Nash, Lundqvist lead Rangers past Panthers 5-2
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)
Henrik Lundqvist was happy to get the chance to make amends for his previous performance.
The 2012 Vezina Trophy winner rebounded from a poor game with 31 saves and Rick Nash scored his second goal of the season to lift the New York Rangers over the Florida Panthers 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Lundqvist was back in net after getting pulled from a 5-0 loss at Tampa Bay on Monday, when he gave up four goals in two periods.
''I just tried to play my game tonight. It was important for me and the team to bounce back with a solid performance,'' Lundqvist said. ''I'm happy with the way I played.''
It didn't seem anyone's confidence in Lundqvist was shaken.
''That's what I expected from him,'' Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. ''He's a world-class goaltender, strong mentally. I didn't think the game in Tampa was a 5-0 game and tonight obviously we could have played stronger in some situations, but when we did have a breakdown we had a goaltender that made some saves.''
After the Panthers scored twice to cut their deficit to one, Zuccarello's power-play goal made it 4-2 with 1:28 left.
The Rangers improved to 3-1 on their five-game road trip. The five goals tied their season high.
With a 3-0 lead, it seemed Lundqvist was cruising toward a shutout. But two Panthers goals late in the third made it close.
Florida cut it to 3-1 on Upshall's backhander in front with 7:32 left. Upshall has eight points in his past eight games.
Bjugstad brought the puck through the neutral zone and put it in from the left side at 16:17 to close to 3-2.
''We did a good job of coming back,'' Upshall said. ''It was a big effort.''
The Panthers couldn't score again, and the Rangers scored twice in the final 1:28 to put the game away.
''I wouldn't say it was one of our best games, but at the end of the day we found a way to win,'' Vigneault said. ''And finding ways to win is the goaltender making some key saves at the right moment; we got that.''
Florida is 0-2 against the Rangers this season.
''We weren't good in certain areas,'' coach Peter Horachek said. ''We turned pucks over when we shouldn't. We didn't manage when we should.''
Nash's third-period goal put New York ahead 3-0. Nash, who missed 17 games with a concussion this season, got control of the puck in the neutral zone and his wrist shot from the slot beat Thomas on the stick side at 5:32.
''It was a weird game. The main thing is we got the job done on the road,'' Nash said.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead on Brassard's power-play goal in the first. Brassard took a pass from Zuccarello in the slot and tipped it past Thomas' glove at 12:13.
Brassard's goal was his fifth of the season and second in 10 games. The Rangers were 0 for 9 on the power play in their previous two games.
New York stretched its lead to 2-0 on Richards' goal late in the second period. Richards' shot from the right circle went through the legs of two Panthers defenders and Thomas at 18:53.
Richards has a team-high seven goals.
NOTES: Rangers forward Taylor Pyatt returned to the lineup after missing eight games with a concussion. ... Panthers C Jesse Winchester missed his third game with a lower-body injury.