Rangers will need to fend off ‘growly’ Panthers in Game 4

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

The New York Rangers withstood a barrage of shots from the Florida Panthers in Game 3, ultimately stealing a win on a deflection-goal by Alex Wennberg in overtime. As they look to take a commanding series lead in the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday, they’ll need to fend off an angry home team trying to even things up.

“A lot of times in the playoffs it’s about making sure you keep that energy full. You cut off losses and let it go,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said Sunday. “But then there’s times you want to keep it, eat it, and let it burn for a while to find a different energy source. I think you put up whatever we put up, and you don’t come away with a win we should be a little growly.”

Florida let fly 108 shot attempts to New York’s 44. However, only 37 made it towards Igor Shesterkin, who was stellar turning aside 33 of them. On the other end, Sergei Bobrovsky only faced 23 shots, but let in five goals. Which speaks to the argument of quality over quantity.

By scoring two highlight-reel goals, one of which is a candidate for best goal of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alexis Lafreniere was the offensive star of the game. It was also the first time he’s found the back of the net since Game 4 of Round 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Not to be outdone, Barclay Goodrow also scored twice and has been on a tear by scoring three of the team’s last six goals going back to the OT winner in Game 2. The snarly veteran now has six goals in the postseason after a difficult regular season where he only scored four times.

That being said, the Blueshirts have yet to get a goal in this series from Mika Zibanejad (0 pts), Chris Kreider (0 pts), Artemi Panarin (1 assist), and Adam Fox (1 assist). All four players are too talented to be held off the scoresheet for long, and if any one of them should finally break through, New York may be off to the races in Game 4.

One thing is for sure, the Rangers are going to have to continuing dealing with a Panthers squad that is happy to play dirty, and then throw themselves on the ice every time they get touched.

For a team that loves to talk about how hitting is in their DNA, diving is something they do often. Whether it’s Bobrovsky flopping and dropping his stick every time a Ranger player is near him, or Sam Reinhart rolling around the ice crying causing referees to blow the play dead as the Rangers were breaking up ice 4-on-2, the Panthers are embarrassing the on-ice officials.

“They thought the player was injured to the point where they had to stop,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette told the NY Post on Monday. “I don’t think my opinion matters at this point. [But] because it happened, I would like to see the play continue.” 

By the way, the Panthers have a 13-10 advantage on power play through three games in this series. So, don’t expect anything to change until the referees start calling them for embellishment.

Here’s today’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers vs Florida Panthers (GAME 4)
Date/Time: May 28, 2024 @ 8:00 PM ET
Arena: Amerant Bank Arena
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM
Series: 2-1 (NYR)

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

Related: Matt Rempe makes huge impact for Rangers in Game 2

New York Rangers projected lineup

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

Here’s the expected lineup:

Kreider – Zibanejad – Roslovic
Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere
Cuylle– Wennberg – Kakko
Wheeler – Goodrow – Rempe

Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Trouba
Gustafsson – Schneider


Note: Filip Chytil is a healthy scratch per multiple reports. Blake Wheeler returns to the lineup since a season-ending leg injury suffered in February.

New York Rangers vs Florida Panthers (Round 3)

1May 22L, 3-0MSGESPN
2May 24W, 2-1 (OT)MSGESPN
3May 26W, 5-4 (OT)FLABC
6Jun 18 PM ETFLABC (If needed)
7Jun 38 PM ETMSGESPN (If needed)

Rangers vs Panthers schedule

Rangers leading playoff scorers:

Goals – Kreider (7), Trocheck (7)
Assists – Trocheck (11), Zibanejad (11)
Points – Trocheck (18)

Rangers playoff goalie stats:

Igor Shesterkin: 10-3, 2.33 GAA, .923 SV%


This is the second time the Rangers have played the Panthers in the playoffs. They won the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal in five games. Wayne Gretzky led the team in scoring with six points (four goals, two assists), including a memorable natural hat trick in the second period of Game 4. New York was 1-2-0 during the regular-season against Florida, but are 6-1-1 in their last eight at home against them.

The Rangers are just the sixth Presidents’ Trophy winner to reach the Conference Final since 2004.

Matt Rempe became the first Rangers’ player to score a goal in his NHL Playoffs debut since defenseman Matt Gilroy scored in Game 1 of the 2011 Conference Quarterfinals against the Capitals.

Including the regular season and playoffs, when the Rangers score four or more goals in a game, they are 41-0-1.

Including the regular season and playoffs, the Rangers have 34 comeback wins setting an NHL single-season record.

New York tied a franchise record set in 1994 winning seven straight games to open the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Rangers have four overtime wins in the playoffs, tying the franchise record set by the 2014-15 squad.

Upcoming Milestones

  • The next Rangers playoff shutout will be the first since Henrik Lundqvist beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 on 4/12/17 (R1, G1).

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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