Rangers wrap up strong December

– The New York Rangers finished a strong December in strong fashion.

Ryan McDonagh, Chris Kreider and Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist each, and the Rangers got back to their winning ways with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.

The Rangers (20-11-4) have won nine of their past 10 games and went 9-3 in December.

Panthers coach Gerard Gallant was impressed by the Rangers in his team's first game against New York.

"That's the best team I've seen so far this year. They really took control of the game."

HIGHLIGHTS

•FIRST IN EAST: The Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Lightning won its fourth straight, beating the host Buffalo Sabres 5-1. Buffalo was outshot 14-1 in the final period.

•CAREER NIGHT: Ryan Strome had a goal and three assists in the New York Islanders' 5-2 win over the host Winnipeg Jets.

•zeroes: Dallas' Kari Lehtonen and San Jose's Antti Niemi posted their 30th career shutouts on the same night. The host Stars beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-0, and the Sharks beat the host Anaheim Ducks 3-0.

•EXTENSION: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed Nick Foligno to a six-year contract extension worth a reported $33 million through the 2020-21 season.

•SALE APPROVED: The NHL board of governors approved IceArizona's sale of 51 percent of the Coyotes to Philadelphia hedge fund manager Andrew Barroway.

ASSOCIATED PRESS