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Recap: Panthers rally past Rangers for 4-3 victory

Cats long-awaited return to the ice is a winning one

New York Rangers v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The Florida Panthers recaptured some early season magic in its return to the ice after a thirteen-day covid/holiday break with a 4-3 comeback win over the visiting New York Rangers.

Down 2-1 in the third period, the Cats reeled off three straight goals in a 9:44 span to take control of the game before Chris Kreider pulled the Rangers within one with 45 seconds remaining to complete the scoring,

The Rangers jumped on top 11:08 into first when Artemi Panarin took an outlet pass from Ryan Strome, pulled the puck between his skates to get by Aaron Ekblad and slipped a shot underneath Sergei Bobrovsky. Jacob Trouba drew the secondary assist on the highlight reel goal.

Rookie Anton Lundell punched in the rebound of Gustav Forsling shot from left boards, after Ryan Lomberg’s initial backhand attempt sailed wide, to knot the score 5:09 into the second.

Panarin came up with another nifty play to set up the Ranger second goal at the 12:43 mark. After defenseman Libor Hajek held the puck in the zone, Panarin lifted the stick of Radko Gudas to take possession, took a couple strides towards the net and backhanded across to Mika Zibanejad, who easily buried it.

MacKenzie Weegar’s first of the season tied things up 5:56 into the final frame. After taking a pass from Mason Marchment, Weegar missed wide from the right point. Eetu Luostarineen hunted down the loose puck and crossed to Weegar in the slot and this time the defenseman was able to beat Igor Shesterkin.

Forsling and Gudas combined to send Carter Verhaeghe streaking into the Rangers end at high speed and he backed off Adam Fox and snapped a shot from just above the left circle off Shesterkin’s hockey pants and in to put the Cats ahead at 10:31. Real nice pass by Gudas to hit Verhaeghe in stride in the neutral zone.

Anthony Duclair came up with what turned out to be the game-winner by blocking a shot in his own end to start off a 3-on-2 rush. The Duke then got open in the high slot to take a return pass from Sam Bennett and roofed it for his tenth of the campaign with 5;20 remaining in regulation time.

Kreider cleaned up in front after Zibanejad redirected Panarin’s pass off Kaapo Kakko’s body and the puck tumbled into the crease with Shesterkin off for an extra attacker.

Florida killed the remaining 44.4 seconds off the clock to make a winner of Bobrovsky, who stopped 30 New York shots, bringing a three-game losing streak to an end. The Panthers will get right back at it tonight with a homie against the division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning, who they currently trail by four points while holding a game in hand.

Bulls & Bears

  • Aleksander Barkov logged 19:26 of ice time and had two shots on goal after missing 12 of the past 13 games with both a knee and an upper-body injury. Barkov won 61% of the draws he took as the Cats had rare good night in the faceoff department.
  • In addition to his second period helper, Mason Marchment registered two shots and four hits in 12:23 TOI in his return to action after missing 17 games with an upper-body injury.
  • Veteran Patric Hornqvist was credited with a game-high eight hits and put three shots on Rangers keeper Igor Shesterkin, who finished with 28 saves.
  • Artemi Panarin has a nine-game point streak against the Panthers. He has amassed three goals and 13 assists in those games.
  • Libor Hajek’s second period assist was his first point of the season.
  • The Panthers have posted a league-high 15 wins (15-3) on home ice this season.
  • For more on Game 2 of what has been an exciting season series between the Cats and Rangers, visit Blueshirt Banter.

Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)