New York Rangers coach David Quinn didn’t like the way his team played after the first period, but post-regulation heroics helped the club break its three-game losing streak.
Kevin Hayes had the game-deciding goal in the third round of the shootout after Henrik Lundqvist made a couple of big saves in the overtime, and the Rangers beat the Florida Panthers 5-4 on Saturday night.
After Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Shattenkirk scored in the shootout for New York and Jonathan Huberdeau tallied for Florida, Hayes beat goalie Roberto Luongo to end it.
New York squandered three leads before sweeping the season series 3-0 from the Panthers.
“We seem to be a little fragile mentally, and I was really anxious to see how we were going to respond to our good first period and we never gave ourselves a chance — we took a bad penalty, they score early in the period and you could just sense it on the bench,” Quinn said. “We gotta get out of that rut.”
Zibanejad, Vladislav Namestnikov, Matt Beleskey and Fredric Claesson scored goals, and Hayes had a pair of assists for the Rangers, who improved to 5-1 in shootouts.
Lundqvist had 27 saves, and Luongo finished with 22. Lundqvist stopped the Panthers’ first attempt in the shootout, by Aleksander Barkov.
Lundqvist also denied Huberdeau on a breakaway after the Florida winger stole the puck from Hayes, and Lundqvist was strong the entire overtime.
“It felt, going into overtime, we needed this extra point no matter what,” Lundqvist said. “I thought we played really well. I made two mistakes, two goals.”
Keith Yandle, Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad and Barkov had goals for the Panthers, who finished 3-2-3 on their eight-game homestand. Huberdeau added a pair of assists.
Zibanejad grabbed a rebound off a long shot by Hayes, who moved to the top line’s right wing, and slid it past Luongo at 3:37 of the first period for his ninth goal.
With New York on the penalty kill late in the period, Hayes won a race to the puck near the end boards and fed Namestnikov, who slipped in the short-handed goal, his third tally this season, at 18:10.
“It’s another lesson to be learned,” Florida coach Bob Boughner said. “We talked about all day was starting well against these guys. We just didn’t have enough intensity and urgency at the beginning of the game.”
Yandle blasted in a power-play goal 57 seconds into the second period for his fifth, and Huberdeau scored his ninth goal off a turnover in the neutral zone at 4:14 to tie it at 2.
Beleskey deflected in Brady Skjei’s shot for his first Rangers goal at 6:28 for a 3-2 lead, but Ekblad roofed his seventh goal over a lunging Lundqvist at 18:20 as the period ended tied at 3.
Claesson scored his second goal at 1:32 of the third period when he whistled in a shot from the left circle for a 4-3 lead, but Barkov’s 11th tally on the power play at 10:51 evened it at 4.
NOTES: The game featured two goaltenders inside the top 10 in career wins — Luongo in fourth (476) and Lundqvist in seventh (440). Luongo and Lundqvist rank first and second, respectively, among active NHL goalies in career appearances, wins and shutouts. … Zibanejad had six points (three goals, three assists) in the three games against Florida. … Huberdeau recorded his 300th NHL point with his goal and has multi-point outings in seven of his last eight games. … The Panthers have power-play goals in eight straight games and 18 of 19. … Florida scratched F Nick Bjugstad (upper body), who missed his first game this season.
Rangers: At Tampa Bay on Monday.
Panthers: At St. Louis on Tuesday.