Marian Gaborik did his best to try and extend the New York Rangers' winning streak, but the team came up just short. If he can continue his success against the Florida Panthers, the Rangers may have the chance to start another one.
The Rangers visit Florida tonight, looking to continue their surge in the Eastern Conference standings and to extend a perfect 9-0-0 record in the second half of back-to-back games.
|Rangers forward Brandon Prust scored a shorthanded goal in the third period of the Blueshirts' last visit to Florida, where they have had remarkable success over the past several years.|
Gaborik scored with 45.6 seconds left in regulation Saturday to tie the game, but the Rangers missed out on a third consecutive victory when Tampa Bay's Nate Thompson scored 19 seconds into overtime in a 2-1 loss.
The goal from Gaborik may have been nice consolation, as it earned a standings point.
The Rangers (22-14-3) have earned at least a point in seven of their last eight, going 5-1-2 in that stretch, but head coach Tortorella is hoping for victories as the Rangers chase Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in the division.
"Are we satisfied (with earning a point)? I hope we're not," the coach said. "It's going to get tougher and tougher."
Gaborik's production in recent seasons against the Panthers may give the Rangers hope of extending their season-high four-game point streak. Gaborik has scored a goal in four of his last five games against Florida, adding two assists during that time. His only scoreless game in that stretch was the Rangers' 3-0 win Nov. 26.
Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves in that game for his fourth career shutout against the Panthers. He's 4-0-0 with a 0.73 goals-against average in his last four starts against Florida.
The Panthers, meanwhile, blew a second-period lead for the second straight game Friday, giving up three unanswered goals and falling 3-2 in overtime against Montreal. Florida (16-17-2) has squandered a lead in three of its last four losses.
The latest defeat wasted another solid effort from Tomas Vokoun, who made 45 saves for the second consecutive start. He'll likely get the nod again tonight and is 7-5-1 with one tie and a 2.41 GAA in 14 starts against the Rangers.
"We have to be a little smarter the way we manage the game when (we're leading) 2-0. We say that over and over, we just got to do it," Vokoun said.
Stephen Weiss scored his team-leading 11th goal Friday and has 12 points in his last 10 games for the Panthers, who are 5-3-2 in that stretch.
The Rangers, though, are 13-6-1 on the road this season, and they've taken at least one point from 15 of their last 17 visits to south Florida, going 10-2-4 with a tie.
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