NEW YORK – Defenseman Mike Weaver's first goal in 42 games, scored off the back of Rangers forward Artem Anisimov, broke a third-period tie and lifted the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 victory over New York on Tuesday night.
Weaver flipped a shot from the right side that hit Anisimov in front and bounded past surprised goalie Henrik Lundqvist with 8:19 remaining. The Panthers' only shot of the third salvaged a win for Florida, which squandered a two-goal lead earlier in the period.
Anisimov was victimized twice as Rostislav Olesz's first-period goal also caromed off him and past Lundqvist.
Keaton Ellerby's first NHL goal snapped a tie in the second period, and Mike Santorelli stretched the lead just more than a minute later to give Florida a seemingly comfortable lead.
But Brandon Prust and Brian Boyle scored 1:51 apart early in the third to get the Rangers even at 3. New York erased third-period leads in each of its previous two games, winning both in shootouts.
Tomas Vokoun, who shut out New York in a 3-0 home win on Jan. 2, was sharp again against the Rangers. He made 32 saves, two days after a muscle pull forced him to sit out Florida's 5-2 loss at New Jersey that started the Panthers' six-game road trip.
Ellerby made it 2-1 at 3:03 of the second period, just 46 seconds after Derek Stepan got the Rangers even. Santorelli added his 13th goal at 4:11 to give the Panthers a two-goal edge. Olesz gave Florida a 1-0 lead in the first period.
The Rangers couldn't build off a pair of shootout wins over Atlanta and Washington that finished a three-game swing through the Southeast Division. All-Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who got the night off Monday at Washington, faced only 17 shots, but that was enough to beat him.
He couldn't be faulted for Olesz's fourth goal with 7:25 left in the first. Anisimov, who netted the decisive shootout goal in the Rangers' 2-1 win at Washington on Monday, stood in front of Olesz as the Panthers forward wound up to shoot. The puck hit Anisimov's stick and changed direction as it sailed past Lundqvist, who slammed his stick on the ice in anger.
Florida was outshot 12-4 in the otherwise uneventful first period. Of the four shots, one was the deflected goal and another was a length-of-the-ice clearing attempt while the Panthers were killing a penalty.
The Rangers got the somewhat lifeless home crowd into the game when Stepan made it 1-all at 2:17 of the second, but the Panthers quickly took the home fans out of it again.
The 22-year-old Ellerby, in his 44th NHL game, managed to just keep the puck in at the left point, glided into the zone and snapped a long shot that eluded Lundqvist. Santorelli connected soon after to send the crowd back into a funk.
That changed early in the third when Michael Sauer's shot hit Prust and bounced between Vokoun's pads to make it 3-2 at 1:14 of the third — a goal that stood up to a video review. Boyle added a power-play goal to tie it.
Notes: Rangers LW Mats Zuccarello had three assists. ... Panthers D Dmitry Kulikov returned after missing two games because of a rib cage injury. LW Chris Higgins was back after sitting out eight games with an injured hamstring. ... The Rangers fell to 10-4 in the second half of back-to-back games.