Rangers outlast Panthers in a back-and-forth affair

SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 1: Radko Gudas #7 of the Florida Panthers pursues Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers as he chases a loose puck during second period action at the FLA Live Arena on January 1, 2023 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 1: Radko Gudas #7 of the Florida Panthers pursues Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers as he chases a loose puck during second period action at the FLA Live Arena on January 1, 2023 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /
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Mika Zibanejad skates against the Rangers during their game against the Florida Panthers
SUNRISE, FL – JANUARY 1: Radko Gudas #7 of the Florida Panthers pursues Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers as he chases a loose puck during second-period action at the FLA Live Arena on January 1, 2023, in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

Well, that was fun. The New York Rangers have managed to hold on to defeat the Florida Panthers in a game that started to act like a seesaw late on. Despite the efforts of the Panthers to get back into this one, New York managed to hurt the Cats on the counter as the beautiful reverse retros would not be able to get back into this one. A strong special teams performance would lead the way for the Blueshirts.

With the Rangers’ powerplay going 2/4 and the penalty kill successfully killing 3/4, there has to be one play that sticks in our minds above everything else and that is the Trocheck play. Rushing back towards his own net to break up a short-handed chance for the Florida Panthers and going the other way to convert the Rangers’ powerplay and score what would turn out to be the game-winning goal for the Blueshirts.

It would not be a game against a former New York Ranger if that former Ranger did not haunt the hockey club so naturally, the 38-year-old Eric Staal tallied a goal and an assist against the Rangers, including the goal that gives him sole position of 65th all-time in the goal-scoring list. His efforts would not be enough as, after his goal, Panarin would put the icing on the cake for the Rangers to run out with a 5-3 victory.

It has to be said that the defensive side of the Rangers game in this one did not inspire. K’Andre Miller in particular really seemed to have an issue against such a high-flying club like the Panthers. Whether that is a one-off or not, the Rangers will need him to be a lot better for their next game back at Madison Square Garden as they take on the blisteringly hot Carolina Hurricanes.

This win for the Rangers put them into the playoff places. New York currently occupies the top wild card spot, pushing the Pittsburgh Penguins down despite the Pens having two extra games to play over the Rangers. This win pushes the New York Islanders out of the playoffs, and that is just a sweet sentence. The Islanders play the Kraken a little later tonight so they will have a chance to re-take that place.

Lafreniere needs to have a big 2023. dark. Next