Barclay Goodrow’s OT goal lifts Rangers to 2-1 Game 2 win against Panthers

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Florida Panthers at New York Rangers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Barclay Goodrow’s goal at 14:01 of overtime lifted the New York Rangers to a thrilling 2-1 win against the Florida Panthers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

The dramatic victory evened the best-of-7 series 1-1 heading to Florida for Game 3 on Sunday afternoon.

Goodrow was on the ice to take a defensive-zone face off and then ended up on the receiving end of a give-and-go with Vincent Trocheck in the offensive zone and whipped a quick shot that beat Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to the blocker side.

“He’s one of those guys that gets teams to win,” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said about Goodrow, who’s a two-time Stanley Cup champion.

The Rangers are 3-0 in overtime during these playoffs, and the Panthers dropped to 1-1 in overtime. Bobrovsky had won an NHL record-tying 12 consecutive overtime games until losing this one.

Trocheck scored New York’s other goal in an electric game where both teams were at the top of their respective games.

Igor Shesterkin finished with 25 saves, including five in overtime. His counterpart, Bobrovsky, made 29 saves, and also had five in overtime.

Carter Verhaeghe scored Florida’s only goal, on the power play.

Related: Kaapo Kakko scratched for Rangers in Game 2 against Panthers

New York Rangers 2 – Florida Panthers 1 (OT)

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Florida Panthers at New York Rangers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers stormed out of the gates and got the exact start they wanted coming off the shutout loss in Game 1. On their toes, playing fast and physical, the Rangers hardly let the Panthers collect themselves after the opening face off. And it paid off when the Rangers opened the scoring with their first goal of the series just 4:12 into the first period.

Alexis Lafreniere’s hit caused a turnover in the offensive zone, creating a 2-on-1 down low. Adam Fox made a perfect read and slid a pass to a wide-open Trocheck for a slam dunk goal, his seventh of the playoffs, to make it 1-0.

A scrum immediately followed and the Rangers came out of it with the game’s first power play. With all of the momentum on their side and The Garden rocking, the Rangers failed to capitalize on the man advantage, due in large part to Bobrovsky’s sharp save on Mika Zibanejad’s left-wing one-timer at 5:03.

Shortly after the failed power play, Artemi Panarin was denied in tight on the backhand when Bobrovsky slid to his right to make a pad save at 7:50.

The Rangers went right back to the power play at 9:50 when Dmitry Kulikov received a two-minute minor for interference after wiping out Alex Wennberg with a late open-ice hit, which, at first, appeared to be worthy of a five-minute major for a hit to the head. A video review determined no major penalty was warranted.

Florida did an excellent job killing off the penalty, and even had the best scoring chance on Sam Reinhart’s partial break while shorthanded that Shesterkin picked off.

From that point on, the Panthers tilted the ice in their favor, piling up zone time and scoring chances. Shesterkin made a sharp shoulder stop on a deflected Evan Rodrigues shot at 12:49. A minute later, Ryan Lomberg hammered Zibanejad with an open-ice hit. And at 18:09 the Panthers pulled even on the scoreboard.

The Panthers tied it 1-1 on their first power play of the game. Verhaeghe danced around Wennberg then wristed a low shot through a Rodrigues screen and between Shesterkin’s pads for his eighth postseason goal.

That 1-1 score held up through an entertaining, fast-paced, yet scoreless, second period. Wennberg rang a right-wing shot off the post at 7:28 for New York and Aleksander Barkov caught iron after beating Sheterkin clean off a give-and-go with Vladimir Tarasenko at 17:13. In between, there was great defense, hard-hitting and some Grade-A saves for each team in this battle of heavyweights.

The Rangers failed to score on a 4-on-3 power play, with Bobrovsky delivering a key 1-2 punch of saves off a Fox shot and Chris Kreider rebound at 14:12. Shesterkin’s best stop of the period was a right-pad beauty after Brandon Montour got a step around the backchecking Will Cuylle at 11:29.

Florida headed to a power play that bridged the second and third periods and not only didn’t score, but a Verhaeghe high-sticking penalty 29 seconds into the third put the teams at 4-on-4 before the Rangers had a brief power play, that came up empty.

During that 4-on-4, Florida’s Anton Lundell got behind everyone, broke in on Shesterkin but his shot was turned aside by the blocker. Each team followed with surges, but Florida missed the best scoring opportunity.

Sam Reinhart, who scored 57 goals in the regular season chipped a Barkov pass down low wide of the net at 9:50 with Shesterkin scrambling. Then at 14:02, Shesterkin made a huge pad save to deny an open Matthew Tkachuk. A minute later, Bobrosvky came up big denying a Lafreniere left-wing blast.

When the horn sounded five minutes later, the Rangers and Panthers remained tied 1-1 with New York up 25-22 in shots and Florida up 29-28 in scoring chances. Two great teams as dead even as you could imagine, competing at an elite level, heading to overtime.

And in that extra session, the Rangers started fast, the Panthers counterpunched and Filip Chytil was robbed of a game-winner when his shot towards an empty net was blocked by Oliver Ekman-Larsson at 10:56.

That all set the stage for Goodrow to play the role of overtime hero.

It was not only an extremely evenly-played game, but it was more physical than Game 1. The Rangers held a 51-42 edge in hits, including nine by Matt Rempe, who returned to the lineup and replaced Kaapo Kakko, who was scratched.

The physical nature of the game did take a toll, though. Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey sustained an upper-body injury when Lomberg delivered a clean hard shoulder-to-shoulder check in the second period. Vesey didn’t return and his status moving forward is undetermined.

With the series moving to Florida for the next two games, it’s now a best-of-5 series. The Rangers are 4-1 on the road and the Panthers are 4-2 at Amerant Bank Arena.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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