for this game

Drury, Gomez make debut as Rangers rally past Panthers

Oct 5, 2007 - 5:14 AM
By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Exactly five months after helping the Buffalo Sabres defeat the New York Rangers in the playoffs, Chris Drury did the same for his new team in their highly-anticipated home opener.

Drury had two assists, including one on the opening shift of the game, and scored the go-ahead goal 8:46 into the third period to lead the Rangers to a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

With the exception of defenseman Michal Rozsival's goal just 37 seconds into the contest, the Rangers were outplayed through most of the first 40 minutes. They managed just five shots in the first period and were outshot, 21-9, through two.

That all changed in the third as the Rangers scored three times in a span of just under three minutes. After Petr Prucha netted the tying goal, Drury went to work.

After a turnover that Martin Straka helped create, captain Jaromir Jagr took the puck and fired a shot that goaltender Tomas Vokoun committed to. That left him out of position for Drury, who charged through the slot and put home the rebound.

"It pretty much came naturally," Drury said. "I've always been one of these guys (in the) right place and right time. It was just a good forecheck by Marty. Jags turned around, made a quick shot and the goalie's got to sprawl to make a save. It was just a bang-bang play and I'm right there."

It was a play similar to the one that led to the goal that tied the game late in regulation in Game Five of the Eastern Conference semifinals on May 4. The Rangers were eight seconds away from taking a three-games-to-two lead in that series, but Drury scored on a rebound with 7.7 seconds remaining in regulation and the Rangers lost in overtime.

Their season ended two days later on home ice with a 5-4 loss. Less than two months later, the Rangers signed Drury and Gomez in anticipation of performances like this.

"Wasn't that nice tonight?" Rangers coach Tom Renney said of Drury's knack for scoring clutch goals. "That's the first thing I thought about. Now it's our turn."

After Drury scored, Ryan Callahan netted an unassisted goal just eight seconds later for a 4-2 edge. A little over four minutes later, New York sealed it on a tally by Straka.

"I think it was just mistake after mistake," Panthers captain Olli Jokinen said. "We have to learn no matter what happens, we have to go after them. It was a bad couple of minutes."

Defenseman Marek Malik had a career-high three assists as he set up the goals by Prucha, Drury and Straka.

But before Malik and his teammates got it going in the third, it appeared to be a disappointing night for the Rangers.

"We struggled a little bit in the second period," Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "You know as a goalie that when your team struggles for a little bit, you just have to hang in for a few minutes. You just have to stay in there and hopefully things will turn around, and they did."

After Drury set up Rozsival's wrist shot, the Panthers dominated play and got second-period goals from Brett McLean and Nathan Horton to surge ahead.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots for New York, which won its third consecutive season opener for the first time in 50 years.

Vokoun made 20 saves for Florida, which has lost six of seven here.

"It's not that they outplayed us in the third," Jokinen said. "We gave them two points."

Lundqvist made 12 of his saves in the second period, when the Panthers swarmed the offensive zone. McLean scored on a backhander from the doorstep just 2:14 into the period and, nearly eight minutes later, Horton beat defenseman Dan Girardi to a loose puck in the corner and put a snap shot by Lundqvist.

That was as good as it got for Florida, which had won its previous three season openers, including an 8-3 triumph at Boston last campaign.

"There were too many turnovers," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. "We gave them some goals in the third and they took advantage. They have players that can capitalize."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 2 0 2
    NY RANGERS 1 0 4 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - MICHAL ROZSIVAL 1 (CHRIS DRURY, JAROMIR JAGR) 0:37
    2ND PRD: FLA - BRETT MCLEAN 1 (GREGORY CAMPBELL, RADEK DVORAK) 2:19
    FLA - NATHAN HORTON 1 (RUSLAN SALEI, ROSTISLAV OLESZ) 9:47
    3RD PRD: NYR - PETR PRUCHA 1 (MAR

    Oct 4 9:41 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 2
    NY RANGERS 5
    3RD PRD: NYR - MARTIN STRAKA 1 (MAREK MALIK, CHRIS DRURY) 13:02

    Panthers vs. RangersOct 4 9:31 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 2
    NY RANGERS 4
    3RD PRD: NYR - CHRIS DRURY 1 (JAROMIR JAGR, MAREK MALIK) 8:46

    Panthers vs. RangersOct 4 9:23 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 2
    NY RANGERS 2
    3RD PRD: NYR - PETR PRUCHA 1 (MAREK MALIK) 6:07

    Panthers vs. RangersOct 4 9:14 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 2 2
    NY RANGERS 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - MICHAL ROZSIVAL 1 (CHRIS DRURY, JAROMIR JAGR) 0:37
    2ND PRD: FLA - BRETT MCLEAN 1 (GREGORY CAMPBELL, RADEK DVORAK) 2:19
    FLA - NATHAN HORTON 1 (RUSLAN SALEI, ROSTISLAV OLESZ) 9:47
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Oct 4 8:45 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 2
    NY RANGERS 1
    2ND PRD: FLA - NATHAN HORTON 1 (RUSLAN SALEI, ROSTISLAV OLESZ) 9:47

    Panthers vs. RangersOct 4 8:29 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 1
    NY RANGERS 1
    2ND PRD: FLA - BRETT MCLEAN 1 (GREGORY CAMPBELL, RADEK DVORAK) 2:19

    Panthers vs. RangersOct 4 8:13 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0
    NY RANGERS 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - MICHAL ROZSIVAL 1 (CHRIS DRURY, JAROMIR JAGR) 0:37
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLA 5 5
    NYR 5 5
    GOALIES: FLA - TOMAS VOKOUN
    NYR

    Oct 4 7:51 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 0
    NY RANGERS 1
    1ST PRD: NYR - MICHAL ROZSIVAL 1 (CHRIS DRURY, JAROMIR JAGR) 0:37

    Panthers vs. RangersOct 4 7:21 PM
  • 5
    roots
    ekabrazi Added 5 roots

    Panthers vs. RangersOct 4 5:34 PM