Surprising Panthers welcome Rangers to Sunrise
The Florida Panthers have worked their way to the top of game homestand tonight versus the New York Rangers.
The Panthers are two points ahead of Washington for the division lead and have won the first two portions of this residency, including Monday's 4-3 triumph over the New Jersey Devils. Tomas Fleischmann's goal with 2:03 remaining in regulation was the difference and capped a solid comeback for Florida, which trailed, 3-0, after the first period.
Stephen Weiss had a goal and two assists and Kris Versteeg scored twice, while goaltender Jose Theodore made 22 saves.
"We found a way to win tonight and we have to be happy about that," said Versteeg. "Aside from that spell in the first period, we played a good game tonight."
Weiss has thee goals and six assists in the past four games, while Versteeg has three goals and five assists during that time. Florida opened the homestand with a win over Pittsburgh and has prevailed in five of its last seven games. It will also host Tampa Bay and is 4-2-3 in Sunrise, FL this season.
In injury news for the Panthers, forward Marcel Goc (upper body) will miss Wednesday's game and goaltender Scott Clemmensen (lower body) is doubtful.
New York aims to get back on track after having its season-high seven-game winning streak cut short with Saturday's 4-0 loss at Montreal.
Backup goaltender Martin Biron allowed four goals on 31 shots for the Rangers, who are 1-1 on a four-game road trip and 5-3-2 away from Madison Square Garden this season. New York managed just 17 shots in its first loss since Oct. 29 versus Ottawa.
"Now we have to go back and do our homework and get back on our winning ways," Biron said. "Instead of over-complicating things and over-thinking things, we have to keep it simple."
Henrik Lundqvist will most likely return to the crease tonight after having a day off Saturday, and is 5-1-0 in his last six starts against Florida. The Rangers will close out the journey on Friday in Washington and sit four points behind the Penguins for the lead in the Atlantic Division.
Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky is probable for tonight with flu-like symptoms.
New York and Florida are playing the first of four meetings on Wednesday at BankAtlantic Center and both teams split four encounters a season ago. The Rangers have won five of the previous seven games in this series.