The Florida Panthers fell to the New York Rangers by a final score of 4-2 on Monday at Madison Square Garden.
Florida still holds a two-point lead in the Atlantic Division over idle Tampa Bay, but had an opportunity to increase the lead. With only nine games remaining, the Panthers are currently three points ahead of third place, and six ahead of the fourth position.
After seeing a late lead evaporate twice in one week with Roberto Luongo in net, the Panthers gave Monday's start to Al Montoya. Luongo has been struggling in the latter part of the season, and has allowed three goals or more in five of his last seven games.
Montoya saved 28 of 31 attempts while watching his teammates struggle to put shots on goal on the other end during the first two period. The Panthers would begin to see more chances in the third period where they ended up scoring both of their goals. In all, Florida had 27 shots on goal during the course of the game.
Florida's first score came at the 6:51 mark of the first period when Vincent Trocheck put home his 22nd goal of the season. Trocheck had assists from Jussi Jokinen and Reilly Smith on the score which made the deficit only one.
At the 17:59 mark of the third period, the Panthers found themselves on their first and only power play of the game. Florida would take advantage of the situation to get the margin back to only one. The goal which was scored by Jiri Hudler had assists on it from Teddy Purcell and Dmitry Kulikov.
Hudler's 14th goal of the year was too little, too late however. The score came with only 36 ticks left on the clock, and New York would add an empty net goal in the final seconds as well.
Florida's trip will continue on Thursday when it travels for a game against the Boston Bruins at 7 p.m.