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Rangers get past Panthers, end three-game slide

The New York Rangers ended a three-game losing streak with a 5-4 shootout win against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, on Saturday.

Fredrik Claesson had a goal and an assist, and Kevin Hayes had two assists for the Rangers (14-12-3), who led 2-0 after the first period. Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Shattenkirk and Kevin Hayes scored for New York in the shootout, and Henrik Lundqvist made the save against Aleksander Barkov in the first round before allowing a goal by Jonathan Huberdeau.

“I feel like, going into overtime, it was just that we need this extra point no matter what,” said Lundqvist, who made 27 saves. “We had to battle. The game, I thought we played really well. I made two mistakes on two goals, and we made a couple other mistakes where they cashed in, so it felt like we should’ve been able to do enough to maybe get away with two points in regulation.

“They kept coming. So going into overtime, it was just battle mode. … The guys really stepped up in the shootout. Big points right now for us to start winning and feel good.”

 

[WATCH: All Rangers vs. Panthers highlights]

 

Claesson gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead at 1:32 of the third period and had the secondary assist on a goal by Vladislav Namestnikov in the first. Zibanejad and Matt Beleskey scored.

Video: NYR@FLA: Claesson beats Luongo with top-shelf wrister

Keith Yandle, Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad scored in the second period for Florida (11-11-6) before Barkov tied it 4-4 in the third. The Panthers finished an eight-game homestand 3-2-3.

Huberdeau had a goal and two assists to reach 301 points (103 goals, 198 assists) in 413 NHL games.

“We got one point, but obviously we need two points,” Huberdeau said. “I think we had nine points out of 16 at home. So we just have to take the positives of it and go on the road. Make sure we’re ready to go in St. Louis [on Tuesday].”

Video: NYR@FLA: Huberdeau finds twine with wrist shot

Roberto Luongo made 22 saves for the Panthers.

Zibanejad gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 3:37 of the first before Namestnikov made it 2-0 with a shorthanded goal at 18:10. Zibanejad’s goal was his second in 12 games since he scored seven in his first 17 games this season.

Huberdeau had the secondary assist on Yandle’s power-play goal, which cut it to 2-1 57 seconds into the second period. He tied it 2-2 on a 2-on-1 at 4:14 of the second and set up Ekblad for a wrist shot over Lundqvist’s glove that tied it 3-3 with 1:40 remaining in the period.

Before Ekblad scored, Brady Skjei shot off Beleskey’s leg and in to give New York a 3-2 lead at 6:28 of the second. It was Beleskey’s first NHL point since scoring for the Boston Bruins at the Calgary Flames on March 15, 2017.

“I think you always look for momentum swings, whether it’s big hits or goals,” Beleskey said. “I was just trying to bring some momentum and energy. It was definitely nice to get one tonight. … I think goals are always a plus, but [the Rangers] are looking for energy, looking for a physical guy. I think that’s what I’ve done my entire career.

“I was just trying to come up and play Matt Beleskey hockey. Hopefully good things happen like that tonight.”

Video: NYR@FLA: Beleskey breaks tie with deflection in 2nd

Claesson put the Rangers ahead 4-3 with a slap shot before Barkov scored Florida’s second power-play goal, tying it 4-4 at 10:51.

“We had chances to win the game, but they did,” Barkov said. “So we’re not happy because of that. We’re happy with how we played. … In this league, if you come out the way we did in the first period, it can cost you the whole game.”

Video: NYR@FLA: Barkov beats Lundqvist’s glove high

 

They said it

“We did a lot of good things. We did things we were hoping to accomplish throughout the week in practice. We built on it, and we didn’t sustain it. Our goal is to build off that first period. We managed to get two points.” — Rangers coach David Quinn

 

“Another lesson to be learned. Teams are going to have their pushes of momentum during a game. No one really dominates another team for 60 minutes. We know that. … We knew they would come out hard. We just didn’t have enough intensity and urgency at the beginning of the game.” — Panthers coach Bob Boughner

 

Need to know

Lundqvist extended his NHL record for shootout wins to 61. … Beleskey was recalled from Hartford of the American Hockey League on Thursday. With his goal, 22 players have scored for the Rangers through 29 games this season. … Namestnikov returned from missing three games with a concussion. … It was Claesson’s first multipoint game since he had two assists for the Ottawa Senators on Jan. 24, 2017. … New York played its first game in six days. … Panthers forward Denis Malgin played his first game since Nov. 23. He missed four games with an upper-body injury and was a healthy scratch three times. Malgin had three hits and was minus-1 in 12:42 of ice time. … The Panthers have scored at least one power-play goal in eight straight games, and in 18 of their past 19.

 

What’s next

Rangers: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, MSG, NHL.TV)

Panthers: At the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Video: Hayes records two assists, SO winner for the Rangers

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