Rangers slip past Panthers in SO
Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Dan Girardi scored the tying goal late in regulation, and Brad Richards won it with the lone goal in the shootout, as the Rangers rallied past Florida, 2-1, on Tuesday.
Henrik Lundqvist made 21 stops in regulation and three more in the game's final segment for New York, which has won two in a row and four of five overall.
"He was big for us tonight," said Girardi of Lundqvist. "He made the big saves when he had to. When we needed him he was there, and that's why we've got him back there. He's a pretty big clutch player for us."
Tim Thomas, who participated in his 400th career contest, stopped 29 shots for the Panthers, losers in four of their last five. Brad Boyes recorded the lone score for the hosts.
"I thought we were going to hang on until the end there, but that's hockey," said Thomas. "We're picking up some momentum and doing some good things. We're a much better hockey team than we were in October."
Girardi's errant pass behind the New York net found the stick of Alex Barkov, and he passed in front to Boyes, who skated to the top of the crease and slipped a backhander through the pads of Lundqvist at 9:18 of the second period.
The Rangers kept their deficit at one through the middle portion of the third after Richards was given a double minor for high sticking.
Girardi then atoned for his earlier mistake by netting the tying score, a wrister over Thomas' glove, with 2:50 on the clock.
Both sides had multiple quality chances in a frenzied overtime, but couldn't end the contest.
The Rangers kick off 2014 at Pittsburgh on Friday, and the Panthers begin the new calendar year by hosting Nashville on Saturday ... Thomas' record stands at 205-131-47 ... New York defenseman Marc Staal returned to the lineup after missing the past 10 games with a concussion, notching 23:45 of ice time.
01/01 01:53:30 ET