Sather’s team was playing its second game on consecutive nights and goalie Mike Dunham looked rusty in his return following a 10-day absence.
“I thought they looked tired,” Sather said.
The Rangers got refreshed in a hurry, scoring two goals in the second period to earn a 3-3 tie with the Panthers on Wednesday night.
Dunham made 28 saves after missing four games due to a groin injury.
“Florida came at us in the first period,” Dunham said. “But we got out of the first period just down one.”
Olli Jokinen scored twice for the Panthers.
The Panthers came back to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
Valeri Bure scored with 10 minutes remaining in the period when he gathered a rebound and backhanded a shot past Dunham, who was out of position. Jokinen scored with 6:02 left to make it 2-1.
Florida has scored four first-period goals in its past two games. Six of the Panthers’ nine wins this season have come when they lead after the first period.
Jokinen scored his second goal 48 seconds into the middle period. He skated through on a two-on-four disadvantage and slipped the puck past Dunham for his 10th goal.
Jokinen’s goal was the last offensive bright spot for Florida. Dunham shut down the Panthers the rest of the way.
“It would have been easier to give up and lay down at that point,” Sather said. “We’re starting to develop some character.”
With the Panthers’ offense stalling, the Rangers increased the pressure.
“We just stopped skating out there and they took it to us,” Luongo said.
Eric Lindros cut New York’s deficit to 3-2 when he scored on a shot from just inside the blue line 4:24 into the second period.
Luongo finished with 37 saves, but the most important stop was made by Dunham.
With less than 20 seconds remaining in overtime, Dunham forced Jokinen to miss on a breakaway, securing the tie.
“I don’t know if it touched my glove or not,” Dunham said of the shot.“He just took it wide and played the waiting game. I just lunged at it.”
Rangers C Bobby Holik is still two points shy of 600 in his NHL career. This was the second of three straight road games for New York. The trip includes three games in four games, following a win at Tampa Bay on Tuesday. The Rangers will play at Pittsburgh on Friday. … Florida played its fifth game in eight days. … Panthers C Victor Kozlov has at least one point in 13of his 20 games.