Markstrom makes 44 saves as Panthers edge Rangers
New York, NY – Jacob Markstrom made 44 saves in a sensational performance between the pipes that enabled the Florida Panthers to record a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers for the team's first win streak of the season.
Brian Campbell had a power-play goal in the first period and Scottie Upshall scored in the second for Florida, with Tomas Kopecky adding an empty-netter near the end and Markstrom making the lead stand by turning back 17-of-18 shots over the final 20 minutes.
"I felt really good from the start to the finish," said Markstrom. "It was a good game for us and a good win."
The Panthers, fresh off Tuesday's 4-1 decision at Carolina that halted a six- game skid, had not prevailed in back-to-back outings since winning five in a row from Mar. 11-20 of last season.
Marian Gaborik had a late goal for the Rangers, who had a two-game win streak snapped despite outshooting Florida by a 45-23 margin. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 21-of-23 chances in the setback.
"We'd be concerned if we weren't getting the chances," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. "We had 40-something shots on net. You do that on a nightly basis, you get those chances on a nightly basis, you're going to get more than one goal easily."
The Panthers cashed in on the game's first power play to record the only goal of the opening period. With New York's Roman Hamrlik in the box for a high- sticking infraction, Campbell rifled a blistering shot from the left circle over Lundqvist's glove to put Florida ahead 8:22 into the contest.
Markstrom kept the Panthers in front by coming up with 15 saves during a busy second period, during which his team was able to extend the lead.
Jack Skille forced a turnover in the Rangers' zone and skated in on net, with Lundqvist making the initial save but unable to prevent Upshall from knocking home the rebound 4:28 into the middle session.
Markstrom continued to stone the Blueshirts until Gaborik finally spoiled the rookie's bid for a first career shutout with 3:48 left to play. The New York sniper sped past two Florida defenders after receiving an outlet feed from Rick Nash and sent a backhander through Markstrom's legs to give the Rangers some life.
New York pulled Lundqvist with just over a minute remaining to no avail, as Kopecky sealed the win after blocking a shot in his own end and wristing the puck into the vacated net with 46 seconds showing.
The Panthers had lost four of the last five meetings between the clubs, including three straight at Madison Square Garden ... According to multiple reports, Rangers general manger Glen Sather underwent surgery to treat prostate cancer on Thursday ... Florida rookie Eric Selleck served the first of a two-game suspension for leaving the bench to fight Carolina's Kevin Westgarth in Tuesday's win over the Hurricanes ... Nash participated in his 700th career NHL game.