|NYR||0||0||0||0||0 (0 - 4)||1|
|FLA||0||0||0||0||1 (1 - 4)||2|
It took their biggest offensive output of the calendar year for the New York Rangers to end their losing streak.
The Rangers look to build off that victory Friday night when they visit the Florida Panthers, who try to continue their second-half surge.
New York (30-20-5) has had success without scoring a lot of goals, but its lack of offensive production had been leading to losses in recent weeks.
The Rangers, who have the third-fewest goals in the Eastern Conference (140), were outscored 22-5 during a season-high five-game losing streak before snapping out of their funk Wednesday with a 5-4 shootout victory over Washington.
Markus Naslund scored his team-leading 17th goal, while Ryan Callahan had a goal and an assist in regulation and netted the decisive goal in the shootout. It was the Rangers' highest scoring game since a 5-4 victory over the New York Islanders on Dec. 29.
"We really needed that," said goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who made 26 saves on Wednesday. "We needed that confidence. We needed those points, too."
The Rangers, who are seeking their fourth straight playoff appearance, are in fifth place in the East, three points ahead of the seventh-place Panthers (27-19-8).
Florida, which was tied for ninth in the conference prior to the All-Star game, improved to 6-2-0 since the break with Thursday's 5-0 win at Carolina.
Anthony Stewart and Gregory Campbell scored 12 seconds apart in the second period, as the Panthers scored all their goals in the first 33 1/2 minutes. Richard Zednik also scored to give him four goals and two assists during a season-high four-game point streak.
"I much prefer these than the dramatic ones," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. "I thought our goaltender was our best player tonight."
Tomas Vokoun made 42 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. He improved to 5-2-0 with a 2.02 goals-against average since the break, and has allowed two goals or fewer in eight of his last 11 games.
The Rangers and Panthers have split two meetings this season, with the road team winning each. Vokoun did not appear in either game, as Craig Anderson played in his stead and stopped 80 of 83 shots.
Lundqvist was in goal for the Rangers in both meetings, compiling a 3.57 GAA.
The Rangers won 4-3 in shootout at the BankAtlantic Center on Nov. 28, but winning there again could prove a tougher task. Florida, which opens a five-game homestand Friday, has outscored its opponents 16-9 to win all four of its home games since the break.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have been struggling away from Madison Square Garden. New York has dropped a season-high five straight road games - getting outscored 23-4 - since a 3-2 win at Chicago on Jan. 16. The Rangers have also scored three goals or fewer in all 13 road games they've played since an 8-5 loss at New Jersey on Dec. 12.
|Feb 26 '09||FLA 2 at NYR 1||N. Horton|
|Feb 13 '09||NYR 1 at FLA 2 - SO||R. Zednik|
|Nov 30 '08||FLA 4 at NYR 0||V. Peltonen|
|Nov 28 '08||NYR 4 at FLA 3 - SO||N. Zherdev|