KITCHENER, Ontario – Kitchener doesn’t need Jeremy Morin and Jeff Skinner to beat the Erie Otters.
While both offensive leaders remain at NHL training camps, the Rangers pulled away in the third period for a 7-3 win in front of 6,366 at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Friday night.
The Otters (1-3-0-0) have lost three straight since a season-opening win in Brampton. They also have lost nine straight to the Rangers (3-0-0-0), dating back to the opening game of an eight-game season series last year. Morin and Skinner combined for 22 goals and 33 points in the Rangers’ season sweep.
But Morin and Skinner have performed well this preseason with the Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes, respectively. Meanwhile, their Rangers’ teammates have picked up the offensive slack.
Gabriel Landeskog, a potential first-round pick in the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft, scored twice – his fourth and fifth goals of the season. Ryan Murphy had a goal and his four assists.
Murphy and Landeskog scored consecutive goals in less than a minute midway through the third period to cap a three-goal stretch that turned the Rangers’ 3-2 lead into a 6-2 advantage.
Kitchener scored all seven goals on 34 shots against rookie goaltender Chris Festarini, who was playing in only his second Ontario Hockey League game. David Shields, Anthony Luciani and Mitch Gaulton scored for the Otters, which complete their three-game weekend tonight at home against London.
Rangers 7, Otters 3
Erie 1 1 1 — 3
Kitchener 2 2 3 — 7
1st Period — 1. Kitchener, Andrew Crescenzi 1 (Murphy, Akeson), 13:03. 2. Kitchener, Michael Catenacci 1 (Landeskog, Murphy), 14:39. 3. Erie, David Shields 1 (Broll), 16:26. Penalties — Appio (E) 5-min. fighting, 6:12; Lowry (K) 5-min. fighting, 6:12; Cook (E) 5-min. fighting, 6:47; Randell (K) 5-min. fighting, 6:47; McKegg (E) interference, 7:16; Crescenzi (K) holding the stick, 10:43.
2nd Period — 4. Kitchener, Gabriel Landeskog 4 (unassisted), :50. 5. Erie, Anthony Luciani 3 (McKegg, Holden), 8:51. 6. Jason Akeson 1 (Catenacci, Murphy), 18:59. Penalties — Shields (E) tripping, 12:22.
3rd Period — 7. Kitchener, Landeskog 5 (Rieder, Catenacci), 9:15. 8. Erie, Mitch Gaulton 2 (Cazzola, McKegg), 10:59 (pp). 10. Kitchener, Matthew Tipoff 3 (Akeson, Murphy), 15:46. Penalties — Sol (K) roughing, 3:24; McKegg (E) roughing, 6:52; Landeskog (K) roughing, 6:52; Cazzola (E) holding the stick, 7:15; Marcantuoni (K) roughing, 10:55; Rieder (K) interference, 11:47; Melchiori (K) delay of game, 19:44.
Shots on goal — Erie, 11-15-12—38; Kitchener, 10-8-16—34.
Goaltenders — Erie, Chris Festarini 0-1-0-0 (34 shots, 27 saves); Kitchener, Brandon Maxwell 2-0-0-0 (38 shots, 35 saves).
Power plays — Erie (1-5), Kitchener (1-3).
Referees — Darren Price, Scott Hoberg. Linesmen — Matt Gregory, Dave Pfohl.
Attendance — 6,366.
* Ryan Murphy, Rangers (goal, 4 assists) ** Gabriel Landeskog, Rangers (2 goals, assist) *** Jason Akeson, Rangers (goal, 2 assists)