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Nash's third goal lifts Rangers past Panthers in OT

by Alain Poupart /

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Rick Nash found his scoring touch Saturday, helping the New York Rangers continue their dominance of the Florida Panthers.

Nash scored his third goal of the game on the power play at 2:01 of overtime and the Rangers withstood a late Florida rally to win 5-4 at BB&T Center.

"As I struggle to find my numbers, I just try to make a power move, hold on to pucks and really try to simplify," Nash said. "It seems to work out."

With Florida serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice, Nash beat Roberto Luongo with a wrist shot from the right circle. Nash, who scored a career-high 42 goals last season, had two in New York's first 19 games.

"There's no doubt Rick Nash played one of his better games this year,"���Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "Time will tell [whether this was a breakout game]. He had a good game tonight, and we'll see if he can follow it up."

Mats Zuccarello had a goal and two assists for his third three-point performance in five games. Viktor Stalberg also scored for the Rangers (15-3-2), who have won seven straight against Florida. New York matched its longest current winning streak against any opponent, tying seven-game runs against the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes.

Henrik Lundqvist made 39 saves. He entered the game as the first Rangers goalie since 1930-31 to allow two goals or fewer in 10 consecutive road appearances.

"Hank made some big saves,"���Zuccarello said. "Hank was Hank tonight. There's no secret there."

The Rangers rebounded after having their nine-game winning streak ended Thursday with a 2-1 loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning.

New York led 4-2 before Florida got late goals from Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr in a 39-second span with Luongo pulled for an extra attacker each time. Barkov scored with 2:28 remaining in the third period and Jagr fired home a wrist shot with 1:49 to play.

Jagr's 730th career goal moved him one behind Marcel Dionne for fourth place on the NHL's all-time list.

"How many times does it happen, you pull the goalie, you score two goals?"���Jagr said. "It was a great call by our coach to pull him with a lot of time. Not many guys do that."

Florida forward Reilly Smith was awarded a penalty shot seven seconds after Jagr's tying goal when he was tripped by Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle on a breakaway, but Lundqvist got a piece of his shot after being deked to the ice.

"I���just tried try to focus and not think about the consequences and just concentrate on stopping that shot,"���Lundqvist said. "When you give up a lead late, sometimes it's shocking. But you try to calm down and focus on what you need to do. It's still a tie game and there's two points to be won."

Jussi Jokinen had a goal and an assist, and Nick Bjugstad also scored for the Panthers (8-8-4), who haven't defeated the Rangers since winning 3-2 on April 23, 2013. Luongo made 26 saves, and Brandon Pirri and Aaron Ekblad each had two assists.

"There was no quit,"���Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "I was really proud of our guys tonight because we played one of the fastest teams in the league and we kept up with them and we probably pushed the pace more than they did tonight. I was really happy with our play."

Rangers forward Chris Kreider was stopped on a penalty shot 6:15 into the game. He became the first player in team history with a penalty shot in consecutive games after also failing to score against Tampa Bay on Thursday.

"It hit his knob,"���������Kreider said of Luongo's save. "He was pretty much beat. I don't know what else I���������can do. Sick record. I don't know. Hopefully the next one goes in."

The game was tied 2-2 after two periods, as Nash twice gave the Rangers the lead before the Panthers answered.

Zuccarello made it 3-2 at 10:10 of the third period, scoring his 10th goal of the season on a breakaway after Derek Stepan intercepted a pass in midair in his own zone and hit Zuccarello in stride at the Florida blue line. Zuccarello beat Luongo with a backhand-to-forehand deke.

Stalberg made it 4-2 at 12:14 when he took a pass from Oscar Lindberg in the slot and beat Luongo with a low shot to the glove side.

Barkov scored on the power play when he put home a rebound from close range, and Jagr tied the game with a wrist shot over Lundqvist's glove.

"It was a tough last three minutes,"���������Nash said. "Our team doesn't give up leads. We keep things tight when we have the lead. I thought it was exciting hockey. We don't want to win games that way. We want to put teams away when we're up 4-2. The main thing is we got two points on the road."

Nash opened the scoring 11:08 into the game, taking a pass from defenseman Ryan McDonagh and flipping the puck past Luongo. Florida tied it at 6:46 of the second after some good forechecking kept the puck deep in the Rangers' zone when Bjugstad redirected a pass from Pirri between Lundqvist's legs.

The Rangers regained the lead at 13:22 when Nash grabbed a loose puck in the defensive zone, skated down left wing, fought off a checking attempt by Bjugstad and beat Luongo with a short-range shot to the short side.

Jokinen tied it at 17:57 with a power-play goal when he tipped Pirri's slap shot from the top of the right circle. Florida came in tied with the Boston Bruins for most power-play goals at home with 11.

"You have to give Florida credit; they moved the puck really well. It was a tough game from the get-go, especially the power play," Lundqvist said. They moved the puck really well and created a lot of chances.

"We need to learn from this. We have parts where we played really well, we should feel good about that, but there's also areas where we need to improve."

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