NEW YORK – We have ourselves a series.

Heading back to Sunrise with the Eastern Conference Final tied 1-1, the Florida Panthers suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Rangers in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

Game 3 is set for Sunday at Amerant Bank Arena at 3 p.m. ET.

“It’s tough to lose in overtime, but [we went] 1-1 in their building,” Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad said. “They came out really, really explosive tonight, and that’s what we expected. We lost a really tight game. We’ll move on. We’ve got a quick turnaround.”

With the loss, the Panthers snapped an 11-game winning streak in overtime in the playoffs.

“I’m fine with tonight,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said. “You shouldn’t come in and beat the Presidents’ Trophy team twice in their own building. You really shouldn’t. We got that one to overtime. We were in alone a bunch of times there, couldn’t get it to go. Two really good goaltenders at each end. This is an exciting series with exciting hockey.”

Getting off to a much better start than they did in Game 1, the Rangers broke the ice in the first period when Vincent Trocheck tapped in a dish from Adam Fox to make it 1-0 at 4:12.

Following the goal, a big scrum ensued with all players on the ice getting involved.

After killing off a second penalty around the midway point of the period, the Panthers seemed to finally swing momentum in their favor. Following some very good shifts, Carter Verhaeghe cashed in on the power play with a snipe from the slot to make it 1-1 at 18:09.

On the goal, Evan Rodrigues blinded Igor Shesterkin with a perfect screen.

Verhaeghe evens the score at 1-1 in the first period.

Heading into Game 2, Maurice said the Rangers would have the emotional advantage as they looked to bounce back from a loss in Game 1. That certainly looked to be the case early in the game, but as we’ve seen so many times the Panthers battened down the hatches and weathered the storm.

“They were all over us in the first period,” Verhaeghe said. “They lost the first game and had the home crowd behind them. We weathered it. They got one, but it was a good response. To go into the second tied, the game was there.”

In the second period, the penalty kill continued to shine for the Panthers.

Taking the wind out of New York’s sails, the Panthers survived 1:25 of a 4-on-3 advantage for the Rangers, a sequence in which they surrendered just three shots on goal. On that kill, Bobrovsky was particularly in zone, making consecutive stops on Chris Kreider from in tight.

Through the first two games of the series, Florida is 6-for-6 on the PK.

“It’s predicated on pressure,” said Ekblad, who saw 3:37 of shorthanded ice time in Game 2. “At the end of the day, that’s one of the top power plays in the league. We’re just trying to find a way to limit their chances. Bob’s making huge saves."

In the third period, the action remained tight as the cheers and groans from the crowd came in waves with both teams mustering their fair share of oh-so-close goals. The Panthers led 9-5 in scoring chances in the period, giving them a 0.64-0.35 edge in expected goals.

But with both goaltenders standing tall, the game eventually got to overtime.

With the Rangers staring net wide open after a rebound, Oliver Ekman-Larsson briefly saved the day in the extra frame when he got in the lane and blocked a shot from Filip Chytil with his backside, which was one of 23 blocked shots for the Panthers.

Playing the role of hero for the Rangers at 14:01 of overtime, Barclay Goodrow took a centering feed from Trocheck and ripped a shot from the slot into the top of the twine for the 2-1 win.

Prior to the goal, the Rangers touched the puck with a high stick during their trip through the neutral zone. Unfortunately, according to the NHL, missed stoppages can only be reviewed if they occur in the offensive zone.

Nobody said it was going to be easy.

“They’re a really good team,” Verhaeghe said. “We didn’t expect to win every game. They came out strong. We got the split. We’ll go home and refocus.”


“I thought we held the fort well, 1-1 [at the end of the first period. It’s a tough game. It came down to the wire in overtime. I liked our response. We knew they were going to come out hard.” – Aaron Ekblad

“That’s what happens when you get the two best teams in the conference. It’s going to be a battle. They’re playing hard defense; we’re playing hard defense. It’s tough to get chances. It was a tight game.” – Carter Verhaeghe

“It is what it is. It’s two good teams playing hockey. They played good. They’re a good team. It’s a good win for them.” – Sergei Bobrovsky

“I thought this would be a game that would be a real challenge to manage, but I was really happy with the way we did. They had the first 10 minutes. We talked about that this morning in here. They’re going to have a piece of the game they own.” – Paul Maurice


- Sergei Bobrovsky’s personal overtime winning streak in the playoffs ends at 12 games.

- Since the start of the playoffs in 2023, Carter Verhaeghe’s 15 playoff goals are second to only Matthew Tkachuk (16) and Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (22) for the most in the stretch.

- Every single skater for the Panthers recorded at least one hit.

- Gustav Forsling blocked a team-high four shots.

- Anton Lundell has recorded at least one point in three of his last five games.


It’s our turn to defend home ice.

Looking to go back up in the series, the Panthers will host the Rangers for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amerant Bank Arena on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.

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