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An offensive resurgence has keyed the Florida Panthers' revival. The New York Rangers are back on track thanks to a personnel shakeup by their coach and continued production from the NHL's leading goal scorer.
The Rangers and Panthers look to extend their respective hot streaks when they meet for the third time this season Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Florida (16-15-7) has gone 5-1-1 since posting a 1-5-4 record in the previous 10 games. The Panthers scored 29 goals in the last seven contests after recording 22 during their 10-game slump.
They got right back in the win column Monday night after having a three-game winning streak snapped Saturday, defeating Philadelphia 4-1 on the road.
Stephen Weiss had a career-high four points with a goal and three assists, Nathan Horton scored twice and Michael Frolik added a goal and two assists for the Panthers, fourth in the Eastern Conference with 111 goals.
"This was one of our best games as a team this year," said Weiss, who has 14 goals since Nov. 14.
Weiss is on a seven-game point streak with five goals and eight assists. During that same span, Horton has five goals and seven assists while Frolik has recorded four goals and five assists.
Tomas Vokoun made 30 saves Monday to win his fourth straight game. The veteran is 3-0-1 with a 1.44 goals-against average in his last four games against New York, and seems likely to be in net Wednesday against a Rangers club that appears to have regained its confidence.
Vokoun's biggest concern will be forward Marian Gaborik, who scored his league-best 25th goal and added an assist to help New York to its third straight victory Monday, 3-1 over Carolina.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 32 shots for the Rangers (17-16-3), who have their longest winning streak since a seven-game run in October.
The surge has come on the heels of a 1-6-2 stretch that prompted coach John Tortorella to bench defenseman Wade Redden and right wing Ales Kotalik for one game. Both returned against the Hurricanes.
"We're just trying to gain some confidence, and (be) as consistent as you can be, and you find a way to win some hockey games, you start feeling better about yourself," Tortorella said. "We just need to stay within ourselves and try to play a simple game. When we're on the road, we think that ... It's just a matter of simplifying everything and just competing on pucks."
The Rangers return from a perfect three-game road trip looking to end a five-game home losing streak. They haven't dropped six straight at MSG in a single season since a seven-game skid from March 24-April 14, 1993.
Gaborik has four of the team's eight goals during that five-game skid at home. He has recorded four goals and five assists in the last seven games overall, giving him 47 points to rank second in the league.
The right wing scored in each of New York's two matchups with Florida this season, a 3-2 Panthers win Nov. 21 and a 2-1 Rangers shootout victory Nov. 25 that broke their four-game skid in the series. Each of the last four matchups and six of seven were decided by one goal.
The Rangers, winless at home since Nov. 23, have dropped the last three meetings with the Panthers in New York.
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