Zuccarello helps Rangers top Panthers
Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist in the New York Rangers' 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.
Derick Brassard, Brad Richards, Rick Nash and Carl Hagelin also lit the lamp for the Rangers, who improved to 3-1-0 on a five-game road trip that ends Friday in Boston.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 31-of-33 shots in the victory.
"I just tried to play my game tonight," Lundqvist said. "It was important for me and the team to bounce back with a solid performance. You feel the importance of trying to get points. I'm happy with the way I played. The biggest part of this game was the two points."
Scottie Upshall and Nick Bjugstad scored for the Panthers, who have lost three of their past four games. Tim Thomas turned aside 17-of-21 shots.
The Rangers drew first blood at the 12:13 mark of the first period. While on the power play, Zuccarello fired a shot from the top of the right circle that Brassard deflected past Thomas.
Richards made it a 2-0 contest at the 18:53 mark of the middle stanza, as his shot from the top of the right circle beat Thomas.
Nash gave New York a three-goal cushion at the 5:32 mark of the third frame. He stopped a Florida clearing attempt, skated to the slot and beat Thomas with a wrist shot.
Upshall got the Panthers on the board at the 12:28 mark, as his backhander snuck past Lundqvist.
Florida got within one with 3:43 to play, as Bjugstad scored on a backhander from a very sharp angle.
"It's tough getting down," Bjugstad said. "We always show a lot of fight coming back. I think the main thing is just showing the fight before we have to come back. We've got room for improvement, but a lot of guys are getting better."
Just over a minute later, Panthers center Aleksander Barkov was sent to the penalty box for hooking.
Zuccarello scored on the power play for New York. John Moore's shot from the point hit off the end boards and Zuccarello was in the right spot for an easy goal.
Hagelin's empty-net goal with 23.1 seconds remaining accounted for the final margin.
New York has won both meetings against Florida this season. The teams will meet for the third and final time this season on New Year's Eve at BB&T Center ... Rangers forward Taylor Pyatt returned to the lineup after missing eight games due to a concussion ... New York forward Derek Dorsett missed Wednesday's game with a sore wrist ... The Panthers were without the services of forward Jesse Winchester (lower body).
11/28 00:02:37 ET