for this game

Panthers fend off Rangers

Jan 26, 2011 - 5:35 AM
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Mike Weaver was credited with the game-winning goal with 8:19 left in the third period, as the Florida Panthers defeated the New York Rangers, 4-3, at Madison Square Garden.

Rostislav Olesz, Keaton Ellerby and Mike Santorelli also scored for the Panthers, who halted a four-game winless skid but earned at least one point for the seventh time in their last eight games overall (4-1-3).

"We had a pretty good showing tonight, and it was great to get the (game- winning) goal," said Weaver.

Tomas Vokoun finished with 32 saves in the win.

Brandon Prust, Brian Boyle and Derek Stepan scored for New York, which closed the month of January with a 7-6-1 mark. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist allowed four goals on 17 shots.

"They need to accept the responsibility," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella of his players. "When they see they get to a level of play at a pretty consistent manner, they have to continue to stay there and also get better. The foundation continues to mature and they have the right attitude about trying to get better each and every night."

With the score tied 3-3, a fluke goal with 8:19 to play in regulation put Florida in front for good. Weaver's shot from the point deflected off the back of Rangers forward Artem Anisimov, popped into the air and bounced over the goal line as Lundqvist was searching for the puck.

"We did a great job getting back into the game," said New York's Marc Staal. "To tie it up was huge, but then they throw one on net and it went in -- sometimes that's just the way the game works."

The only goal of the first period was scored by Olesz for a 1-0 Panthers lead after 20 minutes of play. Chris Higgins held control inside the left circle and passed back into the high slot, where a one-timer by Olesz lit the lamp. The puck appeared to slightly deflect off the stick of Anisimov before it sailed into the back of the net at the 12:35 mark.

The teams traded goals within a 46-second span early in the second stanza. Stepan's 14th goal of the season tied the score, but Ellerby's tally less than a minute later at 3:03 allowed the Panthers to regain the lead.

Less than a minute after Ellerby scored, Florida moved ahead by two. A shot from the left point by Bryan Allen was saved, but the rebound sat loose in the crease area. Santorelli gained control of the puck, turned around and fired a low wrist shot into the back of the net at the 4:11 mark.

Prust's seventh goal of 2010-111 at 1:14 of the third brought the Rangers within 3-2. A floating wrister from along the right half-wall by Mike Sauer was deflected in behind Vokoun by Prust, who was stationed at the right post.

Soon after, a New York power-play goal knotted the contest. Marian Gaborik brought the puck toward the net from along the goal line on the left side and attempted a backhander from the top of the crease. Vokoun made the save, but Boyle banged in the rebound amidst a scramble from in close at 3:05.

Game Notes

Mats Zuccarello assisted on all of New York's goals...The Panthers have won two straight over the Rangers after they'd lost four consecutive matchups with the Blueshirts...The Rangers fell to 12-11-2 at home this season...Florida was 0-for-1 on the power play, while the Rangers ended 1-for-4 with the extra skater...It was Weaver's second goal of the season.