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game recap

Panthers hand Rangers sixth straight home loss

Aleksander Barkov scores in third period, shootout for Florida

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Aleksander Barkov scored in the shootout to give the Florida Panthers a 4-3 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

Barkov gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead at 7:23 of the third period, and Mats Zuccarello tied it 3-3 at 11:45.

Florida (31-28-11) ended a four-game road losing streak (0-3-1) and moved within five points of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

 

WATCH: All Panthers vs. Rangers highlights

 

"Right now we just need to not look at the standings," Barkov said. "Just play hockey and try to win every game we can."

Zuccarello scored twice, and J.T. Miller scored for the Rangers (44-24-3), who lost their sixth straight home game and are five points out of third place in the Metropolitan Division.

"I said it this morning and I'm going to say it again: 200 by 85 (feet), whether you're here or in [Philadelphia] or anywhere else, it's the same ice surface," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "For 30 minutes we were able to play a real strong game. You have to put 60 minutes together. There's no overthinking about it, it's just as simple as that."

Video: FLA@NYR: Barkov scores lone goal in the shootout

Panther forward Jaromir Jagr had two assists to pass Gordie Howe with his 269th NHL point after turning 40, most in history.

"It's a big honor, no question about it," said Jagr, who turned 45 on Feb. 15. "It's no accident they call him Mr. Hockey, so it's a big honor to me."

The Panthers tied the game 2-2 with second-period goals by Jonathan Huberdeau and Jussi Jokinen.

Huberdeau, playing his 19th game after missing the first four months of the season with an Achilles tendon injury, scored his sixth goal at 1:25 after collecting a rebound of an Alex Petrovic shot that hit the post.

Jokinen scored at 6:41, his 11th goal, off a feed from Thomas Vanek. The Panthers outshot the Rangers 14-8 in the second period and 16-2 after trailing 5-2 in shots to open the game.

Zuccarello made it 1-0 when he completed a three-way passing sequence with Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider on a power play at 2:34 of the first period. Miller scored 1:37 later to reach 20 goals for the second consecutive season. Brendan Smith forced a turnover that set up a give-and-go with Mika Zibanejad that Miller finished by beating James Reimer between his legs for a 2-0 lead.

Reimer made 29 saves and was not scored on in three shootout attempts. Antti Raanta made 34 saves for the Rangers.

 

Goal of the game

Barkov gave the Panthers the lead off a saucer pass from Jagr, who signaled to Huberdeau to give him the puck before following a rush through the neutral zone. Jagr sailed the puck across sprawling Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh to Barkov for the finish.

Video: FLA@NYR: Barkov finishes Jagr's cross-crease dish

 

Save of the game

Reimer robbed Stepan with a glove save to prevent the Rangers from taking a 3-0 lead at 8:44 of the first period. Kevin Hayes' cross-ice feed set up Stepan with New York skating six men on a delayed penalty.

Video: FLA@NYR: Reimer moves across crease to rob Stepan

 

Highlight of the game

Vanek fooled the Rangers defense by faking a shot before finding Jokinen, who scored to tie the game.

Video: FLA@NYR: Jokinen buries PPG off Vanek's terrific feed

 

Unsung performance of the game

Panthers defenseman Michael Matheson had two blocks and three shots on goal in a game-high 25:21 of ice time, including 3:32 shorthanded.

 

They said it

"We just didn't come out the way we wanted. Kudos to the guys for responding, being resilient and coming back. It showed some of the character we have." -- Panthers goalie James Reimer

 

"I just told the guys, 'Listen, we'll be fine. We've got so much game left.' I said just calm down, relax and get back to playing our game, and that's what they did. -- Panthers coach Tom Rowe on calling timeout trailing 2-0 in the first period

 

Need to know

Rangers forward Jesper Fast played 11:21 after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. … Kreider had an assist to extend his point streak to five games, tying an NHL career high (two goals, four assists). … Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad (concussion) missed his third consecutive game and is expected to be sidelined another week.

 

What's next

Panthers: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday (1 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, ROOT, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Rangers: At the Minnesota Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-N, FS-WI, MSG, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Barkov lifts Panthers to 4-3 win with shootout goal

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