NHL Game Summary - Florida at NY Rangers
(Sunday, February 24th)
Final Score: NY Rangers 5, Florida 0
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves for his eighth shutout of the season as the New York Rangers crushed the Florida Panthers, 5-0, at Madison Square Garden.
Scott Gomez had a goal and two assists while Marek Malik and Martin Straka each had a goal and a helper for the Rangers, who have won four of their last five games.
"I felt pretty good out there tonight," said Malik. "It's much better, though, to play when the team is playing better. If we play like we know how to play, we can play against anybody and we've shown that the past couple of games."
The win gave the Rangers 72 points on the season and moved the team up to sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
"Every game is big right now," said New York coach Tom Renney. "We understand where we are and understand that we're the ones who have control of our destiny. We responded well tonight and got a big two points."
Tomas Vokoun was roughed up for five goals on 29 shots for the Panthers, who have dropped four of their last five games.
"They played with the puck and we played without it most of the night," said Florida forward Olli Jokinen. "They were way better than us tonight. There was a total lack of effort on our part."
The Rangers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first period at the 7:53 mark. Florida attempted to clear the puck out of its zone, but it hit off the leg of Brendan Shanahan at the right circle and went to the left side where Gomez swept it into the open net for his 14th goal of the year.
Lundqvist was not called upon often in the first period, but he did turn aside five shots to keep Florida off the board.
New York scored a pair of goals separated by 1:15 in the second period to take a 3-0 lead.
Less than five minutes in, Straka fired a pass from the right boards to the slot and Malik found the back of the net with a one-timer for his first goal of the season.
A bit later, Jaromir Jagr skated into the Florida end and from the high slot left a drop pass for Sean Avery. Jagr cut to the left side, accepted a feed from Avery and tucked the puck behind Vokoun for his 17th goal of the season.
Lundqvist stopped nine shots in the second period.
The Rangers padded their lead less than six minutes into the third period as Malik sent a shot on net from the high slot that went wide, but it took a Ranger bounce off the back boards and came out front where Nigel Dawes swept it into the net.
Straka's one-timer off a Ryan Callahan feed with 10:28 to play made it a 5-0 game.
New York plays in Carolina on Thursday...Florida hosts Toronto on Wednesday...Lundqvist has 15 shutouts in his career...Neither team scored on the power play with New York having four chances and Florida three.
02/24 23:07:57 ET