Rangers 3, Panthers 0
Henrik Lundqvist decided to try something to get out of his
slump. It worked, and a little bit of luck didn’t hurt, either.
Lundqvist made 40 saves for his third shutout of the season
Friday night, leading the New York Rangers to a 3-0 victory over
the Florida Panthers.
”I changed my stance a little bit,” Lundqvist said. ”I came
back to how I used to play (with) a little bit higher stance, and
my timing was better.”
Lundqvist, who gave up 17 goals while losing four of his last
five decisions, recorded his 27th career shutout. His best stop
probably came in the second period when he made a pad save on Mike
Santorelli’s redirection from the front of the net.
”We needed him tonight,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said.
”He played very well. We’ve gotta gut this out right here. I think
we’re a tired team from the number of games and travel we’ve gone
through. It certainly was important the way Hank played
Rookie Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Prust scored for
the Rangers, and Marc Staal had two assists.
The Rangers won despite being outshot 40-19. Florida outshot the
Rangers 15-5 in the first, and 16-6 in the third.
”He was really sharp tonight,” Rangers center Brian Boyle said
about Lundqvist. ”It’s a testament to him that mentally he battled
through it. His skills are world class. He asked us for help and we
didn’t bring it our first period, but after that we tried to clear
them out. He was there the whole 60 minutes.”
Scott Clemmensen stopped 16 shots for Florida. The Panthers have
lost three in a row for the first time this season.
The three losses came during a week-long homestand that also
included games against Pittsburgh and Boston.
”Our effort’s there, for the most part, but we had a real
opportunity this week coming home to really make a statement and we
didn’t,” Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. ”So back to the drawing
Trailing 3-0, Florida pulled its goalie with more than 3 minutes
The Panthers were 0 for 5 on the power play, and have failed to
score in 33 straight chances.
”Until we start scoring, it’s a pretty valid point (to talk
about),” Panthers forward Chris Higgins said. ”We moved the puck
around pretty well, just couldn’t find the back of the net. We had
some opportunities there. We’ve just got to keep pushing. What are
you going to do?”
Florida was shut out for the second time in eight days. The
Panthers lost 4-0 at Boston on Nov. 18.
Florida almost took the lead in the first period when Shawn
Matthias’ wrist shot off a loose puck went off the left post.
The Panthers thought they had scored in the third period when
Higgins banged home a rebound after a flurry of shots from close
range, but the goal was disallowed because of a hand pass.
”I had some luck and some help there at the end with the puck
bouncing everywhere,” Lundqvist said. ”But maybe I deserve a
lucky one after a couple of tough bounces lately.”
Stepan extended his point streak to six games at 10:06 of the
first period right after the Rangers had killed off a penalty.
Stepan put a rebound past Clemmensen after he stopped a wrist shot
from Sean Avery, who had just come out of the penalty box.
Callahan made it 2-0 at 5:24 of the third period with a
beautiful tip of Erik Christensen’s shot on the power play.
Callahan tipped the shot with his back to the net, and the
deflection beat Clemmensen to the far side.
Prust closed out the scoring with a short-handed goal at 14:25.
He beat Clemmensen on a 2-on-1 rush with a wrist shot low to the
It was Prust’s first goal of the season.
”It’s definitely nice, more than 20 games in, to get a goal,”
Prust said. ”Nice to get the monkey off my back.”
The big story, though, was Lundqvist.
”He’s a top-three goalie in the league, for sure,” said
Higgins, who spent part of last season with the Rangers. ”It’s not
really a shock that he played that well. I wish he was off his game
a little bit, though.”
NOTES: The Rangers have scored at least one power-play goal in
four consecutive games. … The victory was the Rangers’ first in
five games against teams from the Southeast Division. … Florida
LW David Booth has now gone 10 games without a goal. … Rangers D
Michal Roszival missed his ninth consecutive game because of a
shoulder injury. … New York LW Derek Boogard sat out the game
with a shoulder injury.