Adam Fox #23 of the New York Rangers celebrates his...

Adam Fox #23 of the New York Rangers celebrates his second period goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets with teammate Artemi Panarin #10 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Rangers got a second crack Wednesday at Madison Square Garden against the Blue Jackets, who had snapped their 10-game winning streak Sunday in Columbus in the front end of a home-and-home set. And clearly, the Rangers felt the need to win this one.

Second-period goals by Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox (on the power play), and another strong performance by Igor Shesterkin (30 saves), covered the most important details. Chris Kreider and Panarin added empty-net goals as the Rangers won, 4-1.

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job all year playing a team that we had recently played and not gotten the results we wanted [the first time], and coming back and putting a win in the column [the second time],’’ coach Peter Laviolette said. “So that was good to come back just a couple days later and do that.’’

The victory, the Rangers’ 11th in their last 12 games, was their league-leading 40th of the season (40-17-3). Their 40th win in 60 games tied the 1972-73 Rangers for the fewest games in franchise history required to reach the mark.

The Rangers finished February with a 10-1 record after having gone 5-8-1 in January.

Kreider’s goal was his 30th of the season.

Panarin, who had three points, has 35 goals and 47 assists. With 82 points in 60 games, he is on pace for 112 points, which would be the first 100-point season in his career.

“Honestly, I’m trying not to think about that,’’ Panarin said through an interpreter. “It’s too much pressure.’’

Shesterkin, who had been up and down most of the season, was 4-5-1 in January with a 3.25 goals-against average and a save percentage of .863. In February he went 7-0 with a 1.72 GAA, .953 save percentage and one shutout.

“I hope February will continue in March,’’ he said.

The only goal he allowed Wednesday came on a gaffe he made while trying to play the puck behind the net early in the third period. He sent it directly to Columbus defenseman Damon Severson, who quickly got a shot on goal that Shesterkin scrambled back to save. Cole Sillinger scored on the rebound, however, to pull Columbus within 2-1 at 3:24.

Asked after the game how he is feeling in the net right now, Shesterkin said, “I’m feeling very good in the net and very bad behind the net. I have to work on my stickhandling.’’

With three games to go before the March 8 trade deadline, and Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek watching from the Garden press box, the Rangers peppered Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins with 17 shots on goal in the first period. Merzlikins, though, stopped all of them.

The Rangers finally broke through when Panarin scored his first goal at 7:17 of the second period for a 1-0 lead. Vincent Trocheck won a faceoff in the left circle, pulling it to his left, where Panarin was able to win control of the puck and snap a quick shot through a screen that went through Merzlikins’ pads.

Trocheck then figured heavily in the Rangers’ next goal. Trocheck dumped Columbus winger Johnny Gaudreau with a check at center ice as Matt Rempe (four hits, 7:42 of ice time, no fights) and Adam Edstrom carried the puck into the Columbus zone.

Columbus forward Mathieu Olivier cross-checked Trocheck to the ice in retaliation for the hit as players on both teams crowded around the injured Gaudreau. Both Olivier and Trocheck were sent to the penalty box, but after a video review, the officials decided Trocheck's hit on Gaudreau was clean. Trocheck exited the box and that put the Rangers on a power play.

Fox capitalized by scoring on that man advantage at 14:19 of the second to make it 2-0. Kreider forced a turnover along the boards and set him up for a shot from the slot.

The goal was Fox’s 10th this season, making him the first Rangers defenseman to score 10 or more goals in three straight seasons since Brian Leetch did it in four straight from 2000-04.

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