The New York Rangers had an opportunity to extend their winning streak this afternoon, but were unable to get the job done, and were defeated 6-5 by the Florida Panthers. The game certainly didn’t disappoint in the goal department as ten goals were scored in regulation time, and the 11th came in the shootout courtesy of Vincent Trocheck. Henrik Lundqvist got the start in goal again for the Rangers and turned away 22 of the 26 shots his faced during the afternoon.
New York had an extremely quick start to this game, and were rewarded with the early goal at the 5:06 mark. Ryan Lindgren picked up his first career NHL goal after sniping home a beautiful feed from Ryan Strome on the far side, and gave the Rangers an early lead.
The Rangers tremendous start was erased completely during the closing minutes of the first after the Panthers rattled off two goals within 30 seconds. Aleksandar Barkov picked up the tying goal after dancing around Jesper Fast and ripping a quick snap shot over the shoulder of Henrik Lundqvist. Exactly 30 seconds after Barkov’s tally, Dominic Toninato caught a fortunate bounce in the crease and slammed home a rebound that was sitting all alone in front of Henrik Lundqvist.
Thankfully, the Rangers answered right back just 1:28 into the second period as Filip Chytil made a ridiculous move around Anton Stralman and beat Sam Montembeault over the leg pad. Then, a little over three minutes later, Evgenii Dadonov put Florida back on top after capitalizing on a pretty passing play between Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.
The scoring continued at a rapid rate during the middleframe, but this time around, it was the Rangers who were able to score consecutive goals and regain the lead. Brady Skjei evened the game once again on a flick shot from the goal line, and somehow slipped the puck between the post and the goaltender. A short time later, it was the Rangers turn to go to work on the power play, and Kaapo Kakko’s fourth goal of the season gave the Rangers their second lead of the afternoon.
Nearly a minute after Kakko gave the Rangers the lead, Frank Vatrano stole back the spotlight with a spectacular move on a breakaway. The Rangers were caught napping after numerous scoring chances in front of Montemebault, and didn’t realize Florida had made a player swap behind the play. Evgenii Dadonov made a great diving pass to chip the puck up to Vatrano and he finished off the glorious chance.
As if we didn’t have enough scoring in the the period, Chris Kreider added one more for good measure with a power player goal. Adam Fox did an excellent job of moving into a shooting lane, and placed a shot at a perfect height for Kreider to deflect past the goaltender.
The Rangers entered the third period with a lead, but just under the halfway mark of the period, ex-Ranger Brian Boyle tied the game....again. Boyle was able to get a slight piece of Keith Yandle’s blast from the point, and deflected the puck back on Henrik Lundqvist. Boyle’s goal would be the only scoring in the third period and this game needed overtime to decide the winner.
During the extra period, the Rangers had the better of the scoring chances but just couldn’t find the game winning goal. Their best chance to end the game came on a nice give-and-go between Artemiy Panarin and Adam Fox, but the puck just flipped over Panarin’s stick on the pass back. Neither team was able to find the winning goal in the overtime period, and this game advanced onto the shootout.
Frank Vatrano opened the scoring for the Panthers in the first round with a great move to his forehand. Kaapo Kakko gave the Rangers some hope in the third round after a ridiculous fake and tied the game back up for the Rangers. Unfortunately, the final shot came down to Vincent Trocheck and he rifled a shot past Henrik Lundqvist to win the game for the Florida Panthers.
Despite a disappointing end to an entertaining afternoon, the Rangers played well enough to win and the game was decided with a skills competition. Following this afternoon’s loss, the Rangers will have a scheduled off day tomorrow before returning to action on Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.