Rangers' Chris Kreider (20) shoots to score as he is...

Rangers' Chris Kreider (20) shoots to score as he is defended by Los Angeles Kings' Mikey Anderson (44) during the third period Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, in Los Angeles. Credit: AP/Jae C. Hong

LOS ANGELES — When the Rangers embarked on this four-game trip to the West Coast, they were searching for some consistency in their game after a less-than-stellar start to the season.

Three games into the trip, they just may be figuring some stuff out. They won their second straight Tuesday night, beating the L.A. Kings, 5-3, at Crypto.com Arena, when Chris Kreider scored at 7:06 of the third period to give them a 4-3 lead, then added an empty-net goal for the final score. Igor Shesterkin made 35 saves for the Rangers in net.

Kreider’s first goal restored a Rangers lead less than a minute after L.A.’s Sean Walker tied the score at 3-3.

The win  lifted their record to 2-0-1 on the trip, which concludes Wednesday with a visit to the last-in-the-league Anaheim Ducks.

"It's definitely satisfying," coach Gerard Gallant said. "Being down 2-nothing is a little scary, 10 minutes into the hockey game, and especially on the road. But I thought we battled back in that second half of the first period and that was key for our group."

Kaapo Kakko’s first goal in seven games provided the Rangers (10-6-4) with a 3-2 lead entering the third period, but about five minutes into the third, Kakko failed to score an insurance goal despite a couple of golden opportunities on a dominant shift by the Rangers’ Kid Line. Immediately after that shift ended, the Kings tied it on Walker's goal at 6:12.

But the Rangers weren’t deflated. Less than a minute later, Mika Zibanejad bet on Kreider’s speed and fired a hard dump-in off the end boards, and Kreider won the race to the puck and banged it in past L.A. goaltender Cal Peterson for his eighth goal of the season.

Following the 8-2 explosion against Detroit on Nov. 10, the Rangers scored just nine goals over their next five games, before Tuesday. Taking it back further, in the 10 games before the Nov. 10 game, they had scored 22 goals.

Asked what they could do to score some more goals, Artemi Panarin said: “Go to the net. Take more shots.’’

That’s what Panarin did against the Kings. After going three straight games without a single shot on goal, he had a team-high three over the first two periods. And though he himself didn’t score, the Rangers, who had given up a goal 35 seconds into the game and fell behind 2-0 in the first period, scored three goals in the second to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.

The Kings drew first blood when their leading scorer, Kevin Fiala, kicked a rebound in the slot past Jacob Trouba and slipped it in between Shesterkin’s legs for his seventh goal of the season to give the Kings the early lead. Gabriel Vilardi’s power play goal at 6:01 of the period made it 2-0 and if not for some great saves by Shesterkin, it could have been worse for the Rangers, who were outshot 13-6 and thoroughly outplayed in the opening period.

But the visitors were a different team in the second. They had more energy, took more shots, and when Braden Schneider’s right point wrist shot snuck its way through traffic to get by Peterson (20 saves) at 2:22, the Rangers had life. It was Schneider's first goal of the season.

The Rangers kept pushing and pushing and eventually tied the game at 12:01 on something of a fluke, when Vincent Trocheck went on an end-to-end rush, cut in from the right wing and drove to the net and his shot deflected off the stick blade of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, popped up in the air, fluttered over Peterson and dropped into the net.

"Obviously Troch's goal is pretty opportunistic, good bounce." Trouba said. "I think we're due to get a good bounce or two, and kind of get us back in games, get us feeling good. So … you get back, and you get feeling better and you're rolling. Things kind of happen for you. It's nice."

And the Rangers weren’t done yet. Playing with an extra skater with a delayed penalty in effect against the Kings, Kakko powered the Rangers into the lead at 18:44 of the period. Standing in front of the net, he was hit by a shot from Filip Chytil, and the puck dropped to his feet. Quickly, he was able to get his stick on it and sweep it in behind Peterson for his fourth goal of the season.

Kreider said of Gallant's message during the first intermission: "We played better toward the end [of the first period], so just let's build on that and go from there. Obviously, not the start we wanted, but toward the end [of the first] we were doing some things that were allowing us to play [at] their end and generate some chances. So we had an idea of what was going to work. So do more of that." 

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