Rangers' Matt Puempel tallies hat trick against Arizona Coyotes (Highlights)
Dec 29, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Rangers left wing Matt Puempel (12) celebrates with defenseman Nick Holden (22) right wing Kevin Hayes (13) and left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) after scoring a power play goal in the first period against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers newbie Matt Puempel tallies a hat trick in the desert as the Blueshirts best the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Thursday night.

  • New York Rangers 6 (25-12-1, 51 pts)
  • Arizona Coyotes 3 (11-20-5, 27 pts)
  • NHL, Final, Box Score
  • Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona
Those brutal yet pesky Arizona Coyotes just wouldn’t go away all night long. Despite twice sporting two-goal leads in the game, the New York Rangers found themselves tied up with one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League down the stretch on Thursday night.

But then Matt Puempel happened, again.

On the power play, with the game tied at three, Puempel tipped in one that beat Mike Smith that represented the game-winning goal.

What was a close game late eventually turned into a lopsided 6-3 game. Puempel added another, his third of the night, with just 17 seconds to go in regulation. His hat trick led the way for a club who couldn’t shake the Coyotes. All three goals came on the power play.

Antti Raanta, starting in place of Henrik Lundqvist, who’s still out with the flu, stopped 19-of-22 shots. He was much better than 19 saves, though. He looked sharp all night and the goals that beat him were tough ones.

Nick Holden added his seventh goal of the season in the first period, putting New York up 2-0. Chris Kreider struck early in the second to yet again put the Rangers up two goals. J.T. Miller added an empty-net prior to Puempel’s last tally.

For Arizona, Christian Dvorak, Tobias Rieder, and the former Ranger, Anthony DuClair, each scored goals.

In total, the Rangers outshot the Coyotes 32-22 and finished 4-7 with the man advantage.

Next up for the third-place Rangers will be a Saturday night contest in Colorado against the Avalanche.

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