Mika Zibanejad’s early goals guide Rangers past Caps

Mika Zibanejad scored twice in a three-goal first period for the New York Rangers, who held on for a 5-3 victory over the visiting Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.

Zibanejad notched his ninth multigoal game of the season as he scored New York’s first two goals.

New York’s Patrick Kane scored a power-play goal late in the first to go along with an assist as he reached 50 points for the 16th season. Jacob Trouba tallied in the second period and Jimmy Vesey added an empty-goal for the Rangers, who are 5-5-2 in their past 12 contests. Vincent Trocheck had two assists.

The Capitals played without Alex Ovechkin (lower-body injury) and Sonny Milano (illness). Ovechkin missed his sixth game of the season, and the Capitals fell to 0-6-0 without him.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Matt Irvin and Nic Dowd scored for the Capitals.

New York goalie Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves and also collected an assist on Zibanejad’s second goal. Shesterkin reached 30 wins for the second season in a row and highlighted his night with a sprawling glove save on Dylan Strome during Washington’s four-on-three power play with 13:54 left.

Washington’s Darcy Kuemper allowed four goals on 35 shots.

Zibanejad made it 1-0 by ripping a one-timer from the middle of the slot off a backhanded feed from Vladimir Tarasenko 4:09 into the game.

Aube-Kubel’s wrister got by Shesterkin at 14:29 to tie the contest.

Sixteen seconds later, Zibanejad made it 2-1 by putting a backhander past Kuemper after getting a centering pass from Artemi Panarin.

Kane made it 3-1 when his power-play slap shot above the left circle sailed past Kuemper’s stick with 1:14 remaining in the first.

Trouba upped the lead to 4-1 when his shot from the right circle whizzed over Kuemper’s glove at 4:09 of the second period.

Irvin moved the Capitals within 4-2 when he got a backhanded pass from T.J. Oshie in the left circle and lifted the puck over Shesterkin at 12:08 of the second period remaining.

The Capitals made it a one-goal game when Dowd put his own rebound by Shesterkin at 11:48 of the third period.

Vesey sealed the win with 2:11 to play.