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Panthers turn third-period rally into win over New York Rangers

NHL.com @NHL

NEW YORK - David Booth and Nathan Horton scored on consecutive shots a minute apart in the third period to rally the Florida Panthers to a key 2-1 victory over the Rangers on Thursday night, spoiling New York coach John Tortorella's home debut.

For the second straight night, the Rangers took a 1-0 lead into the third period only to end up with a 2-1 loss.

Tortorella, who served a four-game winless interim stint as Rangers coach at the end of the 1999-2000 season, replaced the fired Tom Renney on Monday and lost the debut of his second stint Wednesday at Toronto.

New York got a point then by getting to a shootout.

This time, New York ended up with nothing despite a 41-22 shots advantage.

Florida and the Rangers are tied for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 70 points. New York still can't break out of the slide in which it has dropped 12 of 14 (2-8-4), a skid that cost Renney his job.

Craig Anderson, subbing for Tomas Vokoun who missed his second straight game due to an ear infection, was sharp in making 40 saves.

He stopped defenceman Paul Mara at the right post in the third as New York pushed for a 2-0 lead and earned his first win since Dec. 11 - a 10-game span.

Henrik Lundqvist was victimized by Booth's backhander from the right circle that beat him between the pads with 8:10 left. Horton struck at 12:50 after Richard Zednik found him in front with a pass.

Markus Naslund had the Rangers' lone goal, connecting 7:34 into the game.

New York nearly jumped in front just 17 seconds after the opening faceoff when Mara, making a surprisingly early return to the lineup following a shoulder injury, fired a puck from the right point.

Brandon Dubinsky tipped the shot past Anderson, with his stick appearing to be below the crossbar, but referee Bill McCreary disallowed the goal without having the play reviewed by video.

The Rangers finally grabbed the lead at 7:34 with a goal that went to video review and stood.

Dmitri Kalinin sent a pass to Scott Gomez, who raced down the middle of the Florida zone and got off a shot. Anderson made the save, but Naslund crashed the net and knocked the rebound with his stick off his left skate and into the net.

After giving up only 12 shots to the Maple Leafs through two periods Wednesday, the Rangers came back with a defensive effort that limited Florida to 16 in 40 minutes.

New York recorded 30 shots in that span on Anderson, but again had only one goal to show for it in the new uptempo, pressing attack employed by Tortorella.

Notes: McCreary left the game 50 seconds into the third period and walked down the tunnel to the dressing room, appearing to favour his right leg. Eric Furlatt served as the lone referee for the rest of the game. ... The Rangers' season high for shots in a period is 20, done twice. The most recent was the second period at New Jersey on Nov. 20. ... Panthers LW Cory Stillman injured an ankle Thursday morning and didn't play. LW Nick Tarnasky took his place. ... Mara, who missed five games after hurting his right shoulder while throwing a punch, replaced D Erik Reitz. Rangers RW Fredrik Sjostrom (face) was replaced by LW Aaron Voros.

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