Rangers rally for four straight goals, beat Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Patrick Kane scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period as the New York Rangers rallied from two goals down to beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Saturday.
Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil each had a goal and an assist to help New York win for the eighth time in 10 games. Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 shots to snap a four-game skid (0-2-2) and get his first win since Feb. 11 at Carolina.
The Rangers trailed 2-0 after one period while getting outshot 12-3. They picked it up in the second and scored four straight goals.
“Three shots in the first was not good enough but we were here for a day and a half with no ice, no morning skate,’’ New York coach Gerard Gallant said. “It was a tough start for us, but after that, I thought we played well.”
Aleksander Barkov had two goals and Ryan Lomberg also scored for Florida, which has lost three straight and dropped three points behind Pittsburgh for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference after the Penguins beat Washington later Saturday night. Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 38 saves.
Barkov got things started for the Panthers, following up a loose puck and sweeping it past Halak at 9:15 of the opening period.
Lomberg picked up his 11th goal of the season on a shot from the left circle with 5:14 left in the first.
The Rangers picked up their game in the second, outshooting Florida 21-8 and tying the score.
“They took over,” Barkov said. “Playing against good teams, they're going to have their momentums and stuff. They played well in the second period and third period they defended well. They didn't give us that much. ... Now we have to regroup and move on.”
New York scored on its 11th shot of the period at 8:50 as Kakko got behind the Florida defense and put in a rebound for his 14th.
Lafreniere tied the score at 2 with 1:45 remaining in the second as he walked in on Bobrovsky and scored his 15th.
The Rangers had their first lead 1:22 into the third when Kane fired off a long shot that caught the stick of Florida forward Carter Verhagehe and went past Bobrovsky. It was Kane's 20th of the season and gave him four goals and eight points in 12 games since being acquired from Chicago before the trade deadline.
For Kane, it was his 450th career goal.
“I think if you play long enough, sometimes you reach these milestones, so obviously not the prettiest one, but i'll take it," Kane said.
Chytil made it 4-2 nearly five minutes later with his 21st as all three players on the Kid Line got on the scoreboard.
“All three played real well and when they play like that, it is pretty exciting,’’ Gallant said. “They attacked and were a big part of our win. They were excellent, were confidence and that is great to see.”
Chytil agreed, adding: “Our line, if felt great today. I think we're playing good consistently the whole season. Sometimes there's a game we have so many chances and it doesn't go in, and today we score three important goals. I'm very happy for all three of us.”
The Panthers cut their deficit to a goal at the seven-minute mark as Barkov scored off a pass from Sam Reinhart for his second of the night and 20th of the season.
The Panthers continue to be without C Sam Bennett as he has missed the past three games. Bennett left a game in Detroit in the third period on Monday night and has not played since. ... Barkov played in his 655th NHL game, pulling into second place for most played in franchise history behind former linemate Jonathan Huberdeau (671). Barkov passed Huberdeau for most career points in franchise history on Monday night in Detroit.
Rangers: Host Columbus on Tuesday night.
Panthers: At Ottawa on Monday night.
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