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Three Rangers post three points each in win over Panthers

Jan 23, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Florida Panthers center Carter Verhaeghe (23) fights for the puck against New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Mika Zibanejad scored twice and collected an assist, Adam Fox added a goal and two assists and the New York Rangers pulled away in the third period for a 6-2 victory over the visiting Florida Panthers on Monday night.

The Rangers bounced back from a home loss to the league-leading Boston Bruins on Thursday and improved to 15-5-2 in their past 22 games. They picked up their latest win with a revamped lineup featuring Zibanejad playing alongside Artemi Panarin (three assists) and Chris Kreider on the top line.

Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil each had a goal and an assist, Jimmy Vesey also scored and Kaapo Kakko had two assists for New York.

Panarin set up Fox’s game-opening goal before making two cross-ice passes to Zibanejad, who collected the 250th and 251st goals of his career.

New York goalie Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves and nearly scored into an empty net with about five minutes left in the third.

Carter Verhaeghe scored in the first period and Aleksander Barkov tallied on a six-on-five with about nine minutes left in the third for the Panthers, who fell to 4-1-1 in their past six games.

Florida’s Alex Lyon tied a career high by allowing five goals. Lyon made his second straight start with Sergei Bobrovsky out due to a foot injury and Spencer Knight serving as the backup after returning from an AHL conditioning stint.

Fox opened the scoring 3:03 in when he finished off a breakaway by lifting a backhander over Lyon from the left side of the crease.

After the Rangers were called for too many men on the ice, Verhaeghe tied it with a wrist shot from the left doorstep at 5:56 of the first after faking a shot to get Shesterkin out of the crease.

New York regained the lead when Panarin whipped a cross-ice pass to the left faceoff circle. Standing on the faceoff dot, Zibanejad blasted a one-timer that easily sailed by Lyon before Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad could get over to defend at 17:21 of the first.

The Rangers opened a 3-1 lead at 15:03 of the second when Vesey scored off a scramble in front by jamming in a loose puck after getting a pass from behind the net from Barclay Goodrow.

Lafreniere swept in a loose puck into a vacated net at 7:56 of the third, and Zibanejad scored on another one-timer 14 seconds later for a 5-1 lead. Barkov’s tally at 11:02 and Chytil’s empty-netter at 16:49 capped the scoring.

–Field Level Media