NEW YORK (AP) _ Jaromir Jagr had a three-point night in his home debut for
the New York Rangers, setting up Brian Leetch's tiebreaking score and adding a
third-period goal and assist in a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on
Jagr, acquired Friday from Washington, enjoyed his home debut much more than
his first game with the Rangers _ a 9-1 drubbing in Ottawa on Saturday that he
At least for a while, he lifted the negative energy that filled Madison
Square Garden. He brought fans out of their seats to cheer his first Rangers
goal, 17th of the season, that made it 3-1 at 33 seconds of the third.
Jagr got to a rebound of Eric Lindros' shot and smoothly backhanded the puck
in from the edge of the crease. He also assisted on Matthew Barnaby's empty-net
Byron Ritchie pulled Florida within one 80 seconds after Jagr scored, but
the Rangers held on to earn their eighth victory in 10 against the Panthers
Petr Nedved and Mark Messier also scored for New York, which snapped a
four-game losing streak and six-game winless streak (0-4-2) and moved two
points ahead of Florida for 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
That disappointing standing and the anticipation of a seventh straight
non-playoff season had fans booing before the first puck was dropped.
The Rangers scored three straight against Florida goalie Roberto Luongo, the
All-Star who was coming off a 43-save effort Saturday in a victory at Boston.
Luongo made 33 saves.
Jussi Markkanen rebounded from allowing six goals on 19 shots against Ottawa
to make 38 saves in his second straight start for Rangers regular Mike Dunham,
sidelined by a concussion.
Kristian Huselius gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead 9:03 into the second, but
Messier tied it with his 14th goal _ off an assist by Leetch _ 1:19 later.
Huselius' goal was set up after Darcy Hordichuk landed a hard hit on Jagr in
the Florida zone, separating him from the puck.
Jed Ortmeyer was instrumental in getting the Rangers even when he beat the
Panthers down ice to negate an icing call and then found Messier in front with
a nice pass.
Leetch made it 2-1 when he ripped a shot in, after the Rangers kept the
pressure on 2:20 after a power play ended. Nedved made it 4-2 with 3:26 left.