Recap: Rangers @ Panthers, 11/21/15

Final 1st 2nd 3rd OT Total
Rangers (15-3-2) 1 1 2 1 5
@ Panthers (8-8-4) 0 2 2 0 4

Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography

First Period

  • The Panthers had a really good start to the game as they certainly looked more alive than they have the past several games. Rocco Grimaldi took the puck off the opening draw and went in for a shot on Lundqvist, and overall, every line was buzzing during the first few shifts.
  • Jaromir Jagr took an early offensive zone penalty for tripping, however the Panthers’ penalty kill was strong. Like last game against the Ducks, they were aggressive on the puck and didn’t allow any good chances for the Rangers.
  • Chris Kreider would get a penalty shot after he skated through all three zones and then two Panthers defensemen, however Roberto Luongo read the opportunity like a book to keep the game scoreless.
  • The Panthers were flowing offensively, however nothing went in for them. Nick Bjugstad had a 2-on-1 with Brandon Pirri early in the game, but Henrik Lundqvist stopped Bjugstad’s wrist shot. Aleksander Barkov fed Willie Mitchell puck for a one-timer, but the shot went wide. Pirri also got a great one-timer off after a face-off win and Derek MacKenzie went in on a mini breakaway, but Lundqvist stopped his high wrist shot. Finally, Brian Campbell had a 2-on-1 with Jussi Jokinen after a bad line change by the Rangers and again, the King stopped the defenseman’s wrist shot.
  • The Panthers would go on a 5-on-3 and Nick Bjugstad got two glorious chances at the side of the net but Lundqvist absolutely robbed him with two incredible lateral saves.
  • The Rangers would score first after an early zone exit by the Panthers led to Rick Nash receiving a pass near the goal line and putting the puck top shelf on Luongo.
  • Overall, the Panthers had one of their best first periods in recent memory in that they finished with 13 shots, and were it not for Henrik Lundqvist, they’d have at least two goals already. However, the Rangers have a very good transition game and they were able to take advantage of a small defensive miscue by the Panthers. The Panthers were winning board battle after board battle and their hard work was really evident in the first period.
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography

Second Period

  • The period didn’t start off eventful, but things got going quickly. The Panthers went on the power play early and Nick Bjugstad’s one-timer from the left circle stung Henrik Lundqvist. Shortly after the man-advantage ended, Quinton Howden threw a shot on net from the halfboards and Lundqvist, who was just getting back into the net, barely made the save with his left skate.
  • The Panthers scored their first goal of the night after lots of hard work. Jussi Jokinen kept the puck in after some good work on the forecheck, Brandon Pirri took the puck off the wall, and sent a pass cross-ice to Nick Bjugstad who shot it 5-hole on Lundqvist
  • Rick Nash got his second goal of the game after he skated over the blue-line, fought off Nick Bjugstad and snuck a shot in short-side on Roberto Luongo. Turns out Erik Gudbranson’s stick was held back in the offensive zone which allowed the Rangers to exit the zone and get back up the ice quickly for the goal.
  • The Panthers didn’t fall back though. They kept pushing and nearly tied it several times including on a nice rush by Jonathan Huberdeau who fed it to Jaromir Jagr for a one-timer that was stopped by Lundqvist. They would finally tie it on the power play after a Brandon Pirri slapshot was deflected to the top corner of the net by Jussi Jokinen.
  • Once again, the Panthers won several more board battles, and it was huge seeing that they didn’t get down on themselves after allowing the second Rangers goal. They composed themselves and went back to working hard and getting pucks deep which led to more shots on goal and the penalty on the Rangers for holding Bjugstad in the corner.
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography

Third Period

  • The Panthers continued their strong play when the puck dropped for the 3rd period. They got a power play early in the period after Brian Campbell was checked from behind in the corner. Aleksander Barkov nearly gave the Panthers the lead after receiving a great pass at the top of the crease, but he was handcuffed and couldn’t get a shot off.
  • The Panthers had two close calls after Chris Kreider nearly got in on a breakaway and then attempted a drop pass which failed, and then Kevin Hayes was left all alone in the slot, but he put a shot high and wide.
  • The Rangers got lucky after a Brian Campbell cross-ice pass was knocked out of the air by Derek Stepan which allowed Mats Zuccarello to go the other way and he scored on a breakaway to give them the 3-2 lead.
  • Viktor Stalberg scored the Rangers’ 4th goal of the game when a pass from below the goal line found him in the slot and he was able to put it past Luongo. The coverage on the goal wasn’t optimal as Brian Campbell who was on Stalberg did nothing to stop him from scoring in front of the crease.
  • The Panthers, however, would not give up. With Roberto Luongo on the bench and a power play, Aleksander Barkov would bring the Panthers within one with his 2nd goal in 3 games since returning from injury. Under a minute later, Aleksander Barkov fed Jaromir Jagr for his 730th career goal to tie things at 4 with Luongo on the bench again. The Panthers would force OT after a strong effort to finish the 3rd period.
  • On the face-off immediately after the Jagr goal, Nick Bjugstad pushed the puck forward to a streaking Reilly Smith who was subsequently tripped on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. Henrik Lundqvist laid out and stopped Smith on his bid to give the Panthers what would’ve been an incredible lead and comeback win.
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography

Overtime

  • In an attempt to negate a 2-on-1 opportunity, Jussi Jokinen jumped onto the ice a little too early with Huberdeau getting off from a long shift and the Panthers were called for too man men on the ice. With the 4 on 3 advantage, the Rangers were forced out of the zone a couple times, but it wouldn’t take long for Rick Nash to wind up for a one-timer and end the game with his 3rd goal of the night.
  • Earlier in the period, Aleksander Barkov had a nice poke check to thwart an offensive opportunity by the Rangers.

Wrap-up

In the end, the Panthers had an impressive effort all night long and it was refreshing to see the Panthers go toe to toe with arguably one of the top teams in the league. They didn’t back down despite never having the lead and they showed a lot of character by coming back from two one-goal deficits and a two-goal deficit in the last few minutes of the 3rd period. This certainly wasn’t the result the Panthers wanted, but considering the Rangers scored two straight goals and the Panthers could’ve said “that’s it,” but they didn’t, and that’s huge for a young team.

The line of the night was the second line of Jokinen-Bjugstad-Pirri. Bjugstad and Pirri were shooting the puck all night long and Jokinen’s strong defenisve efforts created a goal for the Panthers in the 2nd period.

Your Florida Panthers will be taking on the Los Angeles Kings at home on Monday, November 23rd at 7:30 PM ET. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.

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