Rangers battle but rally falls short against Panthers in 4-3 loss

NHL: New York Rangers at Florida Panthers
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers traveled south to take on the Florida Panthers on Friday night. It was a highly offensive contest in which both teams had a plethora of high-danger scoring chances. Both Jonathan Quick and Sergei Bobrovsky impressed in the contest, providing a vintage duel of veteran goaltenders. Unfortunately for New York, Florida would have the edge in this one, winning by a score of 4-3.

In the contest, Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Will Cuylle had goals, while Alexis Lafreniere, Chris Kreider, K’Andre Miller, and Ryan Lindgren registered assists. Jonathan Quick had another impressive outing, making 28 saves on 32 shots.

We’re right back at it tomorrow,” captain Jacob Trouba shrugged off the loss. “The effort was there, we just didn’t get the result we wanted.”

Related: Filip Chytil leaves to recover in Czechia

Florida Panthers 4 vs New York Rangers 3

The Florida Panthers got off to a strong start in this contest. They dominated the first six minutes of play as they had consistent pressure in the Rangers zone. This is largely in part due to the Rangers’ inability to clear the puck out of their own zone.

Nearly five minutes into the period, Jonathan Quick welcomed himself to the game once again. He made one incredible stop followed up by an even better one as he lifted his back leg up in desperation to keep the game scoreless.

The Rangers would get a chance on the power play shortly thereafter, but were unable to capitalize. Jonathan Quick was the story of the game early on. He bailed the Rangers out multiple times as this fast-paced first period moved along.

The Rangers would find themselves on the penalty kill against a struggling Florida power play. The Rangers man-down unit was solid once again, with help from Quick, who made another huge save from a chance right in front of the net.

After another instance in which New York failed to clear their own zone, Florida would capitalize. Evan Rodriguez was able to move in and find a little bit of room over the shoulder of Quick. In what was a heavily dominated period by Florida, the Rangers would head to the locker room down 1-0.

The second frame started with a different narrative, as the Rangers had the majority of the scoring opportunities. They got off to a 7-0 lead in shots to start the period. Once again, Bobrovsky came up big. The battle between these two veteran goalies continued on as the Rangers failed to capitalize on multiple breakaways and high-danger scoring opportunities.

Unfortunately, it was one of those instances where the Rangers dominated play for over seven minutes, yet surrendered a goal on the first shot against them. After a defensive lapse, Sam Reinhart would find the back of the net and prove to everyone why he is Florida’s leading scorer. The Rangers now find themselves down by two.

The Florida Panthers game plan was evidently to pressure the Rangers at all ends of the ice, and it was very noticeable. It was most noticeable on the Rangers second power play of the night, where they did not register a shot on goal. Florida pressed out hard, denying the Rangers a chance to get set up.

After a hard-fought play to keep the puck in the zone by Ryan Lindgren, Alexis Lafreniere was able to set up Artemi Panarin, who cut the deficit to one. The Rangers finally had some life with just over six minutes to play in the second period.

New York would carry that momentum even further. K’Andre Miller stole the puck in the neutral zone and found Will Cuylle, who would even the score. The Rangers now reset the game with two goals in a 1:13 span.

Offensive chances were abundant as this was not a very defensive battle. The Rangers would find themselves shorthanded once again. They would not be able to kill this one off. Sam Reinhart would cash in for the second time tonight off of a deflection from the point, giving Florida a 3-2 lead that they would take into the third period.

The third period saw some line shuffling from Peter Laviolette as he decided to double shift Artemi Panarin, who was undoubtedly the Rangers’ best player to this point. The teams continued to trade chances as this highly offensive game continued. Both Quick and Bobrovsky continued to impress in this battle of veteran goaltenders.

After a controversial call, the Rangers would be sent to the penalty kill once again. On the penalty kill, they would go and score a goal of their own. Chris Kreider would find some room and send the puck across the ice to Mika Zibanejad for a one timer and a shorthanded goal, tying the game at three. He now has points in 17 of his last 18 games.

Just after the penalty expired, however, Florida would regain the lead thanks to a Barclay Goodrow broken stick. Carter Verhague would find the back of the net, giving Florida a 4-3 lead with just over six minutes to play in the third.

Regardless, head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t happy about the check to the head penalty on Lafreniere against Aleksander Barkov.

“You got a guy playing the puck and he takes his head down into the play.,” he said. “No intention to hit him in the head. There should’ve been zero minutes, not two minutes.”

In a game that was very high-paced and filled with offensive chances, Florida would have the edge, winning by a final score of 4-3.

Rangers Notes

  • Jonathan Quick stopped 28 out of 32 shots
  • Mika Zibanejad now has points in nine straight games (8G-8A)
  • Artemi Panarin now has goals in three straight games
  • Alexis Lafreniere has points in four of his last five games (2G-2A)
  • Will Cuylle scored his 7th goal of the season
  • Chris Kreider extended his point streak to five games

The Rangers are right back in action tomorrow night as they head over to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM ET.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh