Recat: What Moore Could You Want?
Florida put up one of the best efforts of the season, but exit Madison Square Garden with zero points.
Florida outshot the Rangers, 98 to 52 on the night, but sadly posted only one goal to two for the Rangers. Dan Ellis had another great effort in relief of the Panther's top two netminders, but could not continue the magic. Although it ended in defeat, it was one of the grittiest efforts I've ever seen from this band of merry misfits.
The first period would see each team put forth some solid effort. The clubs matched intensity although the Panthers did not get a shot on goal until the 10 minute mark, by Brandon Pirri. Derek MacKenzie was called for hooking at the seven minute mark, but the Panthers cleared it out seven times. In two minutes. I don't think I've ever seen the Panthers clear it so many times so quickly. Anyway, the Rangers also went seven minutes without a shot later, ending when the Panthers launched a fruitless power play of their own. James Sheppard scored his sixth marker of the campaign (and first with the Rangers) at the 17:44 mark. The goal was the result of a continued scramble in front of Dan Ellis. Assists were earned on the play by Dominic Moore and Matt Hunwick.
In the second, both teams started out by putting a barrage of shots on each others' goaltenders, combining for 10 in the first four minutes (six by New York). Florida continued the assault on Cam Talbot, averaging a shot on goal per minute through the entire frame, but still couldn't solve him. Jaromir Jagr, Aleksander Barkov, and Jonathan Huberdeau deserve a special mention here, as the three combined for about five quality chances on three shifts. The Rangers countered with another half dozen shots through the final 16 minutes of the period, but neither team could make the damage count.
Jesper Fast added to the Panthers' misery at the 8:37 lead, doubling the Rangers lead with assists from Hunwick and Moore, the second helper for each of them on the night. It was Fast's fourth marker of the season. The Panthers regained a little hope two minutes later when Brandon Pirri wired home his 15th of the season right between Talbot's wickets. Nick Bjugstad had won the faceoff, which Pirri smoked past the goalie with zero hesitation. Soon after, Erik Gudbranson was taken down but there was no penalty, followed by a Dave Bolland slashing call, which was also highly bogus. The resultant Rangers power play didn't do any damage. Despite a two-minute power play late in the game, with the goalie pulled for a six-on-four effort, the Panthers couldn't close the gap.