Preview: Panthers begin long trip away from home with showdown against Rangers
TV: FOX Sports Florida
TIME: 7 p.m.
NEW YORK — The NHL season is less than a month old, but the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers will be looking to escape some not-so-select company Tuesday night, when the Rangers host the Panthers at Madison Square Garden.
Both teams lost their most recent games. The Rangers dropped a 4-1 decision to the visiting Calgary Flames on Sunday night. The host Panthers fell to the Detroit Red Wings, 4-3, in overtime on Saturday night.
The defeats continued frustrating months for the Rangers (2-5-1), who have one regulation/overtime win, and Panthers (1-2-3), who have yet to win outside of the shootout. Only two other teams — the rebuilding Red Wings and the Arizona Coyotes, who have missed the playoffs the last six seasons — have one regulation/overtime win or fewer.
The loss to the Flames was only the second one this season in which the Rangers fell by more than one goal, but dropping a game that they controlled offensively is nothing new for New York, which outshot Calgary 45-26 and is outshooting opponents 275-266 thus far.
“I feel like these types of games are starting to add up, unfortunately,” Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said Sunday night. “We are playing good enough to win games, but we are not finding ways to win games. It’s obviously something we need to change fast.”
The Panthers have gotten off to an even more agonizing start. All of Florida’s losses have been by one goal. In hopes of changing up his team’s fortunes, head coach Bob Boughner tinkered with his back end at practice Monday, when he partnered Keith Yandle with Alexander Petrovic and Aaron Ekblad with Mike Matheson.
The Panthers have allowed 25 goals, which was tied for ninth most in the NHL entering play Monday night.
“We’re just trying different things,” Boughner told reporters following practice. “We could have four or five wins and have been to overtime five times. Those are fine lines in having a better record than it is. At this point of the season, I’m still looking for that extra level of protecting leads, playing a complete 60 (minutes). I want to see us respond.”
Michael Hutchinson, who has been splitting time in net for the Panthers with James Reimer while starter Roberto Luongo recovers from a knee injury, will start at goalie Tuesday night. Hutchinson took the loss Saturday night, when he stopped 27 shots against the Red Wings.
The Rangers are likely to counter with Lundqvist, who has started seven of eight games this season, including the last five in a row. Lundqvist was saddled with the loss Sunday night after recording 22 saves against the Flames.
Hutchinson is 1-1-0 in three career appearances against the Rangers. Lundqvist is 24-10-3 in 38 games against the Panthers.
The game Tuesday concludes a brief two-game homestand for the Rangers and starts a multi-country road trip for the Panthers, who visit the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils on Wednesday and Saturday before playing a pair of games against the Winnipeg Jets in Finland on Nov. 1-2.