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Florida at New York

Streaking Rangers use one goal to shut out Panthers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Henrik Lundqvist has a long memory, and won't soon forget the pain of falling one point short of the playoffs a year ago.

Lundqvist posted his NHL-best 10th shutout with only Brandon Dubinsky's third-period goal as a cushion. He made it stand up in the Rangers' 1-0 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday that gave New York its season-high fifth straight win.

The Rangers are seventh in the Eastern Conference, but instead of looking behind them, they can set their sights on the sixth-place Montreal Canadiens, who hold only a three-point edge.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGPPTSROW
1z-Pittsburgh487233
2y-Montreal486326
3y-Washington485724
4x-Boston486224
5x-Toronto485726
6x-N.Y. Rangers485622
7x-Ottawa485621
8x-N.Y. Islanders485520
Eliminated
9o-Winnipeg485122
10o-Philadelphia484922
11o-New Jersey484817
12o-Buffalo484814
13o-Carolina484218
14o-Tampa Bay484017
15o-Florida483612
Complete Playoff Race >>

New York is three points up on Buffalo and six points clear of Carolina, the team just below the postseason cutoff. Last season, the Rangers were eliminated when they lost in a shootout at Philadelphia on the final day.

"I keep reminding myself every day that last year was one point," said Lundqvist, who made 22 saves in his 34th NHL shutout. "I don't want to be there and I don't think anyone else wants to be there. This is a game that could be the difference."

Lundqvist matched his career high in shutouts and improved to 7-1 with a 1.98 goals-against average and two shutouts in eight games. No more worries about the sore neck he sustained in a home win over Montreal on Friday that almost forced him to miss Sunday's victory at Pittsburgh.

"I feel great," Lundqvist said. "I don't think my body felt this great in a lot of years."

The Rangers have won five straight for the first time since a seven-game streak in October 2009. Dubinsky made it happen 7:49 into the third period.

New York was penalty-free for the first time since Jan. 9, 2009, at Buffalo, and the Rangers did it without top defenseman Marc Staal, who missed his second straight game because of an undisclosed injury.

The Rangers had been surging on the strength of their offense that produced 17 goals in three games -- including at least five in each win. They have won seven of eight, scoring 34 goals.

"This was a good test for us -- a playoff-type game that you have to grind away," Dubinsky said.

Lundqvist was hardly tested in earning his second shutout of Florida this season. His toughest stretch came in the final minute after the Panthers pulled goalie Tomas Vokoun. Lundqvist kept the puck out after being knocked down in the crease, lying on his side on the goal line.

"You have so much adrenaline, you don't feel pain there," Lundqvist said.

Vokoun, who shut out the Rangers in January, made 32 saves for Florida, which appears to be out of the running for a postseason berth. Florida was hurt by the absence of leading scorer Stephen Weiss, who was forced to sit out for only the second time this season because of a leg injury.

"We're missing our leading scorer from what's left out of this team," Vokoun said. "If you don't score, you can't win. We battled hard, but this is where we are.

"We didn't even generate enough to get us some power plays. It's disappointing."

The Rangers dominated in the shot totals, but failed to generate many prime scoring chances before Dubinsky cashed in. Earlier on the shift, Dubinsky fired a drive that got through Vokoun, but was cleared away before it crossed the goal line.

New York kept the puck in the Panthers end, and Ryan Callahan took it away in the slot. He glided to the front edge of the right circle and got the puck to Dubinsky for a tap-in. Callahan thought about shooting, but Vokoun took that option away.

"We feel like we are a line that needs to produce and put up points for us to be successful," Callahan said.

The Rangers recorded 17 shots in the second to give them 26 through 40 minutes. Brian Boyle fired a one-timer from the right circle just over four minutes into the period, but Vokoun slid across to stop it.

Florida coach Pete DeBoer used his lone timeout with 2:09 left in the second when the Panthers were being outshot 23-13. Vokoun had kept them in the game.

"He was big in the first two periods and he gave us a chance in the third," DeBoer said. "You're not going to win in this league unless you can score a goal. Our forwards, one through 12, didn't bring enough to the table."

Notes

  • The Panthers began their longest road trip of the season -- five games -- after going 3-2-2 in a season-high, seven-game homestand.
  • The Panthers are 4-2 at Madison Square Garden in their past six visits.
  • Rangers D Bryan McCabe faced the Panthers for the first time since he was traded to New York on Feb. 26. In 199 games with Florida between 2008-11, McCabe had 28 goals and 76 assists.
  • Panthers D Keaton Ellerby took the game's only penalty, interference, in the first.
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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Henrik Lundqvist is not tested too much on the 22 saves he makes for his league-leading 10th shutout. (Getty Images)
Henrik Lundqvist is not tested too much on the 22 saves he makes for his league-leading 10th shutout. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Florida (29-34-10)0000
NY Rangers  (40-30-4) «0011
Three Stars
B. Dubinsky
NYR


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
H. Lundqvist
NYR


Saves: 22
Save Pct.: 1.000
T. Vokoun
FLA


Saves: 32
Save Pct.: .970

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
07:49 - Brandon Dubinsky (22), Tip-In. Assist: Callahan, Anisimov
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
04:35Ellerby, 2 min, Interference
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
FLA59822
NYR917733
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Tomas Vokoun58:32321
Henrik Lundqvist59:57220
Game Information
Attendance - 18200
Referees - Bill McCreary, Francois St-Laurent
Linesmen - Derek Nansen, Thor Nelson
 
Other Games
NJ 1 Final
Bos 4
Ott 3 Final
Car 4
Wash 5 Final
Phi 4
NYI 5 Final
TB 2
Buf 2 Final
Mon 0
Edm 1 Final
Nash 3
Tor 3 Final
Min 0
Colu 4 Final
Colo 5
StL 1 Final
Pho 2