NHL

Tue, Dec 31, 2013 - 5:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Rangers-Panthers Preview

Share This Story

   
 

Henrik Lundqvist was back to form in his return, and what looked like a potential controversy in goal could prove to be a strength for a New York Rangers team that's played with more consistency over the past week.

Lundqvist seems likely to start again as the Rangers visit the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Lundqvist made 37 saves and stopped 15 of 16 shots in the third period to lift the Rangers to their third win in four games Sunday, 4-3 at Tampa. New York's star goaltender had backed up Cam Talbot in the previous three games and hadn't played since Dec. 20, due in part to the Christmas break.

''He played a real strong game, gave us a chance to win, especially in the third when they had a real strong push and they were tough to handle,'' coach Alain Vigneault said. ''He had some huge saves to make, and he did.''

Lundqvist's 2.78 goals-against average is half a goal higher than his career mark, but he performed like the player that compelled New York to give him a seven-year contract extension Dec. 4.

Talbot's outstanding play and Lundqvist's struggles have raised questions as to whether the team had made a mistake, but Sunday's performance showed that Lundqvist is still capable of carrying New York (19-19-2) when necessary.

It could also mean that the club has two goalies that give it a chance to be competitive in every game.

"I know this is a process. It's not going to turn around in one game, but I have to take it 20 minutes at a time and just try to do as good as possible and take it from there," said Lundqvist, who has a 3.68 GAA in his last eight starts.

The Rangers went 3 for 3 on the power play Sunday, leaving them at 8 for 23 (34.8 percent) in the past six games. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and two assists while Rick Nash, Chris Kreider and Benoit Pouliot also scored.

New York is 1-1-0 on its five-game road trip as it gets set to face a Panthers team that ended a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over Montreal on Sunday. Brian Campbell, Aleksander Barkov and Dmitry Kulikov scored and Scott Clemmensen stopped 21 shots for Florida (15-20-5), which had dropped the first two on a five-game homestand.

Despite the skid, the Panthers are 8-4-0 in their past 12 games.

"We gotta string together as many (wins) as we can get here, so hopefully we can get a good start going and finish it off with a couple more at home here," Campbell said.

The Panthers, one of the worst defensive teams in the league, allowed 15 goals during the losing streak.

The Rangers have taken advantage of those struggles this season, totaling nine goals in winning the first two meetings and defeating Florida 5-2 at Sunrise in the most recent one Nov. 27. Lundqvist made 31 saves and has gone 6-3-0 with a 1.57 GAA in his last nine starts in the series.

New York has taken six of the last eight matchups and five of six at Florida.

Zuccarello has four goals and two assists in a four-game point streak against Florida over the past two seasons. Pouliot has recorded four goals and three assists during a seven-game overall point streak, while Brad Richards has five goals and five assists in his past eight versus the Panthers.

Barkov, a rookie center, has three goals and five assists in the last nine contests.

Rangers defenseman Marc Staal is expected to return after missing 10 games due to a concussion.

Tagged: Rangers, Panthers, Henrik Lundqvist, Cam Talbot

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt