Overcast 25° Good Afternoon
Overcast 25° Good Afternoon

Rangers’ Chris Kreider has shaky game in return

Kevin Hayes of the New York Rangers celebrates

Kevin Hayes of the New York Rangers celebrates his third-period goal against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

After missing two games with a deep cut on the top of his right hand, Chris Kreider had a shaky game Monday night.

With just over four minutes to play in the first period, Kreider, retrieving the puck in the Rangers’ zone, coughed it up to the Bruins’ Ryan Spooner, who deked Henrik Lundqvist to the ice but hit the post. In the second period, Kreider’s fumble at mid-ice led to Jimmy Hayes’ goal.

About two minutes into the second period, Kreider skated down the left side on an odd-man rush and made the decision to shoot, but his stick snapped in half.

Kreider was playing in place of Oscar Lindberg, a healthy scratch who had a goal and an assist in the previous two games. Kreider had two shots on goal, two giveaways and four hits in 11:47.

Hayes vs. Hayes

Jimmy Hayes played against his brother, Rangers center Kevin Hayes, on Monday night for the second time since being traded from Florida to Boston in July. Kevin, 23, was a minus-1, had one shot on goal and lost six of seven faceoffs in 12:02. Jimmy, 26, scored his 10th goal and had three shot attempts.

The natives of Dorchester, Massachusetts — each 6-5 — first skated against each other this season on Nov. 27. Jimmy had an assist in 12 minutes on ice; Kevin was pointless in 13:10.

Kevin Hayes, who was publicly scolded by Alain Vigneault and benched for two games in Florida before playing the first two games on this homestand, has earned the right to stay in the lineup, Vigneault said.

“He’s been going to the tougher areas, made a couple nice plays with the puck; he’s protected it better,” Vigneault said. “I sense a better battle level when he has the puck and doesn’t have it, which is a good thing to see.” Hayes (7-12-19) scored in the third period in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Washington.

Jimmy, who is producing similar numbers (9-11-20) also was a healthy scratch for two games in early December.

“We had dinner with my dad Sunday],” Jimmy Hayes said before the game, in which he played on the third line. “It was a lot of fun to catch up with my little brother, and Dad’s buddies, too.”

Blue notes

It was the first time all season that the Rangers won after trailing entering the third period . . . With his first two saves, Henrik Lundqvist reached 20,000 in regular-season and playoff games. He is second to Roberto Luongo among active goalies . . . Derek Stepan won 11 of 14 faceoffs . . . The Rangers have 251 wins against the Bruins, more than any other opponent in franchise history

. . . Antti Raanta, who missed Sunday’s practice, faced some shots in the morning and backed up Lundqvist on Monday night. He said his back felt “jammed’’ and he couldn’t sleep Saturday, but treatment resolved the issue.

New York Sports