DENVER — Marian Gaborik had his 10th career hat trick, rookie Chad Johnson made 34 saves for his first NHL win and the New York Rangers snapped a five-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.
The hat trick was Gaborik’s first since he had five goals for Minnesota against the Rangers on Dec. 20, 2007. He joined the Rangers as a free agent over the summer after spending his first eight seasons in Minnesota.
Johnson was playing just his fourth career game after shuttling between the Rangers and the minors since early December. He was filling in for Henrik Lundqvist (stomach ailment) and just missed a shutout, giving up Cody McLeod‘s goal with 7:21 to play.
Gaborik’s first goal gave him 500 career points and his second gave him his sixth multigoal game of the season. He has four goals in his last two games and 33 overall, the sixth time in nine NHL campaigns that he has had 30 or more.
He completed the hat trick on a breakaway with 10:43 left in the third period.
The Avalanche have lost three straight after winning six in a row.
Gaborik opened the scoring at 13:53 of the first period, beating Craig Anderson with a slap shot from the top of the right circle.
Some nifty passing led to Gaborik’s second goal. Marc Staal shoveled a pass behind the net to Vinny Prospal, whose no-look backhand flip put the puck back just outside the crease, where Gaborik picked it up and knocked it past Anderson.
Gaborik leads the Rangers in points (65), goals (33) and assists (32).
The Rangers will finish up their Western Conference swing Tuesday night against Los Angeles, their third game in four days during the trip. … Colorado’s McLeod fought the Rangers’ Aaron Voros. … The Rangers completed the ninth of their 13 back-to-backs by gaining a split. They lost 3-2 at Phoenix on Saturday night.