Panthers keep home streak alive with SO win over Rangers


Frank Vatrano scored in his Florida Panthers debut, leading his new team to a franchise-record eighth straight home victory, beating the New York Rangers 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday night at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck scored in the shootout for Florida. The Rangers had just one shootout score, from Mats Zuccarello.

Vatrano had been out due to an ankle injury since being acquired from the Boston Bruins on Feb. 22. But his goal helped the Panthers improve to 15-3-1 overall since Jan. 30, making them the hottest team in the NHL during that span.

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Jonathan Huberdeau had one goal and one assist, and goalie Roberto Luongo made 34 saves. Trocheck also had two assists for Florida, and Jamie McGinn scored Florida's third goal, snapping a 2-2 tie at the time.

Zuccarello, Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes scored for the Rangers, and goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves, but New York has lost three games in a row and has gone 8-18-2 since Jan. 7.

Florida opened the scoring, getting a power-play goal with just 15 seconds left in the first period. The opportunity was set up when Rangers defenseman Rob O'Gara was whistled for interfering Mike Matheson.

Huberdeau got the goal, his 22nd of the season, rebounding a shot by Trocheck. Huberdeau was in great position for the tap in, standing at the doorstep to the left of the goal.

With 8:13 gone in the second period, the Panthers extended their lead to 2-0 on the goal by Vatrano, who scored on a one-timer from the slot while receiving a pass from Trocheck.

The Rangers got on the board with 6:49 left in the second period as Zuccarello tipped in a shot by rookie defenseman Neal Pionk. Zuccarello's goal was close to being waved off for high-sticking, but the Panthers did not challenge the non-call.

New York tied the score 2-2 with just 17 seconds elapsed in the third period as Zibanejad scored on a rush, getting a backhander past Luongo on the short side.

The teams then traded goals, as McGinn scored on a rebound and Hayes on a wrist shot from the slot.

--Field Level Media

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