The Florida Panthers put forth a solid effort for most of last night’s 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers, but a costly (and unnecessary) cross-checking penalty by Nick Cousins late in the first period led to a power-play one-timer from Mika Zibanejad that gave the Rangers a lead they simply would not relinquish. Zibanejad would also score New York’s fifth tally, 14 seconds after Alexis Lafrenière made it 4-1 with a greasy goal from the crease.
The efficient Rangers made Alex Lyon look every bit the AHL call-up, beating him five times on 25 shots. On the other side, Igor Shesterkin looked every bit the top-flight NHL goaltender by stopping 33 of 35 Florida shots, including all 14 in the middle frame.
Shesterkin’s strong second period performance coupled with Jimmy Vesey’s rebound goal at 15:03 put the frustrated Panthers in a two-goal hole.
The Cats got a first period power-play goal from Carter Verhaeghe, assisted by Anton Lundell and Eetu Luostarinen, that tied the score and a third period Aleksander Barkov marker, which came with the Panthers four down and Lyon off for an extra attacker. Matthew Tkachuk and Brandon Montour collected the helpers on Barkov’s goal.
Both were nice goals, with Verhaeghe and Barkov each taking the puck off their skates before deftly finishing, but simply not enough.
Adam Fox opened the scoring with a breakaway goal and Filip Chytil completed it with an empty-netter.
Tough night for the Panthers, who failed to gain any ground on their next opponent, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Bulls & Bears
- First Star Mika Zibanejad’s first period goal was his 250th in the NHL. Zibanejad would score agian later and also had an assist on Adam Fox’s goal for a three-point night.
- In addition to Zibanejad, New York got multipoint games from Adam Fox (1G/2A), Artemi Panarin (3A), Alexis Lafrenière (1G/1A), Filip Chytil (1G/1A) and Kaapo Kakko (2A).
- Carter Verhaeghe (4G/2A) and Anton Lundell (3G/3A) each extended their point streaks to five games while Sam Reinhart saw his seven-game run come to an end.
- With his third period assist, Matthew Tkachuk became the first Panther and eighth NHLer to hit sixty points this season.
- The Cats went 1 for 2 with the man-advantage while the Rangers went 1 for 1. Florida leads the league with 16 power-play goals since January 1.
- Florida saw its five-game (4-0-1) point streak ended in the Big Apple. Read more about it at Blueshirt Banter.