NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 13th (All times eastern)
New York Rangers (30-20-5) at Florida Panthers (27-19-8), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers will try to string together back-to- back wins tonight in a matchup against the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center.
New York hasn't won two straight since it sandwiched a pair of wins around the All-Star break on January 20 and 27. Following a win over Carolina in their first contest after the All-Star Game, the Rangers went on to lose a season- worst five straight games, getting outscored 22-5 in that stretch.
The Rangers ended that skid last time out, though, recording a 5-4 shootout win over the Washington Capitals and improving to 9-3 in shootouts this year.
It didn't come easy, as the Rangers blew a 4-3 lead with 58 seconds to go in the second period and then failed to capitalize on 10 minutes of power-play time in the third. Nigel Dawes scored in the second round of the shootout, but Nikolai Zherdev failed as New York's next skater and Washington's Alex Ovechkin extended the extra time with a goal of his own.
However, Ryan Callahan ripped a shot that caught iron and ricocheted off Capitals' netminder Jose Theodore in the fourth round and the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist redeemed himself with a save on Brooks Laich.
Callahan also scored in regulation and picked up an assist for the Rangers, who will try to halt a five-game road losing streak tonight and are 13-12-2 as the guest this year. Lauri Korpikoski, Markus Naslund and Paul Mara each had a goal in the win, while Scott Gomez recorded two helpers.
Lundqvist made 26 saves to snap a personal four-game slide (0-3-1). He is a solid 7-3-0 in his career versus the Panthers with a 2.15 goals against average and three shutouts.
New York is tied with Philadelphia for second place in the Atlantic Division as well as fourth overall in the Eastern Conference.
The Panthers continued their ascent up the conference standings with Thursday night's 5-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The victory, Florida's seventh this season by way of a shutout, moved the club into a tie with Buffalo for the seventh spot in the East. Both clubs trail sixth-seeded Montreal by two points.
Tomas Vokoun made 42 saves in notching his fourth shutout of the season and 29th of his career. He was backed by a balanced scoring attack that saw Nathan Horton, Richard Zednik, Anthony Stewart, Gregory Campbell and Michael Frolik all score for the Panthers, who have won two straight, four of five and six of their last eight games.
Florida now returns home for a five-game residency. The Panthers have won four straight as the host and are 14-6-5 at BankAtlantic Center this season.
These two clubs split a home-and-home set in late November, with each team notching a win on enemy ice. New York's 4-3 shootout win in Florida on November 28 halted a three-game series road losing streak, but the club was then blanked at home two days later by the Panthers, 4-0.
02/13 10:53:36 ET