Rangers left wing Chris Kreider looks on against the Arizona...

Rangers left wing Chris Kreider looks on against the Arizona Coyotes in the third period of an NHL game at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Rangers left wing Chris Kreider was named the NHL’s first star of the week on Monday after recording a hat trick Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes and compiling five goals and two assists in three games.

Kreider scored his 30th goal of the season Monday night in the Rangers’ 3-2 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings. He leads the NHL, one ahead of Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.

"We joke around about him being hot, but he’s been hot for [43] games,’’ linemate Mika Zibanejad said at Monday’s morning skate.

Kreider took the Rangers’ first shot in the shootout and got Kings goalie Jonathan Quick to go down, but he lifted the puck over the crossbar.

The first two shooters for both the Kings and the Rangers missed in the shootout before Anze Kopitar scored against Igor Shesterkin to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead. Artemi Panarin scored to tie it and extend the shootout.

Alex Iafallo and Ryan Strome missed before Quinton Byfield scored in the fifth round to put the Kings up 2-1. Alexis Lafreniere scored to extend the shooout again.

Shesterkin saved Arthur Kaliyev’s shot and Adam Fox scored the game-winner.

Kakko on IR

RW Kaapo Kakko, who was a last-minute scratch from Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury, has been placed on injured reserve. Coach Gerard Gallant told reporters at the morning skate that Kakko’s status is "week-to-week.’’

Filip Chytil, who suffered a lower-body injury in Saturday’s game, also was unavailable Monday. Gallant categorized Chytil as "day-to-day.’’

With Kakko going on IR, the Rangers activated forward Morgan Barron from the taxi squad. D Jarred Tinordi was assigned to the taxi squad Monday. 

Nemeth scratched

D Patrik Nemeth was a surprise scratch, replaced in the lineup by Libor Hajek.

At the morning skate, Gallant had hinted he might dress a lineup that featured 11 forwards and seven defensemen. When asked why, he suggested there might be a defenseman who is "a little bit banged up.’’

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