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Panthers Wrap-Up: Rangers 2, Panthers 1 (SO)

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT SO T
Panthers 0 1 0 0 0-3 1
Rangers 0 0 1 0 1-3 2
FLA - B. Boyes (10)
NYR - D. Girardi (3), SO - B. Richards

SUNRISE —  ( - Henrik Lundqvist outdueled Tim Thomas in a goaltending showcase Tuesday at BB&T Center.

Brad Richards scored the only goal in the shootout, and Lundqvist stopped three attempts, allowing the Rangers to rally for a 2-1 victory against the Florida Panthers.

"We're picking up some momentum, doing some good things. We're a much better team than we were in October. If we keep making strides, that's the direction we want to go."

- Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas
1. Unable To Build On Lead: The Panthers continued their strong play and continued their prowess of getting on the board first. It would take almost half the game to do it but they accomplish the feat for the eighth time in the last nine games. Aleksander Barkov stole the puck behind the Rangers net and found Brad Boyes alone in front. The winger neatly deked and then scored five-hole on Henrik Lundqvist for his 10th of the season with 9:18 gone in the second period. Florida, however had their chances to build on that lead but couldn't as Lundqvist shut the door. The Panthers power play was limited to four shots on three attempts as an attempt came in each period.

2. Late Goal: It looked like Florida would skate away with a 1-0 victory as the time slowly ticked off but the Rangers had other ideas when Dan Girardi stepped into a slap shot with 2:10 remaining, going top shelf on Tim Thomas. Playing in his first game since Dec. 10, Thomas came up big time and time again against the Rangers Tuesday night but couldn't get the last stop. The netiminder came up with some huge stops down the stretch as the Rangers pressed for the equalizer, robbing Anton Stralman off a slap shot with 6:45 left and then Derek Stepan with 2:30 remaining with a right blocker pad. With the score tied and time running out, he denied Ryan McDonough with a right kick save as the defenseman was in close.

3. Extra 2013 Finale: The final game of the 2013 portion of the 2013-14 season would be determined in extra time. After rushes by both sides, including one by Tomas Fleischmann in the dying seconds found nothing, this one would be decided in the shootout. Lundqvist was one save better as Brad Richards won it in the third round after Thomas stopped Mats Zuccarello and Stepan. Lundqvist denied Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and then Boyes to pick up the second point for the Rangers. It was a tough loss as the game could have gone either way but the Panthers picked up point number 17 in the month of December giving them a very good month to get back into the chase.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@ylisalojose: @NYRangers @FlaPanthers But remember Barkov´s amazing pass! #haha

@Samthe13M: Tough loss @FlaPanthers but great effort, looking forward to 2014!

@Jamie__McG: Wow, what a game! @FlaPanthers

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Ronni Kusmin: Go Barkov! Go Barkov! Go Barkov!

Gerri Jessen: That was a great game! Panthers played hard and deserved to win that one. Sorry guys!

Rich Bedford: Barkov played a great game, no complaints here. Keep that up, you're a winner most nights.

4. Helping get the Cats on the board, Aleksander Barkov picked up a point in his fourth straight game, a new career high. The forward now has 19 points on the season, tied for sixth among all NHL rookies.

5, 7. Defenseman Dylan Olsen played a gritty game for the Panthers, picking up a team-high five blocked shots and seven hits as Florida collected 13 and 22 respectively.

10. It seemed to take a while with all the chances he has had but Brad Boyes picked up his 10th goal of the season, the most among Panthers skaters.

17. Despite the loss, the Panthers still had a great month of December, posting 17 points (8-5-1) in the month. The 17 points ties a franchise high, marking the fifth time they've done that in franchise history. The most-recent December they accomplished that was during the 2011-12 season when they went 7-5-0-3.

400. Making his first start since returning from a lower body injury, netminder Tim Thomas played in his 400th career game. The goaltender, who has played in 22 games with the Cats, made 30 stops in the loss.

Henrik Lundqvist
Stopped all three Panthers shooters in the shootout after turning aside 21 in regulation and overtime to propel the Rangers to the extra point.

22 Shots, 21 Saves, .955 SV%
The Cats will have the next three days off before finishing off their five-game home stand on Saturday when they host the Nashville Predators. The teams finish off their season series after the Predators took a 4-3 win in Nashville on Oct. 15th. It will be the second meeting between the second and fourth picks in last summer's NHL Entry Draft as Aleksander Barkov and Seth Jones. Nashville, who plays in Boston Thursday before heading to South Florida is currently seventh in the Central Division with 40 points on an 18-18-4 record. They're led offensively by forwards David Legwand (25 points in 40 games) and Craig Smith (23 points in 37 games). With all-star net minder Pekka Rinne missing most of the season due to an injury, Marek Mazanec and Carter Hutton have split the duties between the pipes. Mazenec has posted a 7-8-1 record with 2.76 GAA and .907 save percentage in 19 games while Hutton has a 7-6-2 record with 3.07 GAA and .901 save percentage in 19 games.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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