Vladislav Namestnikov scored the go-ahead goal early in the second period Saturday night for the host New York Rangers, who ended the game with three unanswered goals in a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers.
Filip Chytil, Brendan Smith and Chris Kreider also scored for the Rangers, who have won three of four and have collected at least one point in eight of their last nine games (7-1-1).
Goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 39 saves in earning the 438th win of his career, which vaulted him into sole possession of seventh place on the NHL’s all-time list. Lundqvist, who entered the night tied with Jacques Plante, is seven wins away from tying Terry Sawchuk for sixth place.
Mike Hoffman and Aaron Ekblad scored in the first period for the Panthers, who have lost two straight following a five-game winning streak. Goalie Roberto Luongo recorded 20 saves.
The teams were tied at 2 following a hectic first period.
Chytil and Hoffman opened the scoring by making a bit of history for their respective teams. Chytil’s goal, scored from point-blank range at the 3:03 mark after he took a perfect feed into the crease from Kevin Hayes, made him the first teenager in Rangers history to register a goal in three straight games.
Hoffman tied the game just 1:37 later, when he went to one knee and fired a shot past Lundqvist. The goal extended Hoffman’s point streak to a franchise-record 15 games.
Ekblad put the Panthers ahead with 9:49 remaining on a slap shot from almost the exact same spot Hoffman scored his goal.
But the lead lasted just 98 seconds thanks to Smith. Following a Panthers turnover deep in their own zone, Smith took a pass form Lias Andersson and sailed a shot past Luongo’s glove.
The Rangers scored the winning goal in impressive fashion when Mika Zibanejad sent a no-look pass to Namestnikov, whose shot was initially knocked down by Luongo. But Luongo could not clear the puck, which trickled into the net behind him at the 2:37 mark as Namestnikov and several players crashed the crease.
Kreider then produced an insurance goal by racing up the left side and beating Luongo 7:56 into the third. The Panthers pulled Luongo with 3:33 remaining but could not get any closer.
—Field Level Media