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Rangers beat Panthers to close out 2014

Jan 1, 2015 - 4:32 AM Sunrise, FL ( - Martin St. Louis and Dominic Moore tallied in the third period as the New York Rangers closed out calendar year 2014 with a 5-2 win over Florida on Wednesday.

Chris Kreider, Derick Brassard and Ryan McDonagh also lit the lamp for the Rangers, who recovered from a one-goal loss at Dallas on Monday and recorded their ninth win in 10.

"It's good to get back to playing the way we want to play," McDonagh said. "Overall, it's a good feeling to close out the year here with a big win."

Derek Stepan contributed three assists while Henrik Lundqvist needed to make only 18 stops for the victory.

Tomas Fleischmann and Jimmy Hayes scored once each for the Panthers, who fell to 5-3-2 in over their last 10 outings. Al Montoya surrendered all five markers on 34 shots in defeat.

"They dominated most of the night," Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant said.

Hayes converted an Aleksander Barkov rebound from the right side at the 7:39 mark of the third that pulled the Panthers within a goal, but the Rangers restored their two-goal advantage just over two minutes later.

Stepan's flip to the net was turned away by Montoya. St. Louis, stationed to the left of the crease, accidentally kicked the puck forward and it changed direction off the skate of Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad and got through at 9:51.

Moore sealed it with 4:25 on the clock, following behind St. Louis as he broke in alone up the right wing and beating Montoya with a rebound he'd kicked out to the left side.

Kreider beat Montoya by cleaning up a Kevin Klein rebound with 3:18 remaining in the opening period.

New York went up 2-0 at 1:29 of the second as Brassard potted a McDonagh rebound from the right side.

It was 3-0 for the visitors with 5:32 remaining in the middle frame after McDonagh's blast from the right point sailed home on a power play.

Sprung by a long lead pass up the left wing by Jonathan Huberdeau, Fleischmann's marker just over two minutes later put the hosts on the board.

Game Notes

New York begins 2015 by hosting Buffalo on Saturday, and Florida kicks off a six-game road trip at Buffalo on Friday ... Brothers and fellow Boston College products Kevin and Jimmy Hayes faced each other for the first time as professionals ... Florida's Hayes finished with a minus-3 despite scoring ... Prior to the contest, the Panthers announced a new six-year contract extension for forward Nick Bjugstad.