Final - OT
  for this game

Nylander scores in shootout to lead Rangers past Panthers

Nov 9, 2006 - 3:35 AM SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- Michael Nylander came through to enable Martin Straka's performance to have greater meaning.

Nylander scored the shootout clincher and Straka netted a pair of goals as the New York Rangers opened a three-game road trip with a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers.

Avenging a 4-2 defeat to the Panthers on October 25 - Florida's lone victory away from home this season - the Rangers raised their road record to 6-2-0 and won for the third time in four contests.

"We are a pretty confident team when we go into overtime and shootouts," Rangers left wing Brendan Shanahan said. "We're still making some mistakes in our end but we're finding ways to win now. We're avoiding some of the mental lapses we had in the first few weeks of the season."

"We got a little ahead of ourselves and saw some tail lights but we managed to work through it and that's to (the players) credit," Rangers coach Tom Renney said.

After Florida captain Olli Jokinen opened the shootout by missing the net, Nylander slowly skated in and lifted a backhander over goaltender Ed Belfour's left pad.

"I wanted to try to deke him from one side to the other," Nylander said. "It's one of those plays where you try to outthink him and I was fortunate to do that at the right time."

Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist sealed the win with a pad save on Nathan Horton and a glove save on Joe Nieuwendyk.

"You want to be in that situation and make the most of the opportunity," Lundqvist said. "This was a game we had to win so I had the mind-set to come up big in the shootout."

Florida evened the score, 3-3, with 10:07 remaining in regulation as Lundqvist twice denied Stephen Weiss in front before Jay Bouwmeester flipped a rebound inside the left goalpost.

Blair Betts snapped a 2-2 tie for New York at 1:34 of the third period by skating in from the left boards and knocking in his own rebound past Belfour for his third goal of the season.

Straka opened the scoring at 3:13 of the first session after Martin Gelinas was whistled for interference. Nylander's backpass from behind the net deflected off Shanahan directly to Straka, who beat Belfour from the left faceoff circle.

Nylander again connected with Straka for New York's fifth consecutive power-play tally at 2:07 of the second period, a slapshot from the right point that got past Belfour's right pad while Weiss was off for tripping.

"I was in good position to get off decent shots (on both goals) and it just worked out tonight," Straka said. "It's nice to get that early lead but we have to maintain it throughout the game."

Nylander and Shanahan collected two assists apiece and Lundqvist made 36 saves to raise his record to 6-5-0 for the Rangers.

Horton and defenseman Ruslan Salei scored in the second period and Belfour stopped 27 shots for the Panthers, who failed in their bid to win three straight games against the Rangers for the first time in 10 seasons.

"I thought it was a pretty good effort overall," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. "I think we kept them with less chances than us and we created more chances. I think the second half of the game was really positive. Unfortunately, it didn't work out at the end."

"The first half of the game, we took too many penalties (10)," Jokinen said. "It's difficult to get going like that. After that, I think we worked very hard. ... We had all the chances to get two points. We can't be satisfied."

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