New York Rangers 2 Florida Panthers 1
The first period was fast paced and both teams skated hard. The Panthers looked like a team desperate to make a move and the Rangers looked equally desperate to get above the .500 mark. There weren’t any goals but the Rangers had two REALLY good chances as Dom Moore rang a shot off the post early on then Rick Nash was denied on the break away late in the period. Henrik Lundqvist made some exceptionally great saves to keep the team from going in the hole early. J.T. Miller took the only penalty early in the period for hooking and the Rangers’ penalty kill did their job well. Shots were 6-5 in favor of the Panthers.
Both teams came out hard and three penalties Left the teams in power play mode for nearly the first 7 minutes of the period. The Panthers took the first penalty for interfernce at :36 and the Rangers were unable to convert. At 3:41 the Panthers again took a penalty, this time for holding. The Rangers were again unable to convert. A mere five seconds after the Rangers’ power play ended they went on the penalty kill as the result of a Chris Kreider cross check. After a successful penalty kill the teams played more even strength hockey at the same fast pace. The Panthers struck first at 9:18 off of a poor pass that led to a turnover behind the net and a goal. The Rangers out shot the Panthers 13-9 in the period.
The teams returned to the ice again ready to battle and the intensity was even stronger. The period was fairly uneventful until 7:47 when Brad Richards took a double minor for high sticking that left blood on the ice. The Rangers again went to work on the penalty kill and successfully kept the Panthers off the board. Brian Boyle looked exceptionally good playing short-handed, making smart plays and using his size to his advantage. The glorious moment came when Dan Girardi sent the puck into the twine at 17:50 for his third goal of the season. New life was breathed into the team and Panthers’ goalie Tim Thomas was under fire. The teams managed to end the regulation play tied and forced overtime. The Rangers again out shot the Panthers 9-7.
Five minutes of the same type of play from both sides. The Rangers were fighting and shooting and keeping the puck deep. They maintained pressure on Thomas and allowed only one shot on Lundqvist. Ryan McDonagh was the dominating force through the overtime as he had three of the Rangers four shots in the over time period. Neither team was able to end the game before forcing the shoot out. The Rangers finished the game out shooting the Panthers 31-22 for the game.
Mats Zuccarello- denied
Aleksander Barkov- denied
Derek Stepan- denied
Jonathan Huberdeau- poke check denied
Brad Richards- scores
3) Brad Richards
2) Tim Thomas
1) Henrik Lundqvist
3) Ryan McDonagh- 6 shots, 1 hit, 28:10 TOI, +1
2) Dan Girardi- 3 shots, 1 goal, 2 hits, 28:18 TOI
1) Henrik Lundqvist- 21 saves, .955 save percentage
The Rangers play again on Friday January 3, 2014 at the Penguins.