the New Jersey Devils in overtime on Monday. team.
“Our team effort,” Rangers coach Gerald Grant said. “The whole team played well. Team effort from start to finish. Everyone bought it.”