Rangers bad third period costs them against Panthers

new york rangers players
Dec 29, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) celebrates with left wing Artemi Panarin (10) and right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers got back to work against the Florida Panthers as both were off for 11 and 12 days respectively.

Sergei Bobrovsky kept his team in for two periods, which allowed the Panthers to find their game in the final stanza. The Rangers played one bad period and it cost them big time.

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Recap: Rangers vs Panthers

The first period started off as expected with a little bit of a feeling process, but it didn’t take long to see who the better team was. New York put 15 shots on goal to Florida’s 12 and also drew two power plays. For the most part, the Rangers had the more dangerous chances and would finally cash in 11:08 into the period.

panthers vs rangers
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Jacob Trouba would make a quick pass behind his own net to Ryan Strome, who hit a streaking Artemi Panarin at center ice. That set up a one on one matchup against Aaron Ekblad and the Breadman would make a pretty move to put a backhand past his best friend Sergei Bobrovsky for a 1-0 lead.

“Great energy – a lot of fun doing what we love doing,” Strome said. ” I looked up and Bread had a lot of space.”

In the second period, the Panthers started to slowly find their legs and tied the game 5:09 in on a goal by Anton Lundell. Igor Shesterkin, who showed signs of rust after not playing in 26 days gave up a big rebound for the rookie to knot it up.

Panarin would give the Blueshirts a 2-1 lead by making a great steal and feeding Mika Zibanejad, who was flying in from the bench. For Panarin it was his second point of the contest, while Zibanejad extended his point streak to three games (3 G – 2 A).

“I’ve been practicing it the last 3 days,” Panarin said of his nifty tally. “I see them doing it at the World Juniors, I see Kreids doing it, I wonder, why am I not doing it?”

One bad period

New York gave up way too much ice in the final stanza and that allowed the Panthers to get a lot of chances on Shesterkin. However, the Rangers had a brief sequence where Strome hit the post that would’ve given them a crucial two goal lead. It proved to be costly.

MacKenzie Weegar evened the game at two apiece 5:56 in. The Panthers would take the lead off a shot by Carter Verhaege with 9:29 to play. It was definitely a goal Shesterkin would like to have back.

Former Ranger Anthony Duclair scored the killer with a beautiful wrist shot in the high slot for a 4-2 lead with 5:19 remaining. It would be exactly what Florida needed to pick up a big victory on home ice.

Chris Kreider scored his 19th of the season with Shesterkin pulled for the extra attacker at 44 seconds. However, time ran out on the Rangers as they picked up their fifth loss in their last seven games.

It was also their first regulation loss after taking a lead into the third period this season (10-1-3).

Notable Rangers

  • Igor Shesterkin gave up four goals on 32 shots
  • Artemi Panarin picked up two points and leads the team with 35
  • Chris Kreider picked up his 19th goal of the year
  • Mika Zibanejad’s two points gives him 6 in his last three (3G – 3A)
  • Libor Hajek picked up his first point of the season on Zibanejad’s goal

Tomorrow (Thursday, Dec. 30): Practice at Amalie Arena (1:00 PM ET)

Next Game: Friday, Dec. 31 at Tampa Bay Lightning (7:00 PM ET – TV: MSG+)

*Schedule subject to change

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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