The New York Rangers returned from a 12-day hiatus and were handed a 4-3 loss by the Florida Panthers in regulation time. New York held a one-goal lead heading into the third period, but Florida was able to rattle over three straight goals to take a 4-2 lead late in the third period. The Rangers mounted a comeback effort during the final minutes of play, but were only able to strike back within a goal before the final buzzer.
Artemiy Panarin (10) - Ryan Strome (16) & Jacob Trouba (9) - 11:08
It took just over 11 minutes for Artemiy Panarin to work his magic and give the Rangers an early 1-0 in this game. A great setup by Ryan Strome below his own goal line sent Panarin on a 1-on-1 rush the other way against Aaron Ekblad. Not many players in the league can embarrass Ekblad as badly as Panarin did, and he slipped by with an incredible between the legs move on his forehand. Panarin whiffed on the shot as he came out of the move, but the puck still slipped under Sergei Bobrovsky’s pad and into the back of the net.
Anton Lundell (6) - Gustav Forsling (14) & Ryan Lomberg (5) - 5:09
Just over five minutes into the second period, the Panthers came right back and tied up the game courtesy of the rookie, Anton Lundell. A heavy point shot by Gustav Forsling gave Igor Shesterkin some trouble, and the rebound kicked right into the high slot. The Rangers didn’t much coverage at all in the area, and Anton Lundell was able to slip into open space uncontested. Lundell was able to immediately fire a quick shot back on goal, and beat Shesterkin over the arm to make it a 1-1 game.
Mika Zibanejad (8) - Artemiy Panarin (25) & Libor Hajek (1) - 12:43
Despite giving up the tying goal, the Rangers continued to pressure in the offensive zone and were eventually rewarded with their second goal of the evening. Artemiy Panarin worked his magic once again with a great defensive play to strip the puck from Radko Gudas. Panarin was able to quickly transition the play into a mini 2-on-1 chance down low, and fed a beautifully placed pass across the Mika Zibanejad. Zibanejad slammed home the one-timer with the entire net to shoot at, and restored New York’s one-goal lead.
MacKenzie Weeger (1) - Eetu Luostarinen (3) & Mason Marchment (7) - 5:56
Early in the third period, the Rangers were tasked with early penalty killing duties as Libor Hajek was sent off for interference. New York was able to kill off the man-advantage with no harm, but it would be the follow up pressure that broke the camels back. Libor Hajek was tasked with playing a winger spot as he exited the penalty box, and that created an immediate advantage for Florida. MacKenzie Weegar was able to slip into the high slot and Eetu Luostarinen set him up with a perfectly placed pass. Weegar absolutely wired a wrist shot just under the crossbar, and tied up the game for the Panthers.
Carter Verhaeghe (8) - Radko Gudas (7) & Gustav Forsling (15) - 10:31
About five minutes later, the Panthers would continue pouring on the pressure and Carter Verhaeghe’s eighth of the season gave Florida the lead. Igor Shesterkin probably wants everything about this goal back, because a simple routine save ended up in the back of the net. The initial shot seemed to handcuff Shesterkin and wound up deflecting off of his blocker in behind him in the crease. Before he was even able to look behind him, the puck crossed the goal line and gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead.
Anthony Duclair (10) - Sam Bennett (6) - 14:40
Things went from bad to worse for the Rangers, and the Panthers doubled up their lead with under six minutes remaining in regulation. Florida was able to catch the Rangers in another odd-man situation, and the trailer up high cost them yet again. Anthony Duclair was able to trail the initial rush, and sniped home a shot following a no-look feed from Sam Bennett. Shesterkin never really stood much of a chance with the shot coming from in close, and Florida took a 4-2 lead.
Chris Kreider (19) - Kaapo Kakko (6) & Mika Zibanejad (19) - 19:15
With under a minute remaining in regulation, the Rangers pulled the goaltender in an effort to comeback in the game. Following some good chances in the offensive zone, the Rangers finally caught a break at the 19:15 mark of the third period. A shot from the blue line by Artemiy Panarin was deflected twice by Kaapo Kakko and Mika Zibanejad. The change in direction generate a rebound in the crease, and Chris Kreider slammed home the rebound with 45 seconds remaining.
Unfortunately, the Rangers would only come within a goal before the final buzzer sounded and they fell 4-3 in regulation. Given the extended layoff, some rust was expected with the Rangers not having any game action for nearly two weeks. Following tonight’s tough loss, the Rangers will head across the state of Florida for a meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday evening.