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Rangers Road Trip Continues Against Panthers

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL. - After a dramatic beginning to their four-game road trip, the Rangers face the Panthers just 24 hours after Monday's win over the Lightning.

Mika Zibanejad's goal with 1:04 remaining in overtime in Monday's 1-0 win over Tampa helped preserve a brilliant effort from goaltender Antti Raanta and get the Rangers (42-22-2, 86 pts) going on their current trip through Florida.

Raanta turned in a 38-save shutout, which was the most saves he's made in a shutout in his career. The shutout was his third of the season, which established a new career-high, while his 13th victory of the year tied his career-best.

"It's been feeling good," Raanta said after Monday's match. "Even though there has been little breaks. All Star break, [I was] hurt, that kind of stuff. We just have been doing the right things in practice. When you get the chance to get the game, you just focus hard and just try to keep yourself going there."

Zibanejad's overtime goal was his second such tally since Feb. 25 against the Devils. And like that goal, Zibanejad was able to find open space and capitalize on a breakaway.

"I think you get those types of opportunities in overtime, you want to take advantage of it," Zibanejad said. "I'm glad I was able to do that."

Henrik Lundqvist is expected to get the start Tuesday in Sunrise against the Panthers. Lundqvist is 22-10-2 with five shutouts against Florida in his career. In his last 21 appearances dating back to Nov. 25, 2009, Lundqvist is 15-5-1 with two shutouts.

New York and Florida have not faced each other since the Panthers left The Garden with a 3-2 shootout win at The Garden.

The Rangers have held the edge over the Panthers as of late, winning eight of the last 10, and 13 of the last 18.

After going 6-1 to begin February following the return of several key forwards to the lineup, the Panthers (29-24-11, 69 pts) have dipped over the last three weeks, going 1-4-1 in their last six. Despite the rocky stretch, Florida finds themselves just two points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 69 points, two behind the Islanders entering play Tuesday.

Vincent Trocheck leads the team with 22 goals and 43 points, while former Ranger Keith Yandle leads the team with 29 assists in 64 games. The ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr is having a down year with just 12 goals and 35 points in 64 contests.

Winger Jonathan Huberdeau has made an immediate impact to the lineup following an injury that cost him the first four months of the season. He has five goals and 12 points in 13 games since returning in early February.

James Reimer has become the Panthers' No. 1 netminder as of late but has had trouble finding himself on the winning side of games. He enters Tuesday's game 0-3-1 in his last four decisions, most recently a loss Saturday against the Dallas Star. He's 12-9-4 with a 2.42 GAA and a .922 SV%.

Roberto Luongo is 17-15-6 with a 2.68 GAA and a .915 SV% with one shutout.

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