NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11: Artem Anisimov #42 of the New York Rangers celebrates a first period goal with teammates Brandon Dubinsky #17 and Anton Stralman #32 during the game against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden on December11, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
The New York Rangers put on quite the performance in front of the Garden crowd tonight, winning 6-1 over the Florida Panthers. This was a complete team effort tonight, and the Rangers cashed in on their opportunities. Derek Stepan had a great night, scoring two goals, and adding an assist.
After an early penalty coming from Steve Eminger, the Rangers got their chance to work the power play. Brad Richards was able to convert on the second power play for the Rangers. Richards made a great little fake, moved in closer, and scored off a great wrist shot over the shoulder of Jose Theodore. Just five minutes later, the Rangers would get their third chance on the power play, and converted once again.
This time it came from Artem Anisimov who converted on a rebound in front of the net. It was a great play by Anton Stralman to get the puck down to Anisimov, who fed Erik Christensen who hit the post, which led to the rebound. Under a minute later, the Panthers were able to cut into the Rangers lead off a goal coming from Erik Gudbranson for his first career NHL goal.
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The Rangers came out with their absolute best period of the season, with an explosive four goal effort. Derek Stepan started off the second period with a great individual effort and beat Theodore with an absolute snipe. Stepan fought off three different Panthers on his way to scoring his sixth goal of the season.
Just five minutes later, Steve Eminger notched his second of a season with a great shot through a screen. Carl Hagelin was the main contributing factor as he flew into the zone, and dug out the puck to Brian Boyle. Marian Gaborik cashed in on another rebound given up by Theodore and that made it 5-1 Rangers.
Although, five was not enough for this hungry Rangers team, and Derek Stepan cashed in for his second goal of the evening, on yet another rebound in front of Theodore. The Rangers went into the locker room with a very commanding 6-1 lead, and the Panthers were all but out of this one.
To start the third period the Panthers made a goaltender change, and Scott Clemmensen relieved Jose Theordore between the pipes. The Rangers continued their dominance, but Clemmensen made a few spectacular saves and turned the Rangers away. Derek Stepan had a golden opportunity to finish off the hat trick, but Clemmensen turned him away once again.
The Rangers had a great penalty kill tonight, as well as a power play. The Rangers killed off all seven of the power play they gave the Panthers tonight, and cashed in twice on the power play early on. It also worth mentioning that the Rangers passing was spot on tonight, they were making smart, strong passes all night long.
The Rangers also made the job of Henrik Lundqvist very easy tonight, as they played solid defensively tonight in front of him. Although, there were some points where he had to make some key saves. Anton Stralman also had a strong game for the Rangers, and also made some great plays in the offensive end, and even contributed his first point as a Ranger.
The Rangers will be back home this Tuesday against the Dallas Stars starting at 7:00 PM. Below are tonight's three stars of the game, along with the Broadway Hat recipient.