The New York Rangers lost their second straight game tonight, as they fell to the Florida Panthers 3-2 in the shootout. It was also a costly victory with Mika Zibanejad going down with a broken fibula early on in the overtime period.
In the opening moments of this game, the Rangers were a bit sloppy in their own end and the Panthers were able to get a few early chances. Thankfully, it didn’t take the Rangers long after that to get their game going, and started pushing the pace in the offensive zone. That eventually lead to Chris Kreider’s fourth goal of the year, after he absolutely sniped one over the shoulder of James Reimer.
The Rangers continued to use their speed in transition, which resulted in two power play opportunities near the end of the first period. Unfortunately, they were unable to convert with a short two man-advantage, and the period ended with the Rangers leading 1-0.
Coming into the second period, the Rangers had played relatively well and looked poised to take control again after a strong opening. However, a costly penalty from Brady Skjei allowed the Panthers to tie up the game following a goal from former Ranger, Keith Yandle.
Henrik Lundqvist didn’t stand much of a chance on the goal with Kevin Klein and Colton Sceviour obstructing his view at the top of the crease. Then it was Kevin Hayes taking a very undisciplined penalty after running into James Reimer, which gave the Panthers yet another power play opportunity. Thankfully, the Rangers were able to kill off the penalty, and came out of the second period with the score knotted up at one.
Early on in the third period, the Rangers caught a favorable bounce at the top of the crease, and took their second lead of the night. Mats Zuccarello’s centering feed wound up deflecting off of Mika Zibanejad’s skate and slipped in behind James Reimer. Just as things were starting to look up for the Rangers, the Panthers stormed right back with several threatening shifts, and wound up tying the game up.
Aaron Ekblad was credited with the goal after his wrist shot from the point ticked off of J.T. Miller’s stick, and bounced over Henrik Lundqvist. Sometimes players are better off letting their goalie make the save, and in that instance, that was probably the better choice while hanging on to a one goal lead.
With the remainder of the period coming up scoreless, this game headed to overtime. That was went Mika Zibanejad went down with a scary injury behind the net, and was down in some obvious pain. Following that incident, the Rangers and Panthers traded a few chances at either end, but neither team was able to create the tying goal.
That left us with the skills competition, where Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck came away with the only two goals to give the Panthers the victory. This loss now marks the Rangers second straight loss, heading into tomorrow’s contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins.