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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 3, Rangers 1

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 1 1 1 0 3
Rangers 0 0 1 0 1
FLA - PP - B. Campbell (7), S. Upshall (2), EN - T. Kopecky (12)
NYR - M. Gaborik (9)

NEW YORK, NY —  Jacob Markstrom made a career-high 44 saves as the Florida Panthers left Madison Square Garden with a 3-1 victory against the New York Rangers on Thursday night.

Florida led 2-0 before Marian Gaborik cut the margin to a goal with 3:48 remaining in the third period by scoring his ninth goal of the season. But the Rangers could get not find the tying goal in the final minutes. Tomas Kopecky scored a shorthanded empty-net goal with 45 seconds remaining to seal it.

"It felt great obviously but I think this was a really big test for our team, coming off our win in Carolina, trying to put some games together. We had a great road game tonight and we won so it feels great."

- Panthers goaltender Jacob Markstrom on beating Henrik Lundqvist and the victory.
1. A First Period Lead: When the Panthers have struggled in the past, it has normally been because they got behind early. Florida, hadn't scored the first goal of the game (with the exception of Tuesday night's game which came in the third period) and led after one period of play since March 5 against Winnipeg. They accomplished that feat for the first time in eight games and it all came thanks to the power play which seemed to wake up the last couple of games. With Roman Hamrlik in the box, the Panthers used all of 26 seconds of the man advantage as Jonathan Huberdeau dropped the pass back to TJ Brennan who fed Brian Campbell across the point. The defenseman wound up and blasted a shot past Henrik Lundqvist top shelf 8:22 into the game for his seventh of the season. The Panthers would get a good defensive effort to hold a 1-0 lead after one.

2. Gritting It Out: The duo of Jack Skille and Shawn Matthias have been buzzing all over the ice in the last several games and with Scottie Upshall back in the lineup for his second game, the trio was one of the Panthers best lines throughout the entire game. Skille almost had a goal on the rush and the trio almost scored to make it a 3-0 game in the third. What they did do was make it a 2-0 game with a second period goal thanks to some hard work. Skille sped up the left side and worked his way out from behind the goal line, putting the puck on net. Both Upshall and Matthias were on the doorstep looking for the rebound with Upshall cashing in to give the Cats a two-goal advantage just 4:28 into the second period. The trio (led by Upshall and Matthias' four shots a piece) had 10 of the team's 24 shots on the night.

3. A Prince In New York?...: While the Panthers offense was productive and the defense was solid, Jacob Markstrom was the talk of the night. Playing in a building and city that Lundqvist is called King in, Markstrom outplayed the fellow Swede and for the second game in a row came within minutes of his first NHL shut out. If it wasn't for a Marian Gaborik goal with 3:48 to play, the 23-year old would have foiled the Rangers despite being tested on a career-high 45 shots. He foiled Gaborik late in the second with the Rangers forward on the doorstep and looking to score five-hole. Early in the third, he came up with a big glove save on TJ Miller off a turnover on a Rangers rush. He then stopped two Rangers attempts, including Brad Richards on a rebound from in close. Tomas Kopecky cemented the victory with an empty net goal from his own zone and the Panthers on the penalty kill, allowing Markstrom to celebrate his third victory of the season and second in two straight games.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@BRM_4: Congrats @ScottieUpshall on the @FlaPanthers red MVP hat! Well deserved #RedRising

@flpisces373: @FlaPanthers .@j_markstrom #FlaPanthers #HockeyFansRule Great game guys! You played like hell and earned it!

@MrBelal: @j_markstrom in alien mode tonight! Big win vs the NY Rangers! Watch out @MiamiHEAT, the @FlaPanthers are also streaking! #2InARow

@butterz954: @FlaPanthers @j_markstrom .... WARNING - ALIEN IN BEAST MODE.... YOU WILL LOSE!!!!

@LARRIE14: @FlaPanthers @j_markstrom Really great game tonight by everyone! But especially Markstrom 44 saves - can't ask more than that!

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Carol Campbell: OMG....what a good feeling, another awesome game guys!!!

Kenneth Andersson: Finally a close one where we come out on top, just a neat game to watch. Lets keep working on this, Panthers!

Adam Miller: Good play between the pipes makes all the difference.

Matthew Stewart: Last two games markstrom has had 78 shots against and let in 2 goals! Save the first 3 shots and he settles well keep it coming big fella great game!

Carter Raimondi: Markstrom was great! Good confidence booster for him to win 2 in a row like that as well. 44/45 shots saved is huge.

7. Getting the Panthers on the board, Brian Campbell recorded his seventh goal of the season. With the tally he's tied for the league lead among defensemen in goals. The six power play goals are also tied for a league high.

8. Recording 45 shots on net (a career high that Jacob Markstrom saw), the only goal to beat the Panthers came off the stick of New York forward Marian Gaborik. It was one of his game-high eight shots on the night.

12-2. Paying the price earlier in the game off a shot, Tomas Kopecky was rewarded with his 12th of the season (three off a career high) as he scored a shorthanded goal into the empty net. It was just his second shorthanded goal of his career.

18. The Panthers defense did a great job in helping out Markstrom as they blocked 24 shots. That was 18 more than what the Rangers were able to do. Defenseman Tyson Strachan in fact almost had the Rangers total alone, blocking five shots by himself.

42. It took 56:12 and 42 shots for the Rangers to beat Markstrom and ruin his shut out bid, the second time in two games that the netminder had a shutout in the final five minutes of the game.

Jacob Markstrom
Won back-to-back games for second time in career and has allowed a goal in each of them, having a shutout bid ruined in the final minutes of play.

45 Shots, 44 Saves, .978 SV%
The Panthers will play two games in two days starting Saturday with a game against the New Jersey Devils. It will be the first time the two teams will meet since last season's quarterfinals in Game 7 in Sunrise which New Jersey won in double overtime. The Devils beat the Hurricanes Thursday night, earning the 4-1 victory and the scoring parade actually got started by netminder Marty Brodeur who scored the first goal of the game on a delayed penalty. The Devils are 14-11-6 on the season (tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference). They're led offensively by Patrik Elias (28 points) and Ilya Kovalchuk (27 points).

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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