NEW YORK — Andrew Copp scored three goals in the first period, Chris Kreider got his 51st of the season, and the New York Rangers beat the crosstown-rival Islanders 6-3 Thursday night.
Ryan Strome had a goal and an assist, Ryan Reaves also scored, Artemi Panarin had four assists and Adam Fox added three to help the Rangers win their fourth straight and seventh in their last eight. Alexandar Georgiev had 26 saves to improve to 14-9-2.
The Rangers remained tied with Carolina atop the Metropolitan Division with 108 points. Carolina, which holds the tiebreaker with one more regulation win, beat Winnipeg 4-2.
Brock Nelson scored twice, Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, and Semyon Varlamov finished with 17 saves for the Islanders, who are 3-5-1 in their last nine. They lost for just the third time in their last 11 at home (8-2-1).
The Islanders trailed 3-0 after 20 minutes, but Nelson got them on the scoreboard in the opening minute of the second period. Bailey got the rebound of a shot by Zdeno Chara and sent to Nelson trailing the play and he beat Georgiev at 37 seconds.
It ended the Rangers’ shutout streak at 200 minutes, 43 seconds. They were coming off three consecutive shutouts — 4-0 at Philadelphia on April 13, 4-0 vs Detroit last Saturday, and 3-0 vs Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Kreider restored the Rangers’ three-goal lead with 2:45 left in the middle period as he knocked in the rebound of a shot by Fox in front, extending his franchise record with his 26th on the power play.
Strome made it 5-1 with 52.1 seconds left in the period as he got a centering pass from Panarin and beat Varlamov for his career-high 20th.
With the Islanders on a power play early in the third, Nelson got his second of the night to make it a three-goal game again. He got a pass from Mathew Barzal in the middle, took a step to his left as he settled the puck and fired a shot that hit Georgiev and bounced up and in for his team leading 36th at 2:06.
Alexis Lafrenière found Reaves on the right side during a Rangers rush for his fourth of the season with 7:07 left.
Bailey scored from the left side off pass from Noah Dobson for his 12th just 29 seconds later to make it 6-3.
Copp got the Rangers on the scoreboard first with his 200th career point 3:43 into the game as he got a pass from Panarin and fired a one-timer from the right circle past Varlamov.
Copp made it 2-0 at 7:48. After Georgiev made a save on a shot by Strome, the puck came to Panarin on the left side and he sent a pass across to Copp, who lifted it over Varlamov’s pad from a sharp angle between the right circle and the goal line.
Copp completed his second career hat trick with 1:47 left in the first period. He got the puck from Panarin at center-ice, sent a pass to Strome on the right side and went toward the net and tapped Strome’s return pass past Varlamov from the left side for his 21st of the season. It gave him eight goals and 18 points in 15 games since being acquired from Winnipeg.
Panarin now has 74 assists this season, a record for a Rangers forward — topping the 72 Wayne Gretzky had in 1996-97. The only players in franchise history to have more were defensemen Brian Leetch (80 in ‘91-92) and Sergei Zubov (77 in ‘93-94).
Kreider now has the third-most goals in a season in franchise history, breaking a tie with Vic Hadfield (50 in ‘71-72). Jaromir Jagr holds the team record with 54 in 2005-06 and Adam Graves is second with 52 in ‘93-94.
The Islanders were without forward Anthony Beauvillier, who is day to day with an upper body injury. They were also missing forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau, associate coach Lane Lambert and assistant coach Jim Hiller in COVID-19 protocols. Pageau is the 20th Islanders player to be on the list this season.
Rangers forward Filip Chytil played in his 250th career game. … Fox played in his 200th game.
Rangers: At Boston on Saturday before finishing regular season with three at home.
Islanders: At Buffalo on Saturday.