NHL Game Summary - Florida at NY Rangers
(Thursday, October 4th)
Final Score: NY Rangers 5, Florida 2
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Chris Drury scored the game-winning goal and added a pair of assists in his Rangers debut as New York downed Florida, 5-2, in the season opener for both teams at Madison Square Garden.
Drury, who the Rangers signed in the offseason along with Scott Gomez, broke a 2-2 tie as part of a four-goal third period while Marek Malik added three assists for the Rangers, who were knocked out of the playoffs last season in the second round by Buffalo.
Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves for New York, which has won three of its last four against Florida.
"I know that if they score three goals its gonna be tough for us so it was my challenge to keep that from happening," said Lundqvist. "We battled back and it feels really good that we came back and won the game."
Brett McLean and Nathan Horton each scored a goal while Tomas Vokoun gave up five goals on 25 shots for the Panthers, who finished last season with 86 points.
"We have to play 60 minutes," said Florida coach Jacques Martin. "I thought the first 40 minutes we controlled the game, but the last 20 minutes we let things go. We made some mistakes and they capitalized. We turned the puck over too much."
Trailing 2-1, heading into the third period, the Rangers grabbed command of the game with three goals separated by just 2:51.
The Rangers tied the game when Malik picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and from the top of the right circle dished the puck to Petr Prucha, who flicked a shot on net from the left slot that Vokoun slowed down, but the puck trickled into the net at the 6:07 mark.
The Rangers kept up the pressure and took the lead. Malik took a slap shot from the left point that Vokoun saved. The rebound went to Jaromir Jagr, who flipped a backhand on net from the low right side and Drury slammed the rebound into the net for a 3-2 lead at 8:46.
Just 12 seconds later, Ryan Callahan snapped a wrist shot from the left circle that went over the glove of Vokoun and into the left corner for a 4-2 lead.
The Rangers sealed the victory with under seven minutes to play when Martin Straka played a bounce off the end boards and slid a shot between the pads of Vokoun.
"That was amazing to see our guys come back the way they did," said New York coach Tom Renney. "We got pucks deep and put pressure on them. We got a couple of quick goals and that was the difference in the game."
The Rangers wasted no time taking the lead. Drury brought the puck into the Florida end and from the right point dished a pass that deflected off of a Florida skater and went to Michal Rozsival, who snapped a quick shot home on the first shot of the game just 37 seconds into the contest.
Lundqvist was sharp in the first period as he stopped all nine shots he faced in the stanza, including a pair of shots down low during 4-on-4 play with under two minutes left.
The Panthers took the lead in the second period with a pair of even-strength goals.
Pressuring the Rangers down low, Greg Campbell sent a backhand pass from the left side of the net to the right where McLean lifted a backhander over the glove of Lundqvist just 2:14 in.
About halfway through the middle stanza, Horton took a hit in the left corner, skated out to the slot and snapped a shot into the left corner of the net for a 2-1 advantage. Florida was helped on the goal due to two Ranger skaters not having sticks.
New York only managed four shots on net in the second period, all of which Vokoun stopped.
Malik's three-point game tied a career-high...Jagr finished the game with two assists and now has 1,530 points, one behind Paul Coffey for 11th place on the all-time point list...Neither team scored on the power play with New York having four chances and Florida just two...Attendance was 18,200.
10/04 23:22:22 ET