for this game

Olesz snaps tie as Panthers rally past Rangers

Dec 22, 2006 - 5:43 AM
SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- Rostislav Olesz's continuing offensive spark capped the Florida Panthers' most dramatic comeback of the season.

Olesz snapped a third-period tie and Chris Gratton and Nathan Horton added goals as the Panthers rallied from a two-goal deficit to win their third straight game, a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers.

A 21-year-old Czech, Olesz scored in his third consecutive game for the Panthers, who won for the first time this season when trailing after two periods and gained a split of the four-game season series with the Rangers.

Olesz netted just his fourth goal of the season to break the deadlock with 8:50 remaining. He rebounded a shot by defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and scored on a wraparound just inside the right goal against goaltender Kevin Weekes.

"Nice to get a goal like that and help the team win," Olesz said. "I just felt like if the puck came back to me in front, I might be able to get it past him."

"He's a young player who has a lot of talent," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. "We like him. It's just a matter of getting a little more every game, getting some confidence and getting some production."

Florida trailed, 2-0, when Gratton scored his first goal in 17 games on a power play just 3:03 into the third period by redirecting Janis Sprukts' centering pass on the doorstep for his sixth goal.

Just 21 seconds later, Horton tied the score with his 11th goal, a wrister from the slot that beat Weekes to the glove side.

"We worked the puck out of the corner and I was just in position to finish the play," Gratton said. "Then we get the quick one from Horton and it turned the game in our favor.

"We are energized right now. Each game is such a battle, but we have to stay focused and win each battle."

Brad Isbister opened the scoring for the Rangers. With just four seconds left in the period with the man advantage, he deflected defenseman Karel Rachunek's snap shot from the left faceoff circle past netminder Ed Belfour.

Recalled on Wednesday from Hartford of the American Hockey League, Isbister collected six goals and 17 assists with the Boston Bruins last season. He scored his 100th career goal in his Rangers debut.

"Nice to get that goal, but the end result was we didn't win," Isbister said. "It's going to take time to get comfortable out there with a new team, but it's an opportunity for me and I want to make the most of it."

New York doubled the margin at 4:13 of the second session when Jaromir Jagr fed Jason Ward, who fired a quick shot from the top of the slot that beat Belfour to the glove side for his third tally of the campaign.

"I was really happy with the way we were playing, even into the third period, but it came down to a couple of little mistakes and missed assignments," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "We should have had more success on the power play."

Belfour made 30 saves for his 464th career victory, tying Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils for second place all-time.

"I've been feeling stronger and stronger," Belfour said. "You start to get that confidence as the wins come. We never gave up. I could feel the confidence in the room before the third period.

"I think the guys have been playing really hard. They are the real story when you look at where we were and how we're playing now."

Making his third straight start because Henrik Lundqvist is bothered by the flu, Weekes stopped 33 shots for the Rangers, who lost their fourth straight game.

"To tell you the truth, I think the team played really well," Weekes said. "We just had an unfortunate stretch there. You play hard and sometimes you don't get the W."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 1 1 0 2
    FLORIDA 0 0 3 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) BRAD ISBISTER 1 (KAREL RACHUNEK, BRENDAN
    SHANAHAN) 19:56
    2ND PRD: NYR - AARON WARD 3 (JAROMIR JAGR, PETR PRUCHA) 4:13
    3RD PRD: FLA - (PP) CHRIS GRATTON 6 (JANIS SPRUKTS, ROSTISLAV OLESZ)
    3:03
    FLA - NATHAN

    Dec 21 10:01 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    FLORIDA 3
    3RD PRD: FLA - ROSTISLAV OLESZ 4 (JAY BOUWMEESTER, BRYAN ALLEN) 11:10

    Rangers vs. PanthersDec 21 9:49 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    FLORIDA 2
    3RD PRD: FLA - NATHAN HORTON 11 (OLLI JOKINEN, GARY ROBERTS) 3:24

    Rangers vs. PanthersDec 21 9:35 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    FLORIDA 1
    3RD PRD: FLA - (PP) CHRIS GRATTON 6 (JANIS SPRUKTS, ROSTISLAV OLESZ)
    3:03

    Rangers vs. PanthersDec 21 9:34 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 1 1 2
    FLORIDA 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) BRAD ISBISTER 1 (KAREL RACHUNEK, BRENDAN
    SHANAHAN) 19:56
    2ND PRD: NYR - AARON WARD 3 (JAROMIR JAGR, PETR PRUCHA) 4:13
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYR 12

    Dec 21 9:08 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    FLORIDA 0
    2ND PRD: NYR - AARON WARD 3 (JAROMIR JAGR, PETR PRUCHA) 4:13

    Rangers vs. PanthersDec 21 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 1 1
    FLORIDA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) BRAD ISBISTER 1 (KAREL RACHUNEK, BRENDAN
    SHANAHAN) 19:56
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYR 12 12
    FLA 9 9
    GOALIES: NYR - KEVI

    Dec 21 8:25 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 1
    FLORIDA 0
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) BRAD ISBISTER 1 (KAREL RACHUNEK, BRENDAN SHANAHAN)
    19:56

    Rangers vs. PanthersDec 21 8:24 PM