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The New York Rangers got back on track with a successful western road trip.
After suffering yet another home loss, the Rangers look to again rebound away from Madison Square Garden when they face the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night in the opener of a three-game trip against Southeast Division teams.
The Rangers (7-6-1) lost 4-3 in overtime to Buffalo on Sunday in their only home appearance in eight games. The extensive travel, though, has hardly been a problem for New York, which is 5-2-0 on the road and 2-4-1 at MSG.
The Rangers had dropped five of seven, including four losses at home, before going 3-1 on a trip through Phoenix, Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose.
"I think we are a lot better than before the road trip," Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr told newyorkrangers.com. "We came off the road trip and played a very good hockey club with a lot of confidence. We thought we would win, but it just didn't happen."
New York visits Atlanta on Friday and Washington on Saturday before returning home to face New Jersey on Tuesday.
Jagr left Sunday's defeat during the overtime after landing awkwardly on his surgically repaired left shoulder as he attempted to maneuver around Brian Campbell. The star forward insisted afterward that he was fine.
Jagr had three points against the Sabres to give him 23 on the season and tie Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk for second in the league. Both players trail Kovalchuk's teammate Marian Hossa by a point.
Jagr has a point in each of the last five games against the Panthers, totaling eight points with five goals during that span.
The Rangers dropped the first of four meetings with Florida 4-2 on Oct. 25. Henrik Lundqvist suffered his first career loss to the Panthers in that contest, but has a 1.73 goals-against average in four games against them. He won the three previous meetings, two by shutout.
Lundqvist, though, is struggling this season after a breakout 2005-06. He is 5-5 with a 3.57 GAA after going 30-12 with a 2.24 GAA in 53 games as a rookie last season.
Ed Belfour made 23 saves to help the Panthers (6-7-2) snap a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over one of the goaltender's former clubs, Toronto, on Thursday.
"It's definitely nice to have a good game against the fellas," said Belfour, who played the previous three seasons with the Maple Leafs. "To come out on top is definitely a bonus."
Belfour is 3-2-1 with a 2.86 GAA in eight games - six starts - this season. The 41-year-old goalie has been rotating starts with Alex Auld over the past six games.
If Panthers coach Jacques Martin continues that trend, Auld could be in goal Wednesday.
Auld, however, has lost five consecutive starts and posted a 4.17 GAA in that span after going 3-0-1 with a 2.37 GAA to start the season.
The Panthers could use a solid performance in goal against a New York club that has scored 50 goals in 14 games. Florida, trying to win consecutive games for only the second time this season, defeated Carolina and Tampa Bay on Oct. 11 and 13.
The Panthers have struggled offensively, scoring four goals or more only four times in 15 games.
Olli Jokinen had scored in each of the last two contests, and his six total goals and 14 points lead Florida.