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Florida at New York

Rangers drop third straight at MSG in loss to Panthers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- A letdown would have been understandable one night after Nathan Horton and the Florida Panthers pulled out an overtime victory at Detroit.

Instead, it was the New York Rangers who finished the game with an empty feeling.

Horton, Jordan Leopold and Steven Reinprecht scored goals and Tomas Vokoun made 32 saves as the streaking Panthers beat the slumping Rangers 3-2 on Saturday.

The Panthers showed no signs of fatigue, playing an up-tempo game from the start.

"We started off well," Horton said. "That's how we wanted to come out. I think we kind of surprised them with the way we were ready to play."

Success seems to be fueling the Panthers (10-9-2). Florida swept a three-game road trip that started with a 6-2 win at Buffalo on Wednesday.

"We're feeling confident," Horton said. "This was a big road trip against really good teams. It's nice to get all three wins, but we're not out of the woods yet. It's only a start."

Although the Rangers scored the only goal of the opening period, the Panthers were clearly the more energetic team.

"If we want to keep this thing going, we have to play like we did tonight and in Detroit and Buffalo," said Panthers forward Radek Dvorak, formerly of the Rangers. "Knowing we have a chance to win every hockey game gives you confidence. We've been playing good lately, and that's why we have a lot of energy."

Vaclav Prospal staked the Rangers to the lead with an unassisted goal at 14:11. Prospal intercepted a Florida attempt in the neutral zone and curled into the Panthers zone to fire a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot that dribbled past Vokoun's left pad.

Aside from that lapse, Florida spent most of the period buzzing in the New York zone. Henrik Lundqvist had a busy period, making 12 saves. His best moment was a diving stop on Horton as he tried to finish a 2-on-1, give-and-go break with Michael Frolik. Lundqvist also caught a break when Reinprecht rang a power-play drive off the post.

Florida took charge in the second with Reinprecht and Leopold connecting to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead. Reinprecht pulled Florida even at 8:48 with a hard backhander from the slot.

The Panthers took the lead with a strange goal at 11:09. Defenseman Kenndal McArdle, fighting to control the puck at the right point, chopped it toward the Rangers net. The puck popped in the air with Leopold taking a swipe at it. He was credited with the goal after a video review determined that the shot was not directed in by a high stick.

"I just lost it," Lundqvist said. "Guys were waving their sticks, and it just bounced in front of me."

The Panthers appeared to put the game away when Horton, polishing off a 2-on-1 break with Stephen Weiss, gave Florida a 3-1 lead 2:35 into the third period.

As they have all season, the Rangers got a needed lift from Marian Gaborik. The star forward scored his team-leading 16th goal at 6:01 to cut the deficit back to one goal. Gaborik scored from the right circle at the end of a three-way passing play with defenseman Michal Rozsival and Prospal. It was his fifth goal in six games.

Gaborik's goal energized the Rangers as they pressed for the equalizer. Vokoun held firm, making a diving pad stop on Sean Avery with two minutes left and denying Gaborik's stuff try with one minute remaining.

The Rangers' fourth loss in five games kept these teams moving in opposite directions After a slow start, the Panthers have won eight of 11 (8-2-1). The Rangers, 7-1 to open the season, dropped their third straight at Madison Square Garden.

John Tortorella, the Rangers' sometimes fiery coach, took the latest loss calmly.

"You stay with it." Tortorella said. "You just keep trying to battle through this. I wish I could tell you how to get out of it. The only way I know is for the team to stay together. We have to have a little bit of resiliency. It is a miserable time, but you have to come to work and fight your way through."

Notes

  • The Rangers are still missing centers Brandon Dubinsky (wrist) and Chris Drury (concussion). Drury has resumed workouts.
  • Panthers LW David Booth is also sidelined by a concussion.
  • LW Cory Stillman missed the game because of a knee injury sustained Friday.
  • Vokoun got the start after Scott Clemmensen made 39 saves against Detroit.
  • The game kicked off a stretch of five games in eight nights for the Rangers.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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The Panthers have good reason to celebrate another win. It's their eighth in 11 games. (Getty Images)
The Panthers have good reason to celebrate another win. It's their eighth in 11 games. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Florida  (10-9-2) «0213
NY Rangers (11-10-1)1012
Three Stars
N. Horton
FLA


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
V. Prospal
NYR


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
T. Vokoun
FLA


Saves: 32
Save Pct.: .941
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
14:11Vaclav Prospal (6), Wrist Shot, Unassisted.
2ND PERIOD
08:46Steve Reinprecht (10), Backhand Shot. Assist: Olesz, Dvorak
11:09Jordan Leopold (2), Backhand Shot. Assist: McArdle, Kreps
3RD PERIOD
02:35Nathan Horton (6), Wrist Shot. Assist: Weiss
06:01Marian Gaborik (16), Wrist Shot. Assist: Rozsival, Prospal
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
06:57Kotalik, 2 min, Tripping
17:39Callahan, 2 min, Boarding
19:22Koistinen, 2 min, Holding
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
Florida128828
New York7141334
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Tomas Vokoun60:00322
Henrik Lundqvist58:42253
Game Information
Attendance - 18200
Referees - Dan O'Halloran, Francois St-Laurent
Linesmen - Mark Pare, Jean Morin
 
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