Florida Panthers

Weegar, Verhaeghe Help Rally Panthers Past Rangers 4-3

MacKenzie Weegar, Carter Verhaeghe and Anthony Duclair scored in the third period to rally the Florida Panthers past the New York Rangers 4-3 on Wednesday night as both teams returned from an extended holiday break.

Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists for the Rangers. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider also scored for New York. Igor Shesterkin, back in net after missing eight games with a lower-body injury, made 28 saves.

Anton Lundell also scored for Florida, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 31 shots.

Weegar fired a wrist shot high to Shesterkin’s stick side for his first goal of the season, tying it 2-all at 5:56 of the third.

Verhaeghe netted the go-ahead goal with a wrist shot from the left circle at 10:31.

Duclair’s goal, his 10th, gave the Panthers a 4-2 advantage at 14:40.

Kreider scored at 19:15 after the Rangers pulled Shesterkin for an extra skater.

It was the Panthers’ first game in 13 days and the Rangers’ first in 12 following the NHL's extended Christmas break because of rising COVID-19 cases.

The Rangers went ahead 2-1 at 12:43 of the second period when Zibanejad scored his eighth goal by firing in a feed from Panarin.

Lundell scored off a rebound to tie it 1-all at 5:09 of the second. It was the rookie’s sixth goal.

Panarin scored his 10th goal to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 11:08 of the first. Panarin, shadowed by defenseman Aaron Ekblad as he skated toward the net, pulled the puck between his legs before slipping a soft backhand past Bobrovsky.

NOTES: Six of seven Panthers who had been in COVID-19 protocol returned. Sam Bennett, Ekblad, Radko Gudas, Ryan Lomberg, Brandon Montour and Verhaeghe all played. Frank Vatrano was scratched. … Florida also welcomed back Aleksander Barkov, Maxim Mamin and Mason Marchment from injuries, and Gus Forsling from a non-COVID-19 illness. … New York coach Gerard Gallant coached the Panthers for parts of three seasons (2014-16) and led them to an Atlantic Division title in 2015-16. ... Panarin has a nine-game point streak (three goals, 13 assists) vs. the Panthers. ... New York had been 10-0-3 when leading after two periods.


Rangers: Visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.

Panthers: Host the Lightning on Thursday night.

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