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PANTHERS GO TUBTHUMPING IN NEW YORK: Cats Knocked Down, Get Back up and Beat Rangers 3-1 ... Jacob Markstrom Terrific with Career-high 44 Saves

PANTHERS 3, RANGERS 1

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

NEW YORK -- Sometimes the best thing for a struggling team is a nice long road trip, one in which players can get away from the distractions of friends and family and just concentrate on the task at hand.

Certainly seems to be the case for the Panthers this week.

Two nights after snapping their six game losing streak with a rousing win in North Carolina, the Panthers had Madison Square Garden buzzing -- in a bad way for the home team -- as they dropped the Rangers 3-1.

Florida is 2-0 on its season-long five-game road trip that continues Saturday in New Jersey and moves on to Long Island and Toronto.

"I thought we played our system to a tee, played a good road game,'' said Brian Campbell, whose gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead. "You need good goaltending to win in this league and we got that again. It was a success and we're starting to see some improvement in our overall game.''

The Panthers held a 2-0 lead going into the third period before the Rangers pulled to within a goal with 3:48 remaining.

Only goalie Jacob Markstrom stood tall in the final minutes and Tomas Kopecky was able to get a little revenge after nothing was called when Rick Nash left his feet and hit Kopecky over the head like a professional wrestler.

With Tomas Fleischmann killing a penalty and New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist on the bench, the Rangers had a 6-on-4 advantage. Only Kopecky pulled in a loose puck deep in the Florida zone and flung it an estimated 150 feet into the empty net with 46 seconds left.

"That's Chumbawamba right there,'' Dineen said, referencing the British band from the 1990s. "You get knocked down and get right back up. We're beat up. We have a lot of bodies out, people at home watching. Kopecky wanted to get right back in the fight.''

Kopecky's goal -- his team leading 12th -- gave the Panthers plenty of cushion what with Markstrom outdueling his older Swedish counterpart. Markstrom made a career-high 44 saves; Lundqvist made 21.

"It's a W and that's what matters, but he's a role model to a lot of young kids in Sweden,'' Markstrom, 23, said.

The Panthers, who have struck first in two straight games after falling behind every night during the six-game losing streak, came out flying and made it 1-0 when Campbell got his seventh of the year by cracking a 50-foot slap shot over Lundqvist's shoulder 8:22 in.

Markstrom has been terrific since watching Scott Clemmensen make consecutive starts last week. Since returning, the rookie has stopped 77 of 79 shots.

"Good goaltending leads to good overall play,'' Dineen said. "We were happy with the result here.''

Florida took a 2-0 lead in the second when Jack Skille worked the puck out of the corner and started a battle in front of the net. Scottie Upshall, playing in his 10th game because of various injuries, knocked at the loose puck and put it through at 4:28 of the season.

SELLECK CONCUSSED

Dineen said Selleck suffered a concussion after being punched square in the face by Carolina's Kevin Westgarth on Tuesday. "We sent him home so he could start his recovery,'' Dineen said. "It's part of the protocol.''

Selleck was given an automatic suspension for instigating the fight by going in on a line change with 2:58 left in Florida's 4-1 win. Selleck was given a second game suspension on Wednesday -- although because of the concussion, he wouldn't have played anyway.

Dineen, per NHL rule 46.22, was fined $10,000 by the league for Selleck going onto the ice for the fight. Dineen wouldn't talk about the fine when asked about it, although he did allude to it.

"My kids are going to community college now,'' Dineen said.

-- Dineen said injured defenseman Dmitry Kulikov should return to the lineup in the coming days. Kulikov dislocated a shoulder during Florida's loss at Carolina on March 2.

Kulikov, who has missed 10 straight games, said he hasn't been given a timeline on a return but says things are progressing.

"I've been doing a lot off-ice to strengthen the shoulder, get some stability,'' Kulikov said after Florida's morning skate at Chelsea Pier in Manhattan. "It's not good news that it was dislocated, but the good news was there was no surgery. It wasn't as bad as some we've seen here.''

Comments

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clemmensen needs to go and with Markstrom at the helms and any decent backup the future is bright.

Now you can see why Tallon got Kopecky and gave him a 4 yr contract.Matthias and Skille are giving 100%.Hopefully Markstrom can keep playing at this level.If he does then a total sweep of the road trip can occur.You never know but you have got to like the hustle.This was NOT a tired team like Carolina 2 nites ago.Keeping my fingers crossed.

Markstrom has stop overeacting and is letting the puck come to him.What an improvement!I thought Tallon made a dumb move trading Frolik for Skille but was I WRONG about this.Matthias has opened up that line and Upshall can capitalize on his speed and go to the net.I love the line of Skille-Matthias-Upshall.I hope to god we offer Matthias a good contract.Big improvement in defense with the new pairings and the arrival of Brennan.Got to give Kuba a mention for covering up a few mistakes by Gudbranson.Just remember we are without our top scoring line from last year.With the talent we have in the pipeline our future will rest on the development of Markstrom.Tallon knew what he was doing all along.

Two games are not indicative but can you imagine if we are healthy and get off to a confident start next year?
Anything could happen.....
Tallon is arguably the best GM in hockey and it shows.

you people are a joke. they win a game and all is good. last time I looked, we were still in last place.
give it a rest

Good win, good play by all. Markstrom was good and so was the defensive play in front of him. Panthers problem all year was defense and I kind of like it with Kulikov and Weaver not in the line-up. Less giveaways...Hank, the team played well and last place will give the team a better than usual prospect as this year the top 5 prospects are better than many years. If Panthers can straighten out their defense a healthy team that shows up in shape for camp, then next year should be more like last season and less like this season and games like they played tonight shows promise.

Only a 2-point cushion for number 1 draft-pick position. Don't you blow it Panthers! I've already ordered my Seth Jones Panthers jersey. :)

Yea, Kind of agree with Downtowner, lol. I'd rather have the #1 pick, though it's fun hockey to watch when they put forth the effort in games like this.

That said...they won't win too many games giving up 45 shots.

Markstrom only faced one high glove shot and he let that in so lets not get to crazy over one game.Better for us to either lose the rest and get Jones or win the next 5 and get in contention but the former is more likely.He did get better rebound control and seemed calmer.I would like to write off this season and I will only become optimistic if Matthias and Weiss sign and Markstrom shows me more.

they'll screw up the #1 pick

Even if we end up last we still only have a 25% chance of getting the top pick as every team missing the playoffs now has a chance in the lottery.
It would be great if they started winning consistently and make this interesting.
However, we only have 17 games left and not much has changed....

Am I the only one liking Kulikov? I know he came in to this season out of shape and focus but he is only 22 and have a lot of potential and skills. Last year he was great when he was not injured.

Yes. You are the only one that likes Kulikov. Even his mother thinks he should be traded.

And Nash received NO suspension from Shanahan. I guess Kopecky needed to be Stamkos, Malkin or Crosby in order to rate a suspension for Nash ...

I like Kulikov. He always hangs out in Little Moscow, aka Sunny Isles. He will be a franchise player, just screwed up the start of the season which also had something to do with contract negotiations.

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