The New York Rangers have now lost three games in a row, with the most recent loss coming this evening against the Florida Panthers. The Rangers were able to grab a point from the game, but the Panthers prevailed in the shootout and took the second point. During the first half of the game, the Rangers found themselves trailing by a pair of goals, and eventually found a way to pull back even.
Jonathan Huberdeau opened the scoring for the Panthers on the power play at the 19:45 mark of the first period. The point shot by Vincent Trocheck found a seam under Henrik Lundqvist’s arm, dropped in the crease, and Huberdeau cleaned up the loose puck in the crease. Later on in the second period, the Panthers extended their lead to two with Frank Vatrano scoring his first goal as a Florida Panther.
Mats Zuccarello finally solved Roberto Luongo at the far end of the ice and brought the Rangers back within a single goal. Zuccarello was able to deflect Neal Pionk’s shot from the right point spot and slipped the puck through Luongo’s legs. That goal set the tone for the third period where Mika Zibanejad tied the game at two with a quick move to the backhand and beat Luongo on the short side.
However, the Panthers answered right back almost 45 seconds later with Jamie McGinn following up his own rebound and giving the Panthers another one goal lead. Kevin Hayes, who has been white hot lately, eventually knotted the game back up at the 7:25 mark with an absolutely blistering wrist shot from just inside the circle. The play all started with a ridiculous tap pass from Ryan Spooner to get the rush started, and Hayes finished it off with a shot just under the crossbar to make it 3-3.
This game would head to the overtime period, where despite numerous chances at both ends, remaining tied at three at the end of five minutes. That led us to the shootout where Mats Zuccarello started off with a goal for the Rangers on his patented backhand sweep across the crease.
Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Spooner came up empty handed on their chances, while Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck converted to seal the win for the Panthers. Following tonight’s loss in extra time, the Rangers will have a scheduled off day before returning home to Madison Square Garden on Monday against the Carolina Hurricanes.