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Surging Rangers ready to host Panthers

by Brian Compton /
PANTHERS (21-21-5) at RANGERS (29-19-3)

TV: Fox Sports-Florida, MSG.

Last 10: Florida 3-4-3; New York 6-4-0.

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. The Panthers avenged a 3-0 loss to the Rangers on Nov. 26 by coming up with a 3-0 victory of their own on Jan. 2 at the BankAtlantic Center.

Big Story: Injuries to several key players haven't slowed the Rangers down one bit. Without regulars such as Brandon Dubinksky, Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi in the lineup Monday night, New York still found a way to earn two points in the standings in a 2-1 shootout victory at Washington. The win pulled the Rangers within two points of the No. 5 Capitals in the Eastern Conference. They're also now just three behind the fourth-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins.

"We grind. We have confidence we can wear teams down," Rangers forward Brian Boyle said.

Team Scope:

Panthers: Florida has struggled as of late, as it enters Tuesday's action having lost four consecutive games (0-1-3). The Panthers were never really in Sunday's game, a 5-2 loss at New Jersey. Coach Peter DeBoer is hopeful his club can enter the All-Star break on a winning note. Florida will also visit Boston on Wednesday night.

"We've got to focus our attention on the details," DeBoer told the Sun-Sentinel. "Our work ethic has to be good. We've got an opportunity to relax a few days during the All-Star break, but we've got some business to take care of.''

Rangers: They couldn't generate any offense in the first 53:19 of Monday's game, but Marian Gaborik erased a 1-0 deficit with 6:41 remaining in the third period before Artem Anisimov won it for the Blueshirts in the shootout against Braden Holtby and the Capitals. New York is now 8-3 in games that require more than regulation time.

"It's going to be like this for the next 2 1/2 months," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "We're happy we're grabbing some points here."

Who's Hot: Panthers defenseman Dennis Wideman has three goals in his last seven contests. ... Gaborik's goal on Monday night was his 16th of the season and fifth in four games.
Injury Report: For the Panthers, Chris Higgins (hamstring) and Dmitry Kulikov (ribs) are day-to-day. Byron Bitz (sports hernia) and Bryan McCabe (broken jaw, finger) are out. … The injury-plagued Rangers will be without Dubinsky (leg), Callahan (hand), Vinny Prospal (knee), Ruslan Fedotenko (shoulder), Alex Frolov (knee), Erik Christensen (knee) and Derek Boogaard (concussion). Girardi (rib) is questionable after missing his first game of the season on Monday.

Stat Pack: Rangers forward Wojtek Wolski has three goals and six points in eight games since the team acquired him earlier this month from Phoenix.

Puck Drop: "It's such a great quality of the club that we just stay with it. There's no panic on the bench. I'm not saying we're going to be successful all the time, but it's a good feeling to have when a team just stays with it. They deserve a lot of credit." -- Rangers coach John Tortorella
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